Losing your job can be a whirlwind of emotions with frustration and panicking at the thought of paying for your living expenses without your paycheck coming in. Luckily, the United States of America offers Unemployment Insurance which offers benefits to help support U.S. citizens who are having trouble in the workforce and are jobless.
Although there are limitations and certain restrictions to qualify for Unemployment Insurance, it is a very helpful resource for Americans facing very tough times.
Unemployment Insurance. What is it? How do you qualify? Unemployment Insurance is temporary income for eligible workers, those who recently lost their job through no fault of their own and are physically able to work.
In order to qualify for Unemployment Insurance benefits, you must have worked a paid job in which you earned enough wages in covered employment. Those who do qualify are able to receive a weekly benefit payment for a maximum of 26 weeks during a one-year period. The Department of Labor decides if you qualify for benefits based on your employment history and personal background attributes. To collect benefits from Unemployment Insurance, you must be actively looking for a new job, ready and willing to work while you are claiming your benefits each week.
Check your eligibility for Unemployment Insurance
The Department of Labor decides if you qualify for benefits based on your employment history and personal background attributes. To collect benefits from Unemployment Insurance, you must be actively looking for a new job, ready and willing to work while you are claiming your benefits each week. To qualify for benefits, you must have enough work hours and wages in covered employment, physically able to work, available and ready to accept work immediately, and actively looking for work. The process to request a benefit payment varies by state but can be done by phone, online or mail.
How to file for Unemployment Insurance
To file for Unemployment Insurance and claim your benefits, you need to take care of a few steps before collecting any payments. First you need to promptly file your claim, in the first week that you lose your job. It is important to do this quickly because you must wait out and serve an unpaid “waiting period”. This unpaid waiting period is going to be equal to one full week of unemployment benefits, before you receive any payments. Any delay in filing for your benefits may cost you funds the longer you wait. You must file an Unemployment Insurance claim to find our if you are eligible and learn about the benefits you are entitled to collect. If you qualify, you will receive money for a limited time to help with expenses while you seek your new employment situation.
Things you need to file your claim:
In order to receive your benefits, you will need several identifications and documents to verify eligibility. You can file a claim without all of these documents, but any missing information can delay your first payment and any future payments.
Here are the things you need to file your claim:
- You must be over the age of 18 years old with a valid drivers license or government ID.
- You must have your individual Social Security number,
- If you are not a U.S. Citizen , you must have an Alien Registration card number.
- Your complete mailing address and zip code
- Your personal phone number
- You must provide the names and addresses of your employers for the last 18 months.
- You must provide your Employer Registration number or Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) of your most recent employer (FEIN is on your W-2 forms).
- If you were a federal employee, you must provide copies of forms SF8 and SF50.
- If you served in the military service, you must provide the most recent separation form (DD 214).
Avoid fraud and protect yourself
Your local government will give you a Personal Identification Number (PIN) which will be unique to you. If you have never filed a claim for benefits before, you must create a PIN. This is a four-digit number that you must keep confidential and to yourself.
Unemployment Insurance is for those who need it in desperate times of need. It is not for you to scrape by and live without responsibility. It is important to only claim your benefits when you are eligible. You are not allowed to travel outside of the country while collecting benefits. Additionally, if you report false information or withhold certain information during your application process, that is considered fraud. If you commit fraud, you will not only be required to pay back the money but you will be forced to forfeit any future benefits and have to pay an additional penalty. Fraudulent claims can also bring on criminal prosecution which can lead to imprisonment.
Fraudulent claims can even have a negative impact on your personal finance, credit score and impair your ability to apply for loans in the future or even successfully submit a renters’ application for an apartment. Fraudulent claims are not worth the trouble financially or legally for an individual. Knowingly reporting false information when applying for benefits is fraud and it is important to avoid this behavior.
Getting back into the workforce
While it is helpful to have the benefits of Unemployment Insurance, it is important to not rely on this program for the long-term. Unemployment Insurance benefit programs are temporary payments to help individuals in tough times, but they are specifically designed to be temporary. Getting back into the workforce might be hard, but it is necessary. There are many things you can do to get your foot in the door with new companies looking for hires. There are educational programs you can apply for to receive grants to go back to school and get a higher degree for yourself. There are also certification programs that can give you specific skills to qualify you for better fit, higher paying jobs. Although some of these courses might take several months to complete, they are extremely beneficial for a person looking to advance themselves in the working world.
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