Learn the Process to Apply for Unemployment

After you have lost your job, you may be unsure of what to do. You may have been fired or your employer went out of business.

Conversely, your specific role might have become irrelevant to the goals of the company. Regardless of the reason that you were forced to separate from your job, you are worried about how to pay for your monthly bills.

Fortunately, you can apply for your state’s unemployment insurance program to receive benefits.  

In order to apply, you must locate your state’s unemployment office or website. It may be referred to by a different name depending on which U.S. state you live in.

Nevertheless, this program is available for eligible residents in every state. Most offices permit application by phone or online. Certain locations also accept in-person submission.

Furthermore, you will be required to submit certain pertinent information with your application. Read the sections below to learn more about the application process and how to complete it. 

When to Apply for Unemployment 

After losing your job, your first concern may not be about how to obtain compensation. Moreover, you may not be considered unemployed until a certain amount of time has passed.

This is because you must already be partially or fully unemployed at the time of application. 

For instance, in Ohio, residents who have not worked for an employer nor earned any wages during the week of their application will be considered partially unemployed.

Additionally, those who were let go before the end of their usual working week and earn less than the unemployment payment amount are also considered partially unemployed. 

There are certain circumstances that may result in job loss that do not qualify you for unemployment insurance.

For instance, if you were injured on the job and cannot work because of it, you are not considered unemployed. That is because you are not able or available to work.

Furthermore, during a time of labor disputes or strikes, you may be able to apply for unemployment. However, these situations are examined on a case-by-case basis.

For example, if you are on strike, then you are unlikely to be considered unemployed because you refuse to work when work is available.  

How to Find an Unemployment Office to Apply and Other Submission Methods

Once you have decided to apply for unemployment benefits, you must visit the appropriate office to do so. Often, there are numerous workforce and unemployment centers throughout the state. Thus, there is likely to be at least one branch that you could visit in your city. 

A number of online search tools can assist in finding your nearest unemployment office location.

For instance, official state UI benefits websites typically offer location tools or a list of offices and their addresses. Conversely, you can call one office and a representative will be able to help you locate your nearest branch. 

You can also complete your application at home. In fact, this is the preferred method for many residents and state unemployment offices. The two most common forms of submission available for those applying at home are online and telephone submission.

Both are convenient and do not require visiting an office. This can be especially beneficial if you have limited funds and want to minimize transportation costs. 

Moreover, depending on your UI branch or state, you may have other submission options. For instance, some offices accept mail-in applications as well as those sent by fax.

If you submit your application online or by phone and the office requests verification documents, you may be required to send them using these methods. 

How to Fill out the Unemployment Application 

When applying for unemployment benefits, there is not a uniform application format among states. However, they all ask for similar information. For example, you will need to provide your name and contact details. Additionally, details about your previous employment and wages will be required. 

The order in which a form is filled out will depend on the submission method you are using.

For instance, if you are submitting your information by telephone, you may be required to fully complete one section before moving on to the next one. Also, it might not be possible to preview other sections using the telephone method. 

In contrast, completing an application online through a portal or questionnaire may allow you to skip certain sections and return to them later. Often, online applications allow you to save your progress and finish your application at a later time. 

Learn About the Documents Needed to Apply for Unemployment 

In order to accurately and completely fill out an application for unemployment benefits, you will need to have a number of documents on hand. For instance, you must provide your Social Security Number (SSN).

If you do not have it memorized, it will be helpful to have your Social Security card. Moreover, many state UI programs request your state driver’s license or identification number so you should also have these documents with you.

Other documents that may be useful to have nearby when filling your application include pay stubs and other employment documents, such as contracts.

These will help you to accurately provide your earnings details. Moreover, you will be required to include information about your previous employers, including names and addresses. 

If you are applying as a non-citizen, you must have the appropriate documentation as well. Typically, you can provide one of several documents to verify you legal presence.

For instance, you can supply your Alien Identification Number or registration details.  

When to File an Unemployment Appeal 

After submitting your application, you may discover that you are not eligible and have been denied. If you disagree with this decision, then you may file an unemployment appeal.

However, you will have a limited amount of time to submit it. Depending on where you live, you will have 10 to 30 days to turn in your appeal request to your unemployment office. Your letter of denial will include details on how to begin the appeals process. 

A request to appeal will result in a hearing. It is usually held over the phone but you may be required to attend one in person.

During your hearing, you will be able to present your case as to why you believe you should receive unemployment benefits after being denied. 

Even if you are filing an appeal, you should proceed with the unemployment claims process as if you have been accepted into the program.

This involves filing weekly claims and notifying your unemployment office about your job search efforts and changes in earnings. You must do this so that if you are deemed eligible, you will receive payment for the weeks that you are owed benefits.