How to File Weekly Unemployment Claims

An important step in the unemployment insurance (UI) benefits process is consistently submitting weekly claims. After being accepted into the program, you will be required to maintain your unemployment eligibility. You will prove to your state Department of Labor (DOL) office that you are meeting their requirements. Failure to meet eligibility criteria weekly will result in a delay of or disqualification from benefits. 



When submitting weekly claims, you will be required to submit certain information each time. This includes your efforts to find suitable work and any wages that you collected during the week. Each state has different procedures for submitting this information. Late submission may result in a loss of that week’s benefits. Moreover, weekly claims have specific deadlines that you must submit by in order to be eligible for that week’s benefits. Learn more about unemployment claims, weekly submissions and other pertinent information by reading the sections below. 

How to Begin Filing Unemployment Claims

You will be permitted to begin filing weekly unemployment claims immediately after you apply for unemployment insurance. Most Department of Labor offices advise that you submit weekly claims even if you are waiting to receive a decision about your eligibility. In addition, if you are appealing to receive benefits or have increased wages or work hours, you are encouraged to continue submitting weekly claims unless you are deemed ineligible. 

Depending on your state’s workforce agency regulations, you may be able to submit your claims in several ways. Many states offer online portal systems through which you can easily submit weekly claims. However, submission over the telephone is another common method. Certain unemployment offices may also permit paper submissions. However, you must confirm with your local office about acceptable methods of submission.  

You are encouraged to use whichever method is most convenient and accessible to you. Many UI recipients prefer the online portal system. However, other beneficiaries do not possess reliable access to an internet connection and thus, prefer paper or telephone methods.

Unlike the initial application, you will have weekly deadlines to submit your claim. In many states, deadlines are on Sundays. In the event of a federal or state holiday, this deadline may be altered.

Documents to Submit When Filing an Unemployment Weekly Claim 

When submitting weekly unemployment claims, you will be required to submit certain information and documentation. In most states, you must answer a series of questions regarding your work search efforts, employment and wages for that week. This must be completed weekly because your status can change from week to week as you can be unemployment one week but find temporary employment the next. These kinds of changes will impact the amount you are eligible to receive in benefits. 

Valid work search efforts include reaching out to hiring managers, submitting resumes and attending interviews. Depending on your location, whether you are in a high or low populated area, you will be required to complete a different amount of work search tasks. For instance, if you reside in a large, densely populated city, you may be required to complete five work search tasks whereas residents in rural areas need only complete three. Conversely, if you are participating in an approved training course or program, you might be exempt from work search efforts. 

You may or may not be required to submit documents verifying your work search efforts or wages earned. Certain workforce agencies require you to fill out forms while others allow online or telephone submission. 

How to Check the Status of Your Unemployment Check 

After submitting an unemployment claim, you will be able to check the status of it. This means that you will be able to verify several things related to your benefits. First, you will be able to check if your claim was accepted or denied. If it was approved, then you will be able to receive unemployment benefits. 

Your claim can also hold a different status such as “pay held.” This status may indicate that you need to submit additional information an unemployment agency employee will contact you to obtain it. 

A status check will allow you to view your last payment, the amount that was distributed and the date that it was disbursed on. Additionally, you may be able to view your remaining balance of benefits through your state unemployment portal. However, this feature might not be available through all unemployment portals. Rather, it may be available through the UI benefits debit card provider.

How long can you submit weekly unemployment claims?

The length of time that you can expect to receive unemployment benefits depends on your unique circumstances in addition to your state’s unemployment insurance limits. Thus, understanding your state’s guidelines for unemployment benefits can help you predict how long you will receive benefits for. 

The specific rules and regulations that define how long you can receive unemployment insurance payments vary by state. However, most permit recipients to collect benefits for no more than 26 weeks or six months in a given period of time. Depending on state resources and unemployment rate, DOL offices may adjust the maximum length of time. For instance, certain states only allow beneficiaries to receive benefits for 12 weeks. Conversely, during times of high national unemployment, many states offer benefits for longer than 26 weeks. 

While you may be able to receive unemployment insurance for a certain period of time, you may not qualify for the full length. This is because if you find suitable and consistent employment during your participation period, you will lose your eligibility. You may become employed several weeks after being accepted into the program and, thus, will not be eligible for the maximum length of time. 

How much can you receive from your unemployment check? 

Unemployment check amounts depend on numerous factors. One of the biggest contributors to the amount that you will be paid in benefits is the state that you live in. Due to differences in standards of living and cost, different states will provide a different benefit amount to recipients. Thus, while the maximum weekly benefit amount in Georgia may be $365, it will be closer to $450 in New York.

Moreover, the amount that you worked and earned during your base period will greatly impact the amount that you will be eligible to receive in benefits. Typically, working during more quarters in the base period and earning a higher wage will earn you a greater amount of benefits. You will likely receive an unemployment check that it closer to the maximum benefit amount if you worked consecutively during the last four out of five calendar quarters. 

Furthermore, your weekly benefits payment will be reduced when you receive earnings through employment. Thus, you will not get the maximum benefits paid to you when you find a job. However, you will still receive some benefits unless you no longer qualify monetarily.