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Article Listing | Search Articles | More Articles in Jobseekers | More Articles by Simone Emmons

You Lost Your Job Now What?

by Simone Emmons - 07/03/2009

You got laid off and have good reasons to be worried. The unemployment rate continues to rise and competition for jobs is fierce. Unemployment insurance helps you get through these hard times, so make sure you file for benefits right away.

The Federal-State Unemployment Insurance Program provides a temporary source of income for eligible workers who lose their jobs through no fault of their own. Each state has its own rules for determining eligibility, benefit amounts, and length of time benefits are available.

Apply for Benefits as Soon as Possible

You should apply for benefits as soon as possible after you become unemployed. Apply by contacting the unemployment agency in the state where you worked to find out how to file a claim. This link ( gives contact information for every state. Many states allow filing over the telephone or the Internet. Workers who live in a state different from where they worked (or who worked in more than one state) can get filing information from the unemployment agency in either their current state or the where they worked.

You need the following information in order to apply:

Social security number or alien registration number;

The name, address, and telephone number of each place you worked during the last 18 months; and

The jobs you held and dates you worked for each employer.

Not Everyone Qualifies

You may not qualify for unemployment benefits for a variety of reasons (which vary by state), including if you:

were fired for misconduct;

voluntarily left without good cause attributed to the employer;

are not able
or available to work full-time

are not a U.S.
citizen and not authorized to work in the U.S;

are not looking for work or refuse suitable work;

do not participate in reemployment services as required;

are involved in a strike; or

are self-employed.

Workers who are denied benefits have the right to appeal.

Earnings Determine Benefits

The amount you will receive weekly depends on your earnings prior to losing your job. You can receive benefits for up to 26 weeks in most states, depending on earnings. During periods of high unemployment, workers who have exhausted their regular unemployment benefits may qualify for extended benefits.

Unemployment benefits are taxable and must be reported on Federal income tax returns.

Benefits Carry Responsibilities

If you receive unemployment benefits you must file weekly or biweekly claims. You must report any earnings and job offers or refusals. Reporting can usually be done over
the telephone or the Internet. To continue to receive benefits you must report to the unemployment office if you are told to do so.

All states have career one-stops or employment offices that provide information and guidance on searching for jobs, training, and career planning. This link ( has the contact information for each state.

Benefits Help You Through Hard Times

Unemployment insurance helps cushion the impact of economic downturns on workers and their families. If you have lost your job through no fault of your own, unemployment insurance benefits can keep you going until you get back on your feet.

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