The Unemployment rate nationally in the United States is just under 10%. Many Americans have felt the impact of the economic downturn as large, medium and small businesses have had to reduce their labour force through layoffs. If you have found yourself out of work where you were able to work but were laid off through no fault of your own, then this is a starting point for qualifying to receive an unemployment benefit payment. If you are an individual seeking Unemployment Insurance, this guide will help you with many of the questions you may have about receiving benefits.
The U.S. Department of Labor is responsible for all Unemployment Insurance Programs. The various programs are listed below:
State Unemployment Insurance
Disaster Unemployment Assistance DUA
Unemployment Compensation for Federal Employees
Unemployment Compensation for Ex-Service members
Trade Readjustment Allowances TRA
Unemployment Benefits Eligibility:
- You have been working full time 12 out of the last 16 months
- You are completely or partially unemployed
- You are fully capable and able to immediately accept work
- You are out of work from no fault of your own
- You are actively looking for work
Unemployment Benefits Filing a Claim:
Although the Unemployment Insurance program is a Federal program, you are still required to apply for benefits within your individual State. Almost all States have the ability to apply for benefits over the Internet and/or telephone. There are three States where you only option is to apply in person, Delaware, Georgia, West Virginia. If you do not live in any of these 3 States, you will be able to get the Unemployment Benefits Application form and apply over the Internet or by telephone. Quickly file your benefits claim online over the Internet or through the telephone, go to State UI Claim and click on your State.
You should file your claim as soon as you are officially unemployed. The sooner you file the quicker you will receive your benefits. There is a 1-week unpaid wait period regardless of State and the wait period is typically 2-3 weeks before receiving your first Unemployment Benefit check or deposit.
Benefits Payment Amount and Receiving Benefits
Each State has slightly different Unemployment benefit amounts but the average is 36% of your salary in a one week period of time.
California State Unemployment Benefit Amounts - Minimum $40/week and Maximum $450/week
Florida State Unemployment Benefit Amounts – Minimum $32/week and Maximum $275/week
New York State Unemployment Benefits - Maximum $405/week
Washington State Unemployment Benefit Amounts – Minimum $138/week and Maximum $583/week (Claims made between March 06, 2011 and November 05, 2011 will be Minimum $163/week and Maximum $608/week)
How Long Can You Receive Benefits:
You can receive benefits for up to 26 weeks dependent on how long you have worked in the past leading up to applying for unemployment benefits. In February 2009 the US Government made changes that allowed unemployed Americans to receive up to an additional 20 weeks of unemployment benefits through the Extended Benefits (EB) program. This is specific to States where high unemployment rates are evident (any State with greater than 8% unemployment rate). Check with your local unemployment agency to confirm if your resident State is considered one with higher than average unemployment.
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