How To Apply For Unemployment

The number of people in the US who are filing for unemployment benefits has increased exponentially since the onslaught of the Coronavirus pandemic. With "shelter at home" orders in place, many have had to leave their jobs. During this time, it has been a struggle for some financially, and they have had to try to apply for benefits to get them through. Because of the Coronavirus, eligibility criteria changed and made the benefits more accessible to those in need.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act has included money to help with unemployment benefits. Over 2 trillion dollars was allocated for assistance. The CARES Act has ensured that part-time employees can apply for unemployment, as can freelance, contract, and self-employed gig workers. Before the Act, the circumstances needed to be eligible for benefits were a lot stricter.

If the Coronavirus has led to any of the following, you are eligible to apply:

  • Reduced hours or layoff from your current job
  • The need to leave your job
  • Inability to start a new job for which you were hired
  • Workplace closure
  • Circumstances such as School or care facility closures that have left you to care for your dependents
  • The direct impact caused by COVID-19 symptoms or caring for someone who has tested positive for COVID-19

Knowing whether or not you are eligible is the first step. The next step is figuring out how to apply for the benefits.

Getting Started

Before you apply, it is a good idea to have all documentation ready that you will require. You will have to prove your eligibility so that your request for benefits can be approved quickly. Each state may have different requirements but be prepared with the following:

  • Full name and Social Security Number
  • All contact information (including a phone number and mailing address)
  • Proof of and information about your employment for the past 12-18 months. This information includes the name and contact information of your employer, dates of employment, and gross earnings
  • Information about why you could not continue to work
  • Proof of your search for new employment if you are still able to work

Be prepared to provide any documents requested to show that the information you have provided is accurate.

You will often be asked for documents related to the information you are providing, and you may be asked for identification such as a state ID or driver's license. Having all of your documentation in order will only help to facilitate the filing process.

Your State Guidelines

In most states, you can apply for Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits using an online process. By going to your state’s UI website, you will be able to follow the procedure to fill out all of the information online and upload the required documents. If this is not an option in your state, you can also apply over the phone or in-person at a local UI office.

Using our website, you can find information specific to your location.

Remember to start the process as soon as possible. The quicker you get your application in, the faster you will be able to start receiving benefits. Usually, it will take 2-3 weeks to begin receiving benefits. Still, with the increase in the volume of applications, it could take longer.

Start Applying For Unemployment Now

We Can Help:

We wrote special guides for each state and are here to answer all your questions. We know how hard it is to lose your job and created these free resources to help all Americans during these difficult times.

Our guides have helped thousands apply for unemployment insurance at absolutely no cost.

Unemployment Guides

We have written exclusive guides for how to apply in all 50 US states.

Easy Answers

How to apply, what to do if you're denied, and more.

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