Unemployment insurance, also known as “UI” or “Unemployment Benefits”, was created to assist individuals in meeting their basic needs in the event that they lost their employment. Unemployment insurance programs began in the United States around 1932. Currently all 50 states as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico all have a variation of unemployment insurance. In general the unemployment insurance program of each state is jointly administered in conjunction with various federal unemployment insurance laws.
Since the creation of unemployment insurance benefits individuals who were laid off or otherwise lost their employment have been able to claim payouts from either their state or the federal government for a specified period of time which can range from a matter of weeks to almost 2 years. Because there have been many changes to employment laws over the past two years and because every state’s unemployment insurance program is different, it is important to be familiar with the particular laws, rules and regulations of the state you live them as well as what compensation you may be entitled to under the federal unemployment benefits program.
There are several factors that each state and the federal government examined to determine whether UI claims will be honored. First, you cannot be employed on a full-time basis and if you are partially or completely unemployed it cannot have resulted through actions you have taken on your own. Second, you must not be disabled at the time that you file your UI claim. Third, your former employment must have been covered under a state or federal unemployment insurance program. In general, people who have worked as independent contractors or for employers who do not pay into the unemployment program through payroll taxes are not a part of the unemployment program. Additionally, after UI claims are filed, each individual who qualifies to receive benefits must wait a particular amount of time before receiving UI compensation. This period of time is generally 1 to 2 weeks depending on which state you live in.
In many states people do not need to be totally unemployed to be able to file UI claims. For example you may be able to receive benefits if you are still working but your employer has lower the number of hours you’re able to work or if you’ve picked up part-time employment after being laid off from your primary job in the amount you are earning from the part-time employment equals less than the amount you would receive had one or more UI claims been filed.
How to file a claim and information needed to file
Almost all states allow individuals to file UI claims in person, over the telephone, or through the Internet. When you go to apply for unemployment insurance be sure to have the following information available:
- Full legal name
- Telephone Number
- Social Security Number
- Drivers License Number
- Last Employer’s Name
- Last Employe’s Address
- Last Employer’s Phone Number
- Last Day Worked For Employer
- The Reason You Lost Your Job
- A Work History Of Between 12-24 Months (depending on your particular state)
To find out more information about the rules and regulations of the particular state you live in review their department of labor’s website. In general, most states have a lot of specific information on how you qualify, how to file UI claims, when information is required to apply for unemployment insurance and what type of benefits you can expect to receive.