Unemployment Weekly Claim

Due to the persistently high unemployment rates the United States has faced in recent years, the need for states and the federal government to pay out funds for unemployment weekly claim benefits has reached historic levels.  Unemployment insurance programs exist in all 50 states, many territories of the United States and through the federal unemployment benefits extension program.  However, with several different changes to unemployment laws and different rules in each state, confusion abounds with how unemployment benefits work and what you are entitled to receive.  We cut through the confusion here and help you understand the basic unemployment framework to speed up the process of applying for and receiving a unemployment weekly claim check.

The Unemployment Program

In almost all states, unemployment programs have been established wherein the state pays out unemployment benefits to an eligible individual for a period of time.  In most cases, that period of time ranges from between 13 and 26 weeks.  Once that initial state-funded period of time has expired, the federal government provides a federal unemployment benefits extension.  Because of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (sometimes improperly labeled the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act) (“ARRA”), these extended federal benefits can be provided for up to another 53 weeks.  Following the expiration of these unemployment benefit extensions some states will provide another set of benefits, not to exceed 20 more weeks.  Therefore, in all, an individual who is living in the right state can receive up to 99 total weeks of unemployment benefits.

Since the passage of the ARRA (more of which can be read about at recovery.gov), Congress made further changes to if and when someone can become eligible for an unemployment benefit extension.  For example, the unemployment extension 2010 offered included legislation that required people who are going to receive up to 99 weeks of benefits to file for the extensions by December 31, 2011.  Additionally, the legislation signed into law by President Obama in August of 2011 following the hotly debated issue of whether to raise the federal debt ceiling mandated that anyone who wanted the extended 99 weeks of benefits must have become unemployed on or before July 31, 2011.

Qualifying For Benefits

Of course, the specific rules to qualify will vary from state-to-state. However, the general framework of requirements is similar nationally.  To have your unemployment weekly claim approved you must either be unemployed or underemployed and became so through no actions or fault of your own.  Furthermore, you cannot be disabled and should be willing and able to look for a new job while you are receiving your unemployment benefits or unemployment extensions income.  The states usually require you to document to them what specific steps you are taking to find a new job while you receive unemployment compensation checks.

Applying For Benefits

All states have an online portal to file for unemployment payments.  Some of the websites include go2ui.com (Washington state), dlt.ri.gov (Rhode Island), sdjobs.org (South Dakota), jobsnd.com (North Dakota), and ncesc.com (North Carolina).  You can also apply by telephone and through the mail in most states.