What Is Unemployment?
Unemployment benefits are offered on a temporary basis to help individuals who are out of work or not working enough hours during the week to pay for basic household expenses, such as food, shelter, utilities and car-related costs. Unemployment benefits were initially offered in the United States through the Social Security Act of 1935 (which established the Social Security Administration) and are now offered through a joint effort of the United States Department of Labor and the individual department of welfare or department of social services (depending on your particular state). The federal government has outlined how the overall unemployment insurance structure must work while the individual states set forth how any applicant can receive benefits. Although unemployment benefits by state will vary, there are some commonalities throughout the country that we can explain here as you seek to answer the question: “What Is Unemployment?”
Because unemployment insurance is only issued on a temporary basis (unlike other general welfare or social welfare programs, such as Supplemental Security Income, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and TANF program) you must first demonstrate that you are looking for a job that can take the place of the unemployment compensation. This includes filing weekly reports with your state labor office showing how many applications you have filed, how many interviews you have received and how many job offers you have received. By definition, therefore, anyone who is not either willing or able to find new work will not qualify.
Additionally, the fact that you are out of a job or suffering from underemployment cannot be due to any fault of your own. You cannot act in such a way to purposefully lose your job or have work hours cut and then get unemployment benefits from the state afterward.
Your state will also examine the amount of income you have earned leading up to the time that you submit your application. The purpose for this requirement is to ensure that your former employer(s) have contributed a sufficient amount into the unemployment system through unemployment tax money that is contributed every time you earned a paycheck. Some states also offer an unemployment benefits calculator to help you determine whether your earnings have been sufficient to meet this important requirement.
After your unemployment application has been approved you will have several ongoing requirements you need to meet to continue to receive a weekly benefit payment. First, almost all states will require you to file a certification. The certification is a statement under penalty of perjury that the facts and circumstances of your situation has not changed and that you still qualify for benefits since the time that you have originally submitted your unemployment application.
Additionally, you will have to file a weekly report showing all job applications you have filed, all job interviews you had and all job offers you have received. You are required to accept work when it is similar to what you were doing before you lost your job. However, unless the job violates your moral or religious beliefs, pays significantly less than the wages earned in your area or requires travel each day beyond what is customary in your area, you need to take the new job offer.
Hopefully this explanation has been beneficial in showing what is unemployment.
- Unemployment Benefits By State Unemployment Benefits By State As the economic recovery of the...
- How Does Unemployment Work? How Does Unemployment Work? Unemployment insurance compensation dates back to...