Your Free Guide to Unemployment

Unemployment-Benefits

Your Free Guide to Unemployment

You will learn about:
  • All the different ways to apply for unemployment in your state
  • The requirements you need to meet to get unemployment benefits
  • How to contact your state's unemployment program and more!

164 min – Estimated reading time

Your Free Guide to Unemployment

Your Free Guide to Unemployment

Unemployment-Benefits

What Is Unemployment Insurance?

If you unexpectedly find yourself unemployed or facing a reduction in work hours, you may qualify for Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits in your state.

Unemployment Insurance is a form of temporary income established by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and administered by state departments of labor. It is meant to help individuals who have recently become unemployed or under-employed through no fault of their own. The program is funded by unemployment insurance taxes, which are paid by employers. 

In this guide, you will learn more about applying for unemployment benefits, as well as other helpful unemployment benefits topics. 

Unemployment Insurance Office Directory

The following menu provides links to the home page for the unemployment program in each U.S. state.

Unemployment Program Home Page
Alabamahttps://labor.alabama.gov/unemployment.aspx
Alaskahttp://labor.alaska.gov/unemployment/
Arizonahttps://des.az.gov/services/employment/unemployment-individual
Arkansashttps://www.dws.arkansas.gov/unemployment/
Californiahttps://www.edd.ca.gov/unemployment/
Coloradohttps://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdle/unemployment
Connecticuthttp://www.ctdol.state.ct.us/UI-online/index.htm
Delawarehttps://ui.delawareworks.com/
District of Columbiahttps://does.dc.gov/page/unemployment-compensation
Floridahttps://www.floridajobs.org/Reemployment-Assistance-Service-Center/reemployment-assistance/claimants/apply-for-benefits
Georgiahttps://dol.georgia.gov/unemployment-benefits
Hawaiihttps://labor.hawaii.gov/ui/
Idahohttps://www.labor.idaho.gov/dnn/Unemployment-Benefits
Illinoishttps://www2.illinois.gov/ides/individuals/UnemploymentInsurance/Pages/default.aspx
Indianahttps://www.in.gov/dwd/2362.htm
Iowahttps://www.iowaworkforcedevelopment.gov/file-claim-unemployment-insurance-benefits
Kansashttps://www.getkansasbenefits.gov/Home.aspx
Kentuckyhttps://kcc.ky.gov/career/If-you-are-Unemployed/Pages/default.aspx
Louisianahttp://www.laworks.net/UnemploymentInsurance/UI_MainMenu.asp
Mainehttps://www.maine.gov/unemployment/
Marylandhttps://www.dllr.state.md.us/employment/unemployment.shtml
Massachusettshttps://www.mass.gov/unemployment-insurance-ui-online
Michiganhttps://www.michigan.gov/uia/
Minnesotahttps://www.uimn.org/
Mississippihttps://mdes.ms.gov/unemployment-claims/
Missourihttps://www.mo.gov/work/unemployment/
Montanahttp://uid.dli.mt.gov/
Nebraskahttps://dol.nebraska.gov/UIBenefits
Nevadahttp://ui.nv.gov/css.html
New Hampshirehttps://nhuis.nh.gov/claimant/login
New Jerseyhttps://myunemployment.nj.gov/
New Mexicohttps://www.dws.state.nm.us/Unemployment
New Yorkhttps://www.labor.ny.gov/unemploymentassistance.shtm
North Carolinahttps://www.nc.gov/unemployment-benefits
North Dakotahttps://apps.nd.gov/jsnd/uiiaclaims/login.htm
Ohiohttps://unemployment.ohio.gov/
Oklahomahttps://oklahoma.gov/labor.html
Oregonhttps://www.oregon.gov/employ/unemployment/pages/default.aspx
Pennsylvaniahttps://www.uc.pa.gov/Pages/default.aspx
Rhode Islandhttps://dlt.ri.gov/ui/
South Carolinahttps://www.dew.sc.gov/applying-benefits
South Dakotahttps://dlr.sd.gov/ra/individuals/default.aspx
Tennesseehttps://www.tn.gov/workforce/unemployment.html
Texashttps://twc.texas.gov/jobseekers/unemployment-benefits-services
Utahhttps://jobs.utah.gov/ui/home
Vermonthttps://labor.vermont.gov/unemployment-insurance
Virginiahttp://www.vec.virginia.gov/unemployed
Washingtonhttps://esd.wa.gov/unemployment
West Virginiahttps://workforcewv.org/unemployment
Wisconsinhttps://dwd.wisconsin.gov/ui/
Wyominghttp://wyomingworkforce.org/workers/ui/

Eligibility Requirements for UI Benefits

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Your state’s UI agency determines who qualifies for UI benefits, not the federal government. As such, guidelines can differ depending on the state in which you reside.

In most cases, you must meet all of the eligibility requirements in order to receive unemployment benefits. To find out if you qualify, you must consider:

  • Your citizenship and residency status.
  • The way you lost your job or work hours.
  • Your earnings in your base period.

There are special circumstances under which you may or may not be approved for benefits.

For example, you may qualify without meeting all the requirements if your employment was affected by domestic violence. Or, you may be ineligible for benefits if you are a teacher or school worker.

Please refer to the sections “UI Eligibility for Domestic Violence Survivors” and “UI Eligibility for Teachers and School Workers” of this guide to learn more about these special situations.

In general, your application for UI benefits could be denied for any of the following reasons:

  • You are not a citizen or authorized non-citizen.
  • Your reason for losing your job or work hours is not acceptable to your state’s unemployment agency.
  • You are a type of worker that is not covered by unemployment insurance in your state (for example, a self-employed or seasonal worker).
  • You have not earned enough insured wages in your base period (a certain period of time established by your state’s unemployment program).

Citizenship and Residency Status

In order to receive unemployment insurance in your state, you must be a resident of that state. If you recently moved to a new state, you may need to apply for UI benefits in the state where you worked for the past 18 months.

You must also be a citizen, legal permanent resident or legally present non-citizen who is authorized to work in the U.S.

If you are a non-citizen, your state’s DOL office will ask for employment authorization documents and verify your legal authorization.

The Way You Lost Your Job or Work Hours

To qualify for Unemployment Insurance benefits, you must have lost your job or are working reduced hours through no fault of your own. You may be qualify if:

  • Your employer was downsizing or restructuring.
  • Your employer has gone out of business or is about to close.
  • Your job title was eliminated.
  • You had a temporary or seasonal job.
  • You could not meet your employer’s performance or production standards.
  • You were harassed by another employee.
  • The working conditions at your job were hazardous.
  • You have a medical condition.

Different states may have different criteria. For example, your state may deny your UI application if:

  • Your job was temporary or seasonal.
  • You are self-employed.
  • You voluntarily left your job without an acceptable cause.
  • You were fired for misconduct relating to your job.

Earnings in Your Base Period

Your state’s labor department will look at your recent income to make sure you have the minimum amount of earnings to qualify for unemployment compensation.

There are two main ways that state unemployment offices may calculate your earnings: the standard base period and the alternate base period.

What is a Standard Base Period?

Usually, you must have earned a certain amount of money and worked a certain length of time in your basic (or standard) base period to qualify for benefits. These minimum amounts of work and earnings vary depending on your state (see the table “Base Period Earning Requirements by State” for more details).

Most states define a standard base period as the first four out of the last five completed quarters from the date you file your claim. This means that your most recent earnings from the current quarter will not be counted.

For an example of a standard base period, imagine you are applying for benefits on October 1, 2022. Your standard base period would be July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022. The first four quarters would be:

  1. First Quarter:  July 1 to September 30, 2021
  2. Second Quarter: October 1 to December 31, 2021
  3. Third Quarter: January 1 to March 31, 2022
  4. Fourth Quarter:  April 1 to June 30, 2022.

The fifth quarter would be July 1 to September 30, 2022. This quarter would not be counted in your standard base period.

What is an Alternate Base Period?

Depending on your circumstances, you may be ineligible for benefits because you did not earn enough in your basic base period.

However, you may be eligible in your alternate base period. An alternate base period is usually the last four completed quarters prior to the date of your UI claim. This means that the wages you earned in your fifth quarter will be counted.

Some states will automatically check your alternate base period wages if you are ineligible using the standard base period.

The table below shows the types of base periods offered in each state. It also includes any rules about minimum earnings and minimum work history.

Base Period Earning Requirements by State

Base PeriodRequirements
AlabamaFirst four of last five completed quarters (standard)Must have wages in at least two quarters

Average of two highest quarters must meet minimum

Total base period earnings must be at least 1.5 x highest quarter earnings
AlaskaFirst four of last five completed quarters (standard)

OR

Last four completed quarters (alternate)
Must have $2,500 gross income earned over two calendar quarters
ArizonaFirst four of last five completed quarters (standard)

OR

First four of last five completed quarters before you became disabled if you received Worker’s Compensation and are ineligible in standard base period
At least 390 x AZ minimum wage in highest quarter. Total of other 3 quarters must be at least half of highest quarter earnings

OR

At least $7,000 in two quarters. One of these quarters must have at least $5,987.50
ArkansasFirst four of last five completed quarters (standard)

OR

Last four completed quarters (alternate)
Must have covered wages in at least 2 quarters of your base period

Must have total base period wages of at least 35 times the Weekly Benefit Amount (WBA)
CaliforniaFirst four of last five completed quarters (standard)

OR

Last four completed quarters (alternate)
Must have earned at least $1,300 during the highest quarter of your base period

OR 

Must have earned at least $900 in your highest quarter with total earnings that are at least 1.25 times your highest quarter earnings.
ColoradoFirst four of last five completed quarters (standard)

OR

Last four completed quarters (alternate)
Must have earned at least $2,500 in base period
ConnecticutFirst four of last five completed quarters (standard)

OR

Last four completed quarters (alternate)
Must have earned at least 40 times your weekly benefit amount during your base period. 
DelawareFirst four of last five completed quarters (standard)

OR 

Alternate base period
Must have earned at least 36 times your weekly benefit amount during the entire base period.
District of ColumbiaFirst four of last five completed quarters (standard)

OR

Last four completed quarters (alternate)
Must have earned at least $1,300 in one quarter

Must have earned wages in at least two quarters

Must have at least $1,950 in total base period

Total base period wages must be at least 1.5 x wages of highest quarter (can be up to $70 less to qualify)
FloridaFirst four of last five completed quarters (standard)Must have at least $3,400 gross earnings in total base period

Must have earned wages in at least two quarters

Total base period wages must be at least 1.5 x wages of highest quarter
GeorgiaFirst four of last five completed quarters (standard)

OR

Last four completed quarters (alternate)
Must have earned wages in at least two quarters

Total base period wages must be at least 1.5 x wages of highest quarter

Must have at least $1,134 in two highest quarters
HawaiiFirst four of last five completed quarters (standard)

OR

Last four completed quarters (alternate)
Must have earned wages in at least two quarters

Total wages in base period must be at least 26 x weekly benefit amount. To determine weekly benefit amount, divide highest quarter earnings by 21.
IdahoFirst four of last five completed quarters (standard)

OR

Last four completed quarters (alternate)
Must have earned wages in at least two quarters

Must have earned at least $1,872 in one quarter

Total base period wages must be at least 1.5 x wages of highest quarter
IllinoisFirst four of last five completed quarters (standard)

OR

Last four completed quarters (alternate)
Must have earned at least $1,600 in total base period

Must have earned at least $440 without including highest earning quarter
IndianaFirst four of last five completed quarters (standard)Must have earned at least $4,200 in total base period

Must have earned at least $2,500 in last six months of base period

Total base period wages must be at least 1.5 x wages of highest quarter
IowaFirst four of last five completed quarters (standard)

OR 

Alternate base period (contact uiclaimshelp@iwd.iowa.gov or 1-866-239-0843 to find out if you qualify for alternate base period)
Must have earned wages in at least two quarters

Total base period wages must be at least 1.25 x wages of highest quarter

Must have earned at least $1,820 in one quarter and at least $910 in a different quarter
KansasFirst four of last five completed quarters (standard)

OR

Last four completed quarters (alternate)
Must have earned wages in at least two quarters

Total wages in base period must be at least 30 x weekly benefit amount. To determine weekly benefit amount, multiply highest quarter earnings by .0425
KentuckyFirst four of last five completed quarters (standard)Must have earned at least $1,500 in at least one quarter

Total base period wages must be at least 1.5 x wages of highest quarter

Must have earned at least $1,500 in base period without including highest earning quarter

Must have earned at least 8 x your weekly benefit amount in the last two quarters. To determine weekly benefit amount, multiply highest quarter earnings by .011923 and round to nearest dollar.
LouisianaFirst four of last five completed quarters (standard)Must have earned at least $1,200 in total base period

Total base period wages must be at least 1.5 x wages of highest quarter
MaineFirst four of last five completed quarters (standard)

OR

Last four completed quarters (alternate)
In two calendar quarters, you must have earned wages at least two times the annual average weekly wage in Maine, AND

During the entire base period, must have earned wages totaling at least six times the annual average weekly wage in Maine.
MarylandFirst four of last five completed quarters (standard)

OR

Last four completed quarters (alternate)
If using standard base period, you must have earned wages in at least two quarters

More details here:
http://www.labor.maryland.gov/employment/uischben.pdf
MassachusettsLast four completed calendars (primary)

OR

Last three completed quarters + time between last completed quarter and your unemployment claim (alternate)
Must have earned at least $5,100 during the last four quarters.

Must have earned at least 26x the weekly benefit amount you would be eligible to receive.
MichiganFirst four of last five completed quarters (standard)

OR

Last four completed quarters (alternate)
Must have earned wages in at least two quarters

If using standard base period, you must have earned at least $3,744 in at least one quarter AND total base period wages must be at least 1.5 x wages of highest quarter

If using alternate base period, you must have earned at least $20,458 in total base period.
MinnesotaIf you apply in the first month of a calendar quarter: First four of last five completed quarters

If you apply in the second or third month of a calendar quarter: First four of last five completed quarters OR last four completed quarters (whichever has more wages)
Updated requirements are not published. Contact Minnesota Unemployment Insurance for updated information: 
https://www.uimn.org/applicants/needtoknow/eligibility-requirements/index.jsp#:~:text=Your%20benefits%20are%20based%20on,in%20other%20states%20are%20included.
MississippiFirst four of last five completed quarters (standard)Must have earned wages in at least two quarters

Must have earned at least $780 in highest quarter

Total wages in base period must be at least 40 x your weekly benefit amount. To determine weekly benefit amount, divide highest quarter earnings by 26.
MissouriFirst four of last five completed quarters (standard)Must have earned at least $1,500 in one quarter

Must have earned at least $2,250 in total base period.

AND

Total base period wages must be at least 1.5x your highest quarter wages 

OR 

You must have at least 1.5x the Taxable Wage Base during two base period quarters
MontanaFirst four of last five completed quarters (standard)

OR

Last four completed quarters (alternate)
Updated requirements are not published. Contact Montana DLI for updated information: 
http://uid.dli.mt.gov/
NebraskaFirst four of last five completed quarters (standard)

OR

Last four completed quarters (alternate)
Must have earned at least $4,386 in total base period

Must have earned at least $1,850 in one quarter and at least $800 in a different quarter
NevadaFirst four of last five completed quarters (standard)

OR

Last four completed quarters (alternate)
Must have earned wages in at least three quarters

Must have earned at least $400 in one quarter

Total base period wages must be at least 1.5 x wages of highest quarter
New HampshireFirst four of last five completed quarters (standard)

OR

Last four completed quarters (alternate)
Must have earned at least $1,400 each in two separate quarters
New JerseyFirst four of last five completed quarters (standard)

OR

Last four completed quarters (alternate 1)

OR

Last three completed quarters + weeks and wages up to last day of work (alternate 2)
Must have earned at least $220 per week in at least 20 weeks during base period
OR
must have earned at least $11,000 in total base period
New MexicoFirst four of last five completed quarters (standard)

OR

Last four completed quarters (alternate)
Updated requirements are not published. Contact New Mexico DWS for updated information: 
https://www.dws.state.nm.us/Contact
New YorkFirst four of last five completed quarters (standard)

OR

Last four completed quarters (alternate)
Must have earned wages in at least two quarters Must have earned at least $2,700 in one quarter

Total base period wages must be at least 1.5 x wages of highest quarter. Except if highest quarter earnings are $11,088 or more. In this case, earnings in your other three quarters must be at least $5,544
North CarolinaFirst four of last five completed quarters (standard)

OR

Last four completed quarters (alternate)
Must have earned wages in at least two quarters

Total base period wages must be at least 6 x the average weekly insured wage during your base period. Average weekly insured wage changes and will depend on your base period.
North DakotaFirst four of last five completed quarters (standard)Updated requirements are not published. Contact ND for updated information: 
https://www.jobsnd.com/contact
OhioFirst four of last five completed quarters (standard)

OR

Last four completed quarters (alternate)
Must have earned wages in at least 20 weeks of base period

Must have average weekly wage of at least $280 (before taxes and deductions) in base period
OklahomaFirst four of the last five completed quartersYou must have earned at least $1,500 during your base period
OregonFirst four of the last five completed quarters

or

Alternative base period
Must have received at least $1,000 in subject wages in your base year

Must have a total base year wages at least 1.5x the wages paid in the highest calendar quarter of the base year.

OR

Must have worked at least 500 hours and paid wages during the base year
PennsylvaniaFirst four of the last five completed quarters

OR 

Last four completed quarters (alternate)
Must have earned a minimum of $116 per week for 18 weeks in your base year

At least 37 percent of the total wage must have been paid in one or more quarters other than in your high quarter
Rhode IslandFirst four of the last five completed quarters

OR 

Last four completed quarters
Must have earned a total of $13,000 throughout your base period, OR

Must have earned at least $2,300 in one of the base period quarters, AND 

Must have earned total base period of taxable wages of at least 1.5x your highest single quarter earnings, AND

Must have earned total base period taxable wages of at least $4,600
South CarolinaFirst four of the last five completed quarters 
(standard)

OR

Last four calendar quarters, including lag quarter wages (alternative)
Must have at least $1,092 in wages during the highest quarter of the base period
 
Must have earned at least $4,455 from wages during the base period
 
Must have total base period wages equal or more than 1.5x the wages earned during the high quarter
South DakotaFirst four of the last five completed quarters 
(standard)

OR 

First four of the last five completed calendar quarters prior to the injury (only for work-related injuries)
Must have earned at least two quarters of the base period

Must have earned at least 20 times of your weekly benefit amount in the other three quarters combined

Must have earned at least $728 in wages in the highest quarter of your base period
TennesseeFirst four of the last five completed quartersMust have earned at least $780.01 in each of two quarters in base period, and must have earned at least $900 or six times the weekly benefit amount in the second-highest quarter
TexasFirst four of the last five completed quartersMust have earned wages in more than one of the four base period calendar quarters
 
The wages earned in the base period must be at least 37 times your weekly benefit amount
UtahFirst four of the last five completed quarters

OR

Last four completed calendar quarters (alternative)
Must have earned wages in two or more calendar quarters of your base period.

Must have earned at least $4,200 during base period

Must have earned total base-period wages of at least 1.5x the wages earned in the highest quarter
VermontFirst four of the last five completed calendar quarters.
(method one)

OR

Last four completed calendar quarters 
(method two)

OR

Last three completed calendar quarters plus current quarter
(method three)
Must have earned at least $2,871 in the highest paid quarter of the base period

Must have earned at least 40% of the wages earned in the highest quarter in the other three quarters of the base period
VirginiaFirst four of last five completed quarters (standard)

OR

Last four completed quarters (alternate)
Must have worked during at least two quarters of the base period

Must have made $3,000 minimum in two combined quarters of the base period
WashingtonFirst four of last five completed quarters (standard)

OR

Last four completed quarters (alternate)
Must have worked in the state in the last 18 months, unless you were in the military or working for the federal government

Must have worked 680 hours minimum during your base period

Must have earned wages in Washington, unless you recently left the Armed Forces
West VirginiaFirst four of last five completed quarters (standard)

OR

Last four completed quarters (alternate)
Must have earned work wages in the last 18 months

Must have made a minimum of $2,200 during your base period

Must have made wages during at least two quarters
WisconsinFirst four of last five completed
quarters (standard)
Must have worked during at least two quarters of the base period

Made enough earnings in your highest quarter to qualify for the lowest weekly payment

The earnings in your lowest 3 quarters must be worth at least 4 times as much as your weekly payment

Total earnings during your base period should be 35 times as much as your weekly payment minimum 

If you received unemployment before, you must have made at least 8 times as much as the weekly payment you received and you must have worked since the beginning of that year
WyomingFirst four of last five completed
quarters (standard)
Must have worked during at least two quarters

Must have made a minimum of $3,800 during your base period

Total base period earnings must be 1.4 times your highest quarter

UI Eligibility for Domestic Violence Survivors

If you lost your job or left it because of domestic violence, you may qualify for unemployment insurance in some states. A few examples of qualifying circumstances include the following:

  • Your partner or a member of your family threatened you and pressured you into leaving.
  • Staying at the job would have threatened your safety.
  • Staying at the job would have threatened the safety of your immediate family.

In these instances, your immediate family includes your children, parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters.

You may be asked to give a caseworker verbal or written proof that losing or quitting your job was directly related to domestic violence.

If you believe your employer fired you because you are a victim or survivor of domestic violence, you may be able to make a claim for employment discrimination.

UI Eligibility for Teachers and School Workers

teacher whiteboard unemployment insurance for teachers

Many states have special eligibility rules for teachers and school employees. In general, a school employee will not qualify for benefits during breaks in the school year if they have a contract or written assurance that they will continue to be employed after the break.

Reasonable assurance is defined as an agreement between the employer and the employee in which the employee is promised a job for the next term or semester. The employer must offer a salary and benefits that are similar to the previous job.

You may qualify for UI benefits after losing your job as a teacher or school worker if:

  • Your employer let you go because you could not meet certain performance and production standards.
  • You were laid off.
  • Your contract expired.
  • You are on furlough.
  • Your employer is reducing its staff.

Unemployment Insurance for Ex-Servicemembers (UCX)

If you recently ended your service with the U.S. military and cannot find work, you may be able to file an unemployment claim. The Unemployment Compensation for Ex-Servicemembers (UCX) program is handled by your state’s unemployment agency.

The UCX application process and program guidelines are mostly the same as those for the civilian unemployment program. Below are the key differences to consider before you file for UCX benefits.

Eligibility for UCX

  • Base period:  You must have been on active duty or active Reserve status during your claim’s base period.
  • Term of service: You must have completed the full first term of service that you enlisted for. If you are a reservist, you must have completed 180 continuous days of active service.
  • You must have been honorably discharged: In order to qualify for UI as an ex-servicemember, you must have been separated under honorable conditions. Show the appropriate paperwork (DD-214 form) to prove your discharge when filling your UI claim.
  • Service-specific benefits may be available to you: Depending on your role, if you were honorably discharged while on active duty, you may be able to collect benefits based on that specific service.
5.-unemployment-5

How to Apply for UCX

You can apply for UCX benefits using the same method you would use to apply for regular unemployment insurance. You will just need the DD Form 214 (Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty) that was issued to you.

If you still need to request your DD 214, follow the instructions below:

  1. Click on the following link or type the URL into your browser’s address bar:
     https://www.va.gov/records/get-military-service-records/
  2. Click on the “Go to MilConnect” button. You will need to sign in or create a milConnect account, as you cannot use your My HealtheVet or ID.me credentials here.
  3. Once you are logged in, click on “Correspondence/ Documentation.” Then, select “Defense Personnel Records Information (DPRIS)” from the drop-down menu.
  4. Choose the “Personnel File” tab.
  5. Click on “Request My Personnel File.”
  6. Fill out the form. In the Document Index section, check the box next to the DD 214 form.
  7. Click on the “Create and Send Request” button.

Apply for unemployment as soon as you can after you have been discharged. No matter where you served, you must file your claim in the state where you currently reside.

For detailed instructions on how to apply, please refer to the section  “How to Apply for Unemployment by State”.

Note on UCX Appeals

If you are denied unemployment benefits based on your state’s laws, you can file an unemployment denial appeal just as civilians do. Please refer to section “How to File an Appeal if Disqualified” to learn more about the process.

However, if you are denied due to your reason for discharge, you must instead file your appeal with the appropriate military branch.

Unemployment Insurance for Federal Employees

Former federal employees have their own unemployment program called Unemployment Compensation for Federal Employees (UCFE).

The eligibility guidelines, application process and other elements of the program are the same as each state’s regular unemployment program, with one exception, discussed below.

The UCFE program is handled by your state’s unemployment agency. The only difference is the funding: UCFE benefits come directly from the federal government, which reimburses the state’s unemployment agency.

In addition to the regular documents you will need to apply for unemployment benefits, you will need to have your SF-8 form (Notice to Federal Employee About Unemployment Insurance) and SF-50 form (Notification of Personnel Action).

Your employer will give you these forms upon separation.

To learn more about documents and information required to apply for unemployment benefits, see the section “Documents and Information You Will Need.” For detailed instructions on how to apply, please refer to section  “How to Apply for Unemployment by State.”

How to Apply for Unemployment

If you have recently lost your job, it is important to apply for benefits as soon as possible. This is because you must undergo a one-week waiting period after submitting your application. During this week, you will not receive any unemployment insurance. 

Because your unemployment office also needs time to process the application, you will generally not receive your first unemployment check for 2-3 weeks after you submit your initial claim.

For best results and to ensure that you do not miss out on any payments, file as soon as you are separated from your job.

To apply for UI benefits, most states will have you complete the following steps:

  1. Gather together relevant documents. *Please refer to the section “Documents and Information You Will Need” to get more information.
  2. Select your application method. Most states allow you to file a claim online or by phone. Some states also allow you to apply by mail or in person. *Please refer to the section “How to Apply for Unemployment By State” to learn what methods are available in your state.
  3. Fill out and submit the application online, by mail, in person or by phone. *Please refer to the section “How to Apply for Unemployment By State” to find online application urls, mailing address and phone numbers for submitting an initial unemployment claim
  4. Follow the rest of the claims process as required by your state. This may involve registering for a job search or work program. 
  5. If you are approved for benefits, follow state instructions for setting up direct deposit or a debit card. *Please refer to the section “Methods of Payment” to learn more about UI debit cards and direct deposit.
  6. Actively search for work while you are receiving benefits.
  7. Submit a new claim on a weekly or biweekly basis that proves you have actively been searching for work. *Please refer to the section “How to Certify for Continued Unemployment Payments By State” to learn more about submitting these claims.

How to Apply for Unemployment by State

Alabama

To apply online: https://initialclaims.labor.alabama.gov/
To apply by phone: 1-866-234-5382 (Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. CT)
For assistance via fax if you have questions about your application:
– Montgomery Office: 334-956-7307 
– Birmingham Office: 205-458-2222 
– TTY: 800-548-2546 Voice Relay: 711

Alaska

To apply online: https://labor.alaska.gov/unemployment/
For assistance with your application via mail, phone, fax or email: 
Anchorage UI Claim Center
P.O. Box 241767
Anchorage, AK 99524-1767
Phone: 907-269-4700
Fax: 907-375-9520
Email: auicc@alaska.gov

Juneau UI Claim Center
P.O. Box 115509
Juneau, AK 99811-5509
Phone: 907-465-5552
Fax: 907-465-5573
Email: juicc@alaska.gov

Fairbanks UI Claim Center
675 7th Ave., Station M
Fairbanks, AK 99701
Phone: 907-451-2871  
Fax: 907-451-2870 

Calls from other areas: 888-252-2557
(All claim centers are available from Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. AKDT)

For assistance via TTY/Relay: 711

Arizona

To apply online: https://uiclaims.azdes.gov/
(Sunday to Friday, 12 a.m. MT – 6 p.m. MT)
To apply by phone or for assistance if you have questions about your application: 
1-877-600-2722
(Monday to Friday, 7 a.m. MT – 6 p.m. MT and Sunday, 9:30 a.m MT – 5 p.m. MT)

For assistance via TTY/Relay: 711

To apply by fax: 
Fill out this form (https://des.az.gov/sites/default/files/dl/UB-105.pdf?time=1588956699800) and mail it to: 
– Phoenix: 602-364-1210 or 602-364-1211
– Tucson: 520-770-3357 or 520-770-3358

Department of Economic Security
Unemployment Insurance Administration
MD 5895
PO Box 29225
Phoenix, AZ 85038-9225

Arkansas

To apply online: https://www.ezarc.adws.arkansas.gov/ (Monday to Sunday, 6 a.m. CT – 6 p.m. CT)
To apply in person: 
Fill out this form (https://www.dws.arkansas.gov/src/files/PDF501_BLANK_v022020.pdf) and submit it to your local Arkansas Workforce Center office. You can find your nearest office here (https://www.dws.arkansas.gov/contact/)
To apply by mail: Fill out this form (https://www.dws.arkansas.gov/src/files/PDF501_BLANK_v022020.pdf) and mail it to your local Arkansas Workforce Center office. You can find your nearest office here (https://www.dws.arkansas.gov/contact/)
For assistance via the Information Desk if you have questions about your application:
P.O. Box 2981
Little Rock, AR 72203
Phone: 1-855-225-4440 or 501-682-2121
Fax: 501-682-8845
Email: ADWS.Info@arkansas.gov 
(Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.)

Relay: 711

California

To apply online: 
https://edd.ca.gov/Unemployment/UI_Online.htm
(Sunday 5 a.m. – 8:30 p.m. PT, Monday 4 a.m. – 10 p.m. PT, Tuesday to Friday 2 a.m. – 10 p.m. PT, Saturday 2 a.m. – 8 p.m. PT)
To apply by phone or for assistance if you have questions about your application: 
– English: 1-800-300-5616
– Spanish: 1-800-300-5616
– Cantonese: 1-800-547-3506
– Mandarin: 1-866-303-0706
– Vietnamese: 1-800-547-2058
– TTY: 1-800-815-9387
(Monday to Friday 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.)
To apply by fax: 
Fill out one of the forms below depending on your situation and fax it to 1-866-215-9159.

– If you worked in California: 
https://edd.ca.gov/pdf_pub_ctr/1101i/de1101id.pdf (English)
https://edd.ca.gov/pdf_pub_ctr/1101i/de1101ids.pdf (Spanish)

– If you worked in California and another state: 
https://edd.ca.gov/pdf_pub_ctr/1101i/de1101id.pdf (English)
https://edd.ca.gov/pdf_pub_ctr/1101i/de1101ids.pdf (Spanish)

– If you served in the military: 
https://edd.ca.gov/pdf_pub_ctr/1101i/de1101iad.pdf (English)
https://edd.ca.gov/pdf_pub_ctr/1101i/de1101iads.pdf (Spanish)

– If you worked for the federal government: 
https://edd.ca.gov/pdf_pub_ctr/1101i/de1101ibd.pdf (English)
https://edd.ca.gov/pdf_pub_ctr/1101i/de1101ibds.pdf (Spanish)

To apply by mail: 
Fill out one of the forms below depending on your situation and mail it to:
EDDPO
Box 12906
Oakland, CA 94604-2909

– If you worked in California: 
https://edd.ca.gov/pdf_pub_ctr/1101i/de1101id.pdf (English)
https://edd.ca.gov/pdf_pub_ctr/1101i/de1101ids.pdf (Spanish)

– If you worked in California and another state: 
https://edd.ca.gov/pdf_pub_ctr/1101i/de1101id.pdf (English)
https://edd.ca.gov/pdf_pub_ctr/1101i/de1101ids.pdf (Spanish)

– If you served in the military: 
https://edd.ca.gov/pdf_pub_ctr/1101i/de1101iad.pdf (English)
https://edd.ca.gov/pdf_pub_ctr/1101i/de1101iads.pdf (Spanish)

– If you worked for the federal government: 
https://edd.ca.gov/pdf_pub_ctr/1101i/de1101ibd.pdf (English)
https://edd.ca.gov/pdf_pub_ctr/1101i/de1101ibds.pdf (Spanish)

Colorado

To apply online: https://smartfile.coworkforce.com/Start
For assistance via phone if you have questions about your application: 
– Denver: 
English: 303-318-9000 
Spanish: 303-318-9333 
TTY: 303-318-9016

Outside Denver-metro area: 
English: 1-800-388-5515
Spanish: 1-866-422-0402 
TTY: 1-800-894-7730 

(Monday to Friday 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. MT)

Connecticut

To apply online: http://www.ctdol.state.ct.us/UI-OnLine/BlueWolf/index.htm
For answers to common questions about unemployment: https://www.ctdol.state.ct.us/webinars.htm

For assistance via phone if you have questions about your application: 
1-203-941-6868
1-860-967-0493
1-800-956-3294
TTY – 711 or 800-842-9710

Monday – Friday: 7:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. ET
Closed Sunday & holidays

Delaware

To apply online: https://uics.delawareworks.com/Forms/Form_WL1
For assistance if you have questions about your application: 
Phone: 302-761-8446
Fax: 302-761-6636
Email: uiclaims@delaware.gov (Include your name, claim and confirmation number)

Mail:
Wilmington & Interstate Office
Department of Labor
Division of Unemployment Insurance
4425 North Market Street
Fox Valley
Wilmington, DE 19802

Newark Local Office
Department of Labor
Division of Unemployment Insurance
252 Chapman Rd
Suite 210
Newark, DE 19702

Dover Local Office
Department of Labor
Division of Unemployment Insurance
655 S. Bay Road, Suite 2H
Blue Hen Corp. Ctr.
Dover, DE 19901

Georgetown Local Office
Department of Labor
Division of Unemployment Insurance
8 Georgetown Plaza
Suite 2
Georgetown, DE 19947

(Office hours are Monday to Friday 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. ET)

For help via TTY/Voice Relay from the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation if you are disabled and looking for employment:
– Wilmington for New Castle County: 302-761-8275
– Newark for New Castle County: 302-368-6980
– Middletown for New Castle County: 302-696-3180
– Dover for Kent County: 302-739-5478
– Georgetown for Sussex County: 302-856-5730
– Fox Valley for statewide administration: 302-761-8275

District of Columbia

To apply online: https://does.dcnetworks.org/claimantservices/Logon.aspx
For assistance if you have questions about your application: 
Phone: 202-724-7000 
TTY: 202-698-4817
Fax: 202-698-5706
Email: does@dc.gov 
(Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. ET)

Florida

To apply online: https://www.floridajobs.org/Reemployment-Assistance-Service-Center/reemployment-assistance/claimants/apply-for-benefits
To apply by phone: 
1-833-352-7759 
(Monday to Friday, 7:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. ET and Saturday and Sunday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. ET)
For assistance via email if you have questions about your application:
http://racontactus.floridajobs.org/

TTY/Relay: 711

Georgia

To apply online: https://www.dol.state.ga.us/fileaclaim 
To apply in person: Visit a local Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL) career center and apply in person. You can find the office nearest you here: https://dol.georgia.gov/locations/career-center 
For assistance from the GDOL: Interactive Voice Response system: 1-866-598-4164 Email: https://dol.georgia.gov/email-us 
Relay: 711

Hawaii

To apply online: https://huiclaims.hawaii.gov
(Monday to Friday 6:30 a.m. – 11 p.m. HST, Weekends and Holidays 9 a.m. – 11 p.m. HST)
For assistance if you have questions about your application: 

Oahu Claims Office
830 Punchbowl St., Rm 110
Honolulu, HI 96813
Phone: 808-586-8970
Fax: 808-586-8980
Email: dlir.ui.oahu@hawaii.gov 

Hilo Claims and Benefits
1990 Kinoole St., Ste 101
Hilo, HI 96720-5293  
Phone: 808-974-4086  
Fax: 808-974-4085
Email: dlir.ui.hilo@hawaii.gov 

Kona Claims and Benefits
81-990 Halekii St., Rm 2090
Kealakekua, HI 96750  
Phone: 808-322-4822
Fax: 808-322-4828  
Email: dlir.ui.kona@hawaii.gov 

Maui Claims and Benefits
54 South High St., Rm 201
Wailuku, HI 96793  
Phone: 808-984-8400
Fax: 808-984-8444
Email: dlir.ui.maui@hawaii.gov 

Kauai Claims and Benefits
4370 Kukui Grove St., Ste 3-214
Lihue, HI  96766
Phone: 808-274-3043
Fax: 808-274-3046
Email: dlir.ui.kauai@hawaii.gov 

For General Information: 833-901-2275

TTY: 711 and then ask the operator to transfer you to 808-586-8844

Idaho

To apply online: https://www2.labor.idaho.gov/ClaimantPortal/Login?ReturnUrl=%2fClaimantPortal
To apply in person: 
Visit a local Idaho Department of Labor office and apply in person. You can find the office nearest you here: https://www.labor.idaho.gov/dnn/Local-Office-Directory
For assistance if you have questions about your application: 
Phone: 208-332-8942
TTY Relay: 711
Fax: 208-639-3256
(Monday to Friday 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. MT)

Illinois

To apply online: 

https://www2.illinois.gov/ides/aboutides/Pages/10%20Things%20You%20Should%20Know.aspx

To apply by phone or for assistance with your application: 
1-800-244-5631
TTY: 1-800-244-5631 + 711
(Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. CT)

Out of state claimants may also call the above phone number. 

 

Indiana

To apply online: https://uplink.in.gov/CSS/CSSLogon.htm
To apply in person: 
Contact a local full-service WorkOne Career Center. You can find the office nearest you here: https://www.in.gov/dwd/WorkOne/locations.html
For assistance if you have questions about your application: 

Mail:
Indiana Department of Workforce Development
Indiana Government Center South
10 North Senate Avenue
Indianapolis, IN 46204
Email: AskUIContactCenter@dwd.IN.gov 
Phone: 1-800-457-8283

The Department of Workforce Development asks that you call on the day that corresponds with the first letter of your last name as follows: 
– Monday: A-E
– Tuesday: F-I
– Wednesday: J-M
– Thursday: N-T
– Friday: U-Z or if you missed your day

For general information if you are deaf or hard of hearing: 1-317-232-7560 

For auxiliary aids or services: 
– 317-233-4380
– 317-234-3535 (if you are deaf or hard of hearing)

Iowa

To apply online: https://uiclaims.iwd.iowa.gov/UIInitialClaim/
To apply in person: 
Visit a local IOWAWORKS Center to apply in person. You can find the office nearest you here: https://www.iowaworkforcedevelopment.gov/contact

For assistance if you have questions about your application:

Phone: 1-866-239-0843
(Monday to Friday 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.)
Voice Relay: 711

Phone (Monday to Friday 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. CT)

1-866-239-0843

Voice Relay

711

Kansas

To apply online: 
https://www.getkansasbenefits.gov/BenefitsStartMenu.aspx
(Sunday at 12 p.m. to Monday at 9 p.m. CT, Tuesday to Friday from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. CT, and Saturday 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. CT)

Please note that this website may take a few minutes to load.

To apply by phone or for assistance if you have questions about your application: 
– Kansas City Area: 913-596-3500
– Topeka Area: 785-575-1460
– Wichita Area: 316-383-9947
– Other areas: 1-800-292-6333
– TTY: 800-766-3777

(Claim Specialists available Monday to Friday 8 a.m. – 4:15 p.m. CT Automated System available Monday to Friday 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. CT and Saturday 9 a.m. – 7 p.m. CT)

Kentucky

To apply online: https://kcc.ky.gov/pages/index.aspx
(Monday to Friday 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. ET and Sunday 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. ET)

To apply by phone or for assistance if you have questions about your application: 502-875-0442
(Monday to Friday 7:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m., English and Spanish available)

(Monday to Friday 7:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. ET, English and Spanish available)

502-875-0442

TTY/Voice Relay

800-372-7172

Louisiana

To apply online: https://www.louisianaworks.net/hire/vosnet/Default.aspx
For assistance if you have questions about your application: 
Email: HiRE@lwc.la.gov (Include your name, contact information and the last 4 digits of your SSN)
Phone: 1-866-783-5567(Monday to Friday 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. CT)

Relay: 711

The Louisiana Workforce Commission asks that you call on the day that corresponds with the last four digits of your SSN as follows:
– Mondays: SSN ending with 0000-2499
– Tuesdays: SSNs ending with 2500-4999
– Wednesdays: SSNs ending with 5000-7499
– Thursdays: SSNs ending with 7500-9999
– Fridays: Anyone

Maine

To apply online: https://reemployme.maine.gov/accessme/faces/login/login_local.xhtml
To apply by phone or if you have questions about your application: 
1-800-593-7660
TTY: 1-800-593-7660 + 711
(Customer Service available Monday to Friday 8 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. ET)
For assistance by mail or fax if you have questions about your application: 
Augusta Claim Center
97 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333-0097
Fax: 207-287-5905

Special Programs Unit
47 State House Station
Augusta ME, 04333-0047
Phone: 207-621-5101
Fax: 207-287-3395

Maryland

To apply online: https://www.dllr.state.md.us/employment/unemployment.shtml
To apply by phone or for assistance if you have questions about your application: 
301-313-8000
– Calvert County
– Charles County
– Montgomery County
– Prince Georges County
– St. Mary’s County
– For calls in Spanish

301-723-2000
– Allegany County
– Frederick County
– Garrett County
– Washington County

410-334-6800
– Caroline County
– Dorchester County
– Kent County
– Queen Anne’s County
– Somerset County
– Talbot County
– Wicomico County
– Worcester County

410-853-1600
– Anne Arundel County
– Baltimore City
– Baltimore County
– Carroll County
– Cecil County
– Harford County
– Howard County

Toll Free: 1-877-293-4125 (English and Spanish available)
TTY: 1-800-735-2258
Speech-to-Speech: 1-800-785-5630
Voice Relay within Maryland: 711

(Monday to Friday 7 a.m. – 6 p.m. ET)

Massachusetts

To apply online: https://uionline.detma.org/Claimant/Core/Login.ASPX
To apply by phone or get assistance with your application: 
– Area codes 351, 413, 508, 774, and 978: 877-626-6800 
– Other area codes: 617-626-6800 
– TTY/Relay: 711
(Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. ET)

The Massachusetts Department of Unemployment Assistance asks that you call during a specific day of the week based on the last digit in your SSN as follows: 
– Monday: SSN ending with 0 or 1
– Tuesday: SSN ending with 2 or 3
– Wednesday: SSN ending with 4, 5 or 6
– Thursday: SSN ending with 7, 8 or 9
– Friday: Anyone

Michigan

To apply online: https://miwam.unemployment.state.mi.us/ClmMiWAM/_/

To apply by phone or for assistance if you have questions about your application: 
1-866-500-0017
TTY: 1-866-366-0004

Minnesota

To apply online: https://www1.uimn.org/ui_applicant/applicant/login.do
(Sunday to Friday 6 a.m. – 8 p.m. CT)
To apply by phone or get assistance if you have questions about your application: 
– Twin Cities: 651-296-3644
– The rest of Minnesota: 1-877-898-9090
– TTY: 1-866-814-1252
– Callers with disabilities: 651-259-7223
(Customer Service available Monday to Friday 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. CT. Automated System available Monday to Friday 6 a.m. – 6 p.m. CT)

Mississippi

To apply online: https://accessms.mdes.ms.gov/accessms/faces/login/login.xhtml

To apply by phone: 601-493-9427
For TTY assistance: 1-800-582-2233

To apply in person or for assistance if you have questions about your application: 
Visit a local WIN Job Center to apply in person. You can find the office nearest you here: https://mdes.ms.gov/win-job-centers/

Missouri

To apply online: https://uinteract.labor.mo.gov/benefits/home.do
For assistance if you have questions about your application: 
– Jefferson City: 573-751-9040 
– Kansas City: 816-889-3101 
– St. Louis: 314-340-4950 
– Springfield: 417-895-6851 
– Other areas: 800-320-2519
– TTY: 800-735-2966
– Voice Relay: 711(Monday to Friday 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. CT)
If you have unemployment questions: Chatbot: https://info.mo.gov/labor/chatbot/

Montana

To apply online: https://login.montanaworks.gov/sso/XUI/?realm=mw#login
To apply by phone or for assistance if you have questions about your application: 406-444-2545 (Monday to Friday 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. MT)
Voice Relay: 711

Nebraska

To apply online: https://neworks.nebraska.gov/vosnet/Default.aspx
For assistance if you have questions about your application: 
Phone: 855-995-8863
TTY: 402-471-0016
Fax: 402-458-2595
Mail: UI Benefits Special Programs (DUA) Nebraska Department of Labor, P.O. Box 94600, Lincoln, NE 68509-4600

Nevada

To apply online: https://apps.detr.nv.gov/CSSReg/CSSLogon.htm
To apply by phone: 
– Northern Nevada: 775-684-0350
– Southern Nevada: 702-486-0350
– Rural Nevada & out of state: 888-890-8211
(Staff assistance is available Monday to Wednesday 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. PT)
To apply in person or for assistance if you have questions about your application: 
Visit a JobConnect Career Center. You can find a local office here: https://nevadajobconnect.com/Page/Career_Centers
For assistance if you are disabled: 
– TTY: 775-687-5353
– Voice Relay: 1-800-326-6868 or 711

New Hampshire

To apply online: https://wfc.nhes.nh.gov/auth/sso/login;jsessionid=7990035440040D52AD2A0D4CF768417C?execution=e1s1
To apply in person or for assistance if you have questions about your application: 
Visit a NH Employment Security office. You can find a local office here: https://www.nhes.nh.gov/locations/index.htm

For TTY/Relay assistance if you are disabled or hard of hearing: 1-800-735-2964

New Jersey

To apply online: https://secure.dol.state.nj.us/sso/XUI/?realm=ui#register/
To apply by phone or for assistance if you have questions about your application: 
– North Jersey: 201-601-4100
– Central Jersey: 732-761-2020
– Southern Jersey: 856-507-2340
– Out of state: 888-795-6672Voice Relay: 711

New Mexico

To apply online: https://sam.dws.state.nm.us/Core/Login.ASPX
To apply by phone or for assistance if you have questions about your application: 1-877-664-6984 (Monday to Friday 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. PT)
New Mexico Relay: 711

New York

To apply online: https://unemployment.labor.ny.gov/login
To apply by phone: 
888-209-8124

TTY or Video Relay: 800-662-1220 and then ask the operator to transfer you to 888-783-1370. You may also call the Telephone Claims Center at 888-783-1370 if you are being assisted by another person.

(Monday to Friday 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. ET)
For assistance if you have questions about your application: 
Create and sign in to an online account. Then click on the envelope icon to be able to send your questions via secured message. 

North Carolina

To apply online: https://fed.des.nc.gov/ofis/citizen/pages/public/SelfRegStart.aspx
To apply by phone: 888-737-0259
For assistance if you have questions about your application: 888-737-0259 (Monday to Friday 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. ET, Saturday 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. ET, and Sunday 12 p.m. – 5 p.m. ET)
Relay: 711

North Dakota

To apply online: https://apps.nd.gov/jsnd/uiiaclaims/login.htm (Unavailable from 10 p.m. – 12 a.m. CT)
To apply by phone: 701-328-4995 (Unavailable from 10 p.m. – 12 a.m. CT. Staff available Monday to Friday 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. CT)
For assistance if you have questions about your application: You may ask your questions via chatbot by clicking on the “Need Help” icon on the bottom right here: https://www.jobsnd.com/unemployment-individuals/file-claim
If you have a disability and need assistance call 800-366-6888 (TTY)

Ohio

To apply online: https://unemploymenthelp.ohio.gov/

To apply by phone or for assistance if you have questions about your application: 1-877-644-6562
TTY: 1-614-387-8408

(Staff are available to help with applications and PINs Monday to Friday 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. ET, Saturday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. ET, and Sunday 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. ET Other questions can be answered Monday to Friday 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. ET)

Oklahoma

To apply online: https://unemployment.state.ok.us/w2.aspx

For assistance if you have questions about your application: 
You may ask your questions via chatbot by clicking on the “Virtual Agent” icon on the bottom right here: https://oesc.ok.gov/
If you have a disability and need assistance call: 866-284-6695

Oregon

To apply online: https://secure.emp.state.or.us/ocs4/index.cfm?u=F20190514A143340B36019231.1988&lang=E
To apply by phone or for assistance if you have questions about your application: 
– Portland: 503-292-2057
– Salem: 503-947-1500
– Eastern/Central Oregon/Bend: 541-388-6207
– TTY/Relay: 711
– Toll-Free: 877-345-3484
(8 a.m. – 5 p.m. CT)

Pennsylvania

To apply online: https://benefits.uc.pa.gov/vosnet/Default.aspx
To apply by phone or for assistance if you have questions about your application: 
1-888-313-7284
TTY: 888-334-4046
Videophone: 717-704-8474 
(Monday to Friday 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. ET)
(Videophone service available on Wednesday 12 p.m. – 4 p.m. ET)

Rhode Island

To apply online: https://dltweb.dlt.ri.gov/UIClaims2013/intro/index.aspx?AC=yes
To apply by phone or for assistance if you have questions about your application: 
401-415-6772
Out of state: 866-557-0001
TTY/Relay: 711(Monday, Tuesday and Thursday 8 a.m. – 3 p.m. ET and Friday 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. ET)

South Carolina

To apply online:  https://www.dew.sc.gov/applying-benefits

For assistance if you have questions about your application: 1-866-831-1724
(Monday to Friday 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. ET)
TTY/Relay: 711

South Dakota

To apply online: https://apps.sd.gov/LD00General/default.aspx?URL_GUID=https://apps.sd.gov/LD75uibpUIUserProfile/WebForm_UserProfile.aspx?tok=

To apply by phone or for assistance if you have questions about your application: 605-626-3179
For hearing- or speaking-impaired: 800-877-1113
For general questions: 605-626-2452

(Monday to Friday 8 a.m. – 4:20 p.m. CT)

Tennessee

To apply online: https://www.jobs4tn.gov/vosnet/Default.aspx
For assistance if you have questions about your application: 
You can send questions online using the form found here: https://help.tn.gov/tn 
You can also have a Live Chat by clicking on the “Live Chat” icon on the bottom left of the same page. TTY: call TN Relay at 711

Texas

To apply online: https://login.apps.twc.state.tx.us/UBS/changeLocale.do?language=en&country=US&page=/security/logon.do

To apply by phone or for assistance if you have questions about your application: 800-939-6631
(Sunday to Saturday 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. ET)
If you have a disability and need assistance, please call 711 (RelayTexas)

Utah

To apply online: https://jobs.utah.gov/ui/home/initialclaims (Sunday to Saturday 2 a.m. – 11:45 p.m. CT)
For assistance if you have questions about your application: 
Phone: 
– Salt Lake and South Davis Counties: 801-526-4400
– Weber and North Davis Counties: 801-612-0877
– Utah County: 801-375-4067
– Other state callers and out of state callers: 1-888-848-0688
– TTY: 711 (Utah Relay Service)

Fax:
– Claims questions: 801-526-4401
– Monetary questions: 801-526-9394
– Questions about adjudications: 801-526-4402

Vermont

To apply by phone or for assistance if you have questions about your application: 
For applications: 1-877-214-3330
For additional assistance: 1-888-807-7072
Toll-free: 1-877-214-3330
TTY: 1-800-650-4152

(Monday to Friday 8:15 a.m. – 6 p.m. ET, Saturday 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. ET)

Virginia

To apply online: 
https://www.vawc.virginia.gov/vosnet/Default.aspx (English)
https://www.vawc.virginia.gov/vosnet/Default.aspx?enc=KrXBHc1OhrZGzl2XGVPM3g== (Spanish)
To apply by phone: 1-866-832-2363(Monday to Friday 8:15 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. ET and Saturday 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. ET)
If you have a disability and need assistance, please call 1-800-828-1120 (Virginia Relay Center).
For assistance if you have questions about your application: Get in contact with your nearest Virginia Career Works office. You can find local offices and their phone and fax numbers here: https://www.vec.virginia.gov/find-a-job/vec-local-offices

Washington

To apply online: https://secure.esd.wa.gov/home/
To apply by phone or for assistance if you have questions about your application: 
800-318-6022
For general questions: 833-572-8400
(Monday to Saturday 7 a.m. – 4 p.m. PT)
If you have a disability and need assistance, call Washington Relay Service at 711.

West Virginia

To apply online: https://uc.workforcewv.org/consumer/?lang=en
If you receive a Low Earnings Report from your employer: 
In this situation, you can submit the report and your request in person or by mail to your local unemployment claims office within 10 days. You can find the office nearest you here: https://uc.workforcewv.org/Contact.aspx

You may also call one of the local offices for assistance if you have questions about your application. 
(Monday to Thursday 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. ET and Friday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. ET)

If you have a disability and need assistance understanding the process, please call the Virginia Relay at 711 or 800-828-1120.

Wisconsin

To apply online: https://my.unemployment.wisconsin.gov/Claimant/Logon/TermsAndConditions
(Monday to Friday 24 hours, Saturday 1 a.m. – 3 p.m. CT, and Sunday 9 a.m. – 12 a.m. CT)
To apply by phone: 
– Madison: (608) 232-0678
– Milwaukee: (414) 438-7700
– Toll-free: 800-822-5246
– TTY: 711
For assistance if you have questions about your application: 
You may send your questions to the Department of Workforce Development by filling out this form:  https://dwd.wisconsin.gov/dwdsendmail/mailtodwd.aspx

You may also call 608-266-3131
(Monday to Friday 7:45 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. CT)

Wyoming

To apply online: https://wyui.wyo.gov/benefits/home.do
To apply by phone or for assistance if you have questions about your application: 
For application calls from Wyoming: 307-473-3789
For application calls from out of state: 866-729-7799
WY Relay Service (TTY): 711
For the HELP Line: 307-235-3264
Fax: 307-235-3277 or 307-473-3726 

If you have a disability and need assistance call Wyoming Relay Service at 711.

Filing a Claim as a Person with a Disability

Throughout the application process, you are allowed to get help filing your claim if you have a disability. However, you must agree to rules, which may include the following:

  • You will be present every time your helper is working on the application. 
  • You will be held accountable for your helper’s actions relating to your application.
  • If you are not present every time your helper works on the application, you may incur penalties. 

If you are applying by phone and need assistance, you may have a helper on the line with you. Most states also have special numbers you can call if you are deaf or hard of hearing. 

State relay services can help individuals that are deaf, hard of hearing or speech-impaired communicate by phone. You simply dial the TTY (Teletypewriter Telecommunication) number and the operator will connect you to the number you wish to call. The operator will then serve as a translator between you and the DOL representative using a TTY or voice carry-over device (VCO) device.

*If your state offers one of these contact numbers, you can find it labeled “TTY” or “Relay” in the “How to Apply for Unemployment by State” table in this guide.

Documents and Information You Will Need

Before you file your initial UI claim, you will need to gather certain personal documents and information. These will help you fill out the application. 

A caseworker may request to see hard copies of these documents later on. Important application documents and information include:

  • Your Social Security card or an official document that lists your Social Security Number (SSN).
  • Your Alien Registration card number and expiration date, if applicable.
  • Your driver’s license or state ID number.
  • Your mailing address and ZIP code.
  • Your phone number and email address.
  • The names and addresses of your previous employers from the last 18 months. This includes employers in other states, if applicable.
  • Your reasons for no longer working with each employer.
  • The Employer Registration number or Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) of your most recent employer. This number may be found on your W-2 forms.
  • Copies of forms SF8 and SF50, if you were a federal employee.
  • Your union hall’s name and local number, if applicable.
  • Your most recent military separation form (DD-214) if you have just separated from the service.
    *Please refer to the section “How to Apply for UCX” in this guide to learn more about getting your DD-214 form.
  • Your bank routing number and checking account numbers, if you want to use direct deposit to receive your benefits.
    *Please refer to the section “Methods of Payment” in this guide to learn more about UI debit cards and direct deposit.

How to Apply for UI Benefits Online

woman computer apply for ui online

If you want to apply for unemployment insurance online, visit your state’s Department of Labor (DOL) website. You can find your state’s online application in the section “How to Apply for Unemployment by State” in this guide.

You may be required to first create an account with a username, password and PIN, which is a four-digit number.

Once you have set up an account, follow the instructions for completing the online form. If you are not required to create an account, there may be no way to save your progress on your application. Thus, you must complete the entire form in one sitting.

After you have completed the required sections, you may submit the form. You should then receive a confirmation of your submission via email. 

Many states recommend that you apply online because your claim will be processed more quickly. In addition, creating an online account will make it easier to check the status of your claim or update your application if your circumstances change. 

Some states, such as Florida, require you to complete the application online. You may be exempt from this rule if you are:

  • Unable to read or write in the languages available on the online application.
  • Physically or visually impaired.
  • Legally prohibited from using a computer. 
  • Unable to use a computer.

How to Apply for UI Benefits by Phone

In order to apply for unemployment insurance by phone, call your state’s telephone claim center. You can find your state’s application contact number in the section “How to Apply for Unemployment by State.”

You may not be connected to a representative immediately. However, it is important not to hang up if you want to hold your spot in line. Once you are connected with a representative, he or she will work with you to complete the application. 

In some states, you may not be connected to a live representative and must complete the entire application by phone with voice command.

If English is not your first language, filing a claim by phone may be ideal. This is because many state filing numbers offer translation services. For a language other than English, you may use your keypad to select your preferred language when prompted. 

Be sure to have all your personal documents with you. This way, you will be able to complete the application more quickly and prevent delays in filing. 

How to Apply for UI Benefits by Fax or Mail

woman envelope apply ui mail

Some states allow you to submit a UI application by fax or mail. You can find out if your state offers a mail option by referring to the section “How to Apply for Unemployment by State.” This section also has mailing addresses and other information you will need to submit an application by mail.

If this is your preferred submission method, you must first download and print the application form from the DOL website for your state.

Once you have completed the form and dated it at the bottom, mail it to the street address or fax it to the fax number specified on your state’s DOL website. These addresses may also be found at the bottom of the application. 

Some states that accept applications by mail recommend that you submit the form by fax. Fax submissions are faster and more secure than mail-in submissions. 

How to Apply for UI Benefits in Person

You can apply to UI by phone or online. Call your state office or check its website to find out if you can request an application appointment to apply in person.

If your state is taking in-person appointments, on the day of your appointment, make sure to bring the documents and information. Please refer to the section “Documents You Will Need” list of this guide to know which documents you need to provide.

At the unemployment office, you should be able to obtain, complete and submit an application for unemployment benefits.

Completing the Unemployment Interview

After you have filed for unemployment insurance, you may receive a request by mail or email for a phone interview. 

The request will notify you of the date and time of your interview or give you instructions for scheduling a time that works for you. Depending on your state, the notice may also include the reason for your interview and a list of sample questions that you may be asked.

Here are some tips to help you prepare for the interview:

  • Block out your time properly: Although your claims examiner will try to call at the scheduled time, delays can occur. Therefore, you should make yourself available for two hours after the scheduled time.
  • Gather documentation: You may prepare for the interview by collecting your personal documents, as you did for the initial application.
  • Review your application: It will be helpful to review your application submission. This way, you may have an easier time answering your interviewer’s questions. 

During the interview, you will also have the opportunity to ask questions about the program.

If you are required to respond to a request for information, submit your response and any required documents as quickly as possible. Otherwise, your first payment may be delayed.

If your case is accepted after your interview, you should receive UI payments for the weeks in between filing your first claim and your approval. If the outcome of your interview with a claims examiner results in the denial of your Unemployment claim, you have the right to file an appeal. 

As long as you submit your dispute paperwork within the designated time frame determined by your state, your case will continue to be examined.

What to Expect While Your Application Is Processing

Most states will notify you by mail or email when a decision has been made on your application.

While your application is processing, the DOL in your state will contact your previous employer and request separation information. Your employer must then provide details on your previous wages and any additional income that was distributed to you. 

At this time, you may receive mail from your state DOL about the UI program and your submission. You may receive your first weekly or biweekly claims form in the mail as well. 

If you did not create your own PIN by this point, you may receive a unique PIN in the mail. You must use this to access your unemployment benefits if you are opting for a debit card instead of direct deposit.

You may check the status of your application by logging on to your online account. Otherwise, you must call the DOL in your state for more information.

How much do you receive in unemployment benefits?

man filling out form ui benefits

Estimating your weekly benefits will give you a sense of how much money you can receive. 

Most states have their own rules for calculating the weekly benefits rate. Thus, it is important to check your state’s guidelines to make sure you are making an accurate estimate. 

Please refer to the table at the end of this section, “How Benefits Are Calculated in Each State” to find how benefits are calculated in each state.

Methods for Calculating Benefits

High-Quarter Method

This method is used by many states in the U.S. It uses the base period quarter in which wages were highest in order to determine your payments. Divide this total by 13 (the number of weeks in any given calendar quarter) to get the average weekly wage. 

Now, based on the percentage of the amount your state UI office plans to replace, your weekly wage is then divided to come up with your weekly benefit amount. 

Example: If you earned $3,900 in your highest quarter, divide that by 13 and you have an average weekly wage of $300. If your state UI agency decides to pay for half of your weekly earnings, you will receive $150 per week in unemployment compensation.

Multi-Quarter Method

This method uses a larger amount of time instead of just one quarter. It is considered more accurate for determining the patterns of full-time workers who earned a consistent paycheck. Your weekly benefit amount is determined by the average amount earned in wages over the course of more than one quarter.

Annual-Wage Method

This method uses a percentage of the annual wages paid in your base period. 

Weekly-Wage Method

Some states calculate your benefit amount based on a percentage of the average weekly wages in your base period.

How Benefits Are Calculated in Each State

Alabama

Calculation MethodWeekly MinimumWeekly Maximum
Updated method not published. Contact Alabama DOL for updated information: https://labor.alabama.gov/contacts/UCInquiryEmail/default.aspx$45 / week$275 / week

Alaska

Calculation MethodWeekly MinimumWeekly Maximum
https://labor.alaska.gov/unemployment/documents/Calculating_Benefits.pdf$56 / week$370 / week

Arizona

Calculation MethodWeekly MinimumWeekly Maximum
4% of wages in highest quarter = weekly benefit amount$119 / week$320 / week

Arkansas

Updated method not published. Contact Arkansas DWS for updated information: https://www.dws.arkansas.gov/unemployment/contact-unemployment-services/

California

Calculation MethodWeekly MinimumWeekly Maximum
https://www.edd.ca.gov/unemployment/ui-calculator.htm$40 / week$450 / week

Colorado

Calculation MethodWeekly MinimumWeekly Maximum
Average of wages in two highest-earning quarters divided by 26 = weekly benefit amount$25 / week$742 / week

Connecticut

Calculation MethodWeekly Maximum
Average of wages in two highest earning quarters divided by 26 = weekly benefit amount$685 plus $15 for each dependent (5 maximum)

Delaware

Calculation MethodWeekly MinimumWeekly Maximum
Add two highest earning quarters and divide by 46 = weekly benefit amount$20 / week$400 / week

District of Columbia

Calculation MethodWeekly Maximum
Determined by highest quarter$444 / week

Florida

Calculation MethodWeekly MinimumWeekly Maximum
Highest quarter earnings divided by 26 = weekly benefit amount$32 / week$275 / week

Georgia

Calculation MethodWeekly MinimumWeekly Maximum
Add two highest earning quarters and divide by 42 = weekly benefit amount

If your total base period wages do not equal 1.5 x highest quarter, then highest quarter divided by 21 = weekly benefit amount

$55 / week$365 / week

Hawaii

Calculation MethodWeekly MinimumWeekly Maximum
Highest quarter earnings divided by 21 = weekly benefit amount

Estimate your potential unemployment benefits using this calculator: https://huiclaims2.hawaii.gov/UI_ClaimWEB/pages/calculator/calculator.jsf
$5 / week$695 / week

Idaho

Calculation MethodWeekly MinimumWeekly Maximum
Highest quarter earnings divided by 26 = weekly benefit amount$5 / week$648 / week

Illinois

Calculation MethodWeekly MinimumWeekly Maximum
Determined by two highest quarters. See the table here:
https://www2.illinois.gov/ides/IDES%20Forms%20and%20Publications/CLI110L.pdf

Additional allowances for dependent children and non-working spouses

$51 / week$505 / week for individuals

$601 / week with non-working spouse allowance

$693 / week with dependent child allowance

Indiana

Calculation MethodWeekly Maximum
Divide total base period wages by 52. Multiply the result by 0.47 and round down to nearest whole dollar to get weekly benefit amount$390 / week

Iowa

Calculation MethodWeekly Maximum
No dependents: Highest quarter earnings divided by 23 = weekly benefit amount

1 dependent: Highest quarter earnings divided by 22 = weekly benefit amount

2 dependents: Highest quarter earnings divided by 21 = weekly benefit amount

3 dependents: Highest quarter earnings divided by 20 = weekly benefit amount

4 dependents: Highest quarter earnings divided by 19 = weekly benefit amount

No dependents: $531 / week

1 dependent: $551 / week

2 dependents: $571 / week

3 dependents: $601 / week

4 dependents: $651 / week

Kansas

Calculation MethodWeekly MinimumWeekly Maximum
Highest quarter earnings x .0425 = weekly benefit amount (round down to nearest whole dollar)$135 / week$540 / week

Kentucky

Calculation MethodWeekly MinimumWeekly Maximum
Total base period wages x .011923 = weekly benefit amount (round to nearest whole dollar)

Estimate your benefits with this calculator: https://apps.kcc.ky.gov/career/WuiCalculator.aspx
$39 / week$569 / week

Louisiana

Calculation MethodWeekly MinimumWeekly Maximum
Average quarterly earnings in base period x .04. Multiply result by 1.05. Multiply new result by 1.15.$10 / week$247 / week

Maine

Calculation MethodWeekly MinimumWeekly Maximum
Average of wages in two highest-earning quarters divided by 22 = weekly benefit amount$89 / week$511 / week

+

$10 per dependent (total dependent allowance cannot total more than half of weekly benefit amount)

Maryland

Calculation MethodWeekly MinimumWeekly Maximum
Based on base period earnings + $8 dependent allowance (up to 5 dependents)

Note: If you worked full-time during all quarters in your base period, your weekly benefit amount will be around .5 of gross weekly wage. 

More details here:
http://www.labor.maryland.gov/employment/uischben.pdf

$50 / week$430 / week (including dependent allowance)

Massachusetts

Calculation MethodWeekly Maximum
Add two highest earning quarters and divide the sum by 26. Then divide result by 2 and round down to nearest dollar = weekly benefit amount

If you only worked one or two quarters, use only one highest quarter earnings and divide by 13. Then divide result by 2 and round down to nearest dollar = weekly benefit amount

You can estimate your benefits with the calculator here: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/how-your-unemployment-benefits-are-determined#unemployment-benefits-determination-calculator-

$974 / week

+

$25 per dependent (total dependent allowance cannot total more than half of weekly benefit amount)

Michigan

Calculation MethodWeekly MinimumWeekly Maximum
Highest quarter earnings x .041 = weekly benefit amount (round down to nearest whole dollar)

+

Add $6 for each dependent up to 5 dependents

$81 / week$362 / week

Minnesota

Calculation MethodWeekly Maximum
Approximately .5 of your average weekly wage in base period = weekly benefit amount$820 / week

Mississippi

Calculation MethodWeekly MinimumWeekly Maximum
Highest quarter earnings divided by 26 = weekly benefit amount 

More details here:
https://mdes.ms.gov/media/7140/Benefit_Chart1.pdf

$30 / week$235 / week

Missouri

Calculation MethodWeekly Maximum
Average of wages in two highest-earning quarters x .04 = weekly benefit amount

You can estimate your benefits with the calculator here: https://labor.mo.gov/DES/Claims/calculator

$320 / week

Montana

Calculation MethodWeekly MinimumWeekly Maximum
You can estimate your benefits with the calculator here: http://uid.dli.mt.gov/benefits-estimator$163 / week$552 / week

Nebraska

Calculation MethodWeekly Maximum
Highest quarter earnings divided by 13 = weekly benefit amount$456 / week

Nevada

Calculation MethodWeekly MinimumWeekly Maximum
Highest quarter earnings x .04 = weekly benefit amount$183 / week$469 / week

New Hampshire

Calculation MethodWeekly MinimumWeekly Maximum
Determined by earnings in base period$32 / week$427 / week

New Jersey

Calculation MethodWeekly Maximum
60 percent of average weekly wage in base period = weekly benefit amount

+ Add 7 percent of weekly benefit amount for first dependent and 4 percent each for two other dependents

$713 / week  (including dependency benefits)

New Mexico

Calculation MethodWeekly MinimumWeekly Maximum
Highest quarter earnings divided by 13. Then multiply result by .535 = weekly benefit amount

+ $25 each for up to two dependents

$86 / week$534 / week (including dependents)

$484 / week (no dependents)

Dependency allowance cannot exceed .5 of weekly benefit amount

New York

Calculation MethodWeekly MinimumWeekly Maximum
Weekly benefit amounts are calculated differently depending on earnings.

You can estimate your benefits with the calculator here: https://www.labor.ny.gov/benefit-rate-calculator/

$108 / week$504 / week

North Carolina

Calculation MethodWeekly Maximum
Total wages in last two quarters divided by 52 and round down to next whole dollar = weekly benefit amount$350 / week

North Dakota

Calculation MethodWeekly MinimumWeekly Maximum
Total of highest 2.5 quarters divided by 65 = approximate weekly benefit amount$43 / week$657 / week

Ohio

Calculation MethodWeekly MinimumWeekly Maximum
Average weekly wage during base period x .5 = weekly benefit amount$140 / week$498 / week (no dependents)

$604 / week (1-2 dependents)

$672 / week (3 or more dependents)

Oklahoma

Calculation MethodWeekly MinimumWeekly Maximum
Highest quarter earnings divided by 23 = weekly benefit amount$16 / week$539 / week

Oregon

Calculation MethodWeekly MinimumWeekly Maximum
1.25 percent of your total base year gross earnings = weekly benefit amount 

https://secure.emp.state.or.us/ocs/estimator/index.cfm

$171 / week$733 / week

Pennsylvania

Calculation MethodWeekly MinimumWeekly Maximum
The calculation is based on the earnings of your Highest Quarter.

https://www.uc.pa.gov/unemployment-benefits/Am-I-Eligible/financial-charts/Pages/default.aspx

$68 / week$583 / week (no spouse or children)

$5 / week for dependent spouse 

$3 / week for dependent child (without spouse the amount rises to $5 for first child plus $3 for second child)

Rhode Island

Calculation MethodWeekly MinimumWeekly Maximum
3.85% of avg. of 2 highest quarter wages in base period.$59 / week$661 / week (with no dependents)

$732 / week  (max. 5 dependents)

South Carolina

Calculation MethodWeekly MinimumWeekly Maximum
High quarter wages divided by 13 = weekly benefit amount$42 / week$326 / week

South Dakota

Calculation MethodWeekly MinimumWeekly Maximum
Wages paid in the highest quarter of your base period divided by 26 = weekly benefits amount$28 / week$466 / week

Tennessee

Calculation MethodWeekly Maximum
Compare the avg. wages from two highest quarters with the current Tennessee Unemployment Insurance Benefit chart to get weekly benefit amount$275 / week

Texas

Calculation MethodWeekly MinimumWeekly Maximum
Wages paid in the highest quarter of your base period divided by 25= weekly benefits amount

https://login.apps.twc.state.tx.us/UBS/changeLocale.do?language=en&country=US&page=/benefitsEstimator.do

$71 / week$549 / week

Utah

Calculation MethodWeekly MinimumWeekly Maximum
Compare amount of wages received during highest quarter to UT benefit schedule to get weekly benefit amount: https://jobs.utah.gov/ui/UIShared/PDFs/BenefitCalculation.pdf$402 / week$661 / week

Vermont

Calculation MethodWeekly Maximum
Wages paid in the two highest quarters divided by 45= weekly benefits amount$583 / week

Virginia

Calculation MethodWeekly MinimumWeekly Maximum
The Employment Commission will use the amount you earned during the two quarters of your base period with the highest earnings to determine your Weekly Benefit Amount.$60 / week$378 / week

Washington

Calculation MethodWeekly MinimumWeekly Maximum
https://esd.wa.gov/unemployment/calculate-your-benefit$201 / week$844 / week

West Virginia

Calculation MethodWeekly MinimumWeekly Maximum
55 percent of 1/52
of the median (mid-range) dollar amount of earnings in the base period
$24 / week$631 / week

Wisconsin

Calculation MethodWeekly MinimumWeekly Maximum
4% of wages in highest quarter = weekly benefit amount$54 / week$370 / week

Wyoming

Calculation MethodWeekly MinimumWeekly Maximum
4% of wages in highest quarter = weekly benefit amount$36 / week$508 / week

How to File Weekly or Biweekly Claims

mother and daughter computer filing biweekly claims

If you complete your initial application and are approved for unemployment insurance, you have to file a weekly or biweekly claim. Some states call this a benefits “certification” because you are proving that you still continue to meet the program’s initial eligibility requirements.

Completing claims on a regular basis will ensure that you are complying with your state’s work requirements and can continue to receive benefits.

Information You Will Need to File a Weekly or Biweekly Claim

Your weekly claim or certification form will ask you about your job search. You may need to provide proof that you have submitted an application to a minimum number of jobs per week.

In order to file your weekly or biweekly claim as accurately as possible, you will need the following information:

  • Your PIN
  • Wages you earned in the past week
  • Record of your work search in the past week

You may also be asked questions to determine whether you are:

  • Physically able to work.
  • Available for work.
  • Ready and willing to accept a new job as soon as possible.
  • Actively looking for a new job.

If your state has biweekly forms, you will need to provide separate information for each week. A biweekly form also indicates that your benefits will be distributed to you on a biweekly basis. 

Some states may require you to create an online resume on a state employment website. Employers will be able to view your resume and reach out to you about new positions.

What methods can I use to file?

Most states allow you to submit a weekly or biweekly claim online, by phone or by mail. These submission methods are usually the same as those of the initial application. 

To submit a claim online, log into your account on your state’s DOL website and follow the instructions for weekly or biweekly claims. If your state does not require you to create an account, simply follow the instructions for submitting another claim. 

To file a claim by phone, call the appropriate DOL phone number for your state. Keep in mind that this number may not be the same as the phone number for the application. You can find your state’s DOL contact information in the “Unemployment Insurance Office Directory” section.

To submit a claim by mail, download and print out the weekly or biweekly form from your state’s DOL website. Then, fill it out and send it to the correct address.

Remember that submissions by mail will take longer for your DOL office to receive and process. You must also pay for postage. 

What happens if your weekly claim proves you are not eligible for benefits?

Once your weekly or biweekly claim is reviewed, you may be found to be ineligible for continued benefits if you fail to meet any of the eligibility requirements discussed in the section called “Eligibility Requirements for UI Benefits” of this guide. 

If this is the case, your state DOL may request a phone interview with you. You will be notified of your ineligibility at this time.

The interview may also give you the opportunity to state your case and explain your current circumstances. If you are still found to be ineligible by the end of the interview and you disagree with the decision, you may file an appeal.

How to Certify for Continued Unemployment Payments by State

The process of continuing to receive unemployment benefits once you have already applied for the program is called “continued claims” or “certifying for benefits” because you must continue to show that you are still eligible for benefits. Depending on your state, you may have to certify for benefits weekly or once every two weeks. 

Learn how to file continued unemployment claims in your state by reviewing the information below. Have questions about how you can get assistance with your claim? Please refer to the state-specific contact information in the section called “How to Apply for Unemployment by State.” 

Alabama

How often to certify: Weekly

To certify online: https://continuedclaims.labor.alabama.gov/
To certify by phone: 1-866-234-5382 
(Monday to Friday, 8 am – 4:30 pm)

Alaska

How often to certify: Biweekly

To certify online: https://my.alaska.gov/
To certify by phone: 
– Anchorage: 907-277-0693
– Fairbanks: 907-451-6126
– Juneau: 907-586-4650
– Toll-free: 888-222-9989

(Residents at least 55 miles away from a nearby job center may file Wednesday to Saturday 6 a.m. – 7 p.m. Other filers may call Thursday 6 a.m. – 7 p.m.)

Arizona

How often to certify: Weekly

To certify online: 

https://azuiinternetweeklyclaim.azdes.gov/

(Sunday to Friday 12:01 a.m. – 6 p.m.)

Beneficiaries who do not have a computer may visit a local Work Job Center or DES Employment Service Office to use a computer. You can find a location here: https://arizonaatwork.com/locations

To certify by fax: 

Complete the Weekly Claim form (https://des.az.gov/sites/default/files/dl/UB-106-A.pdf?time=1589219632985) and submit it for processing to:

Phoenix: 602-364-1210 or 602-364-1211
Tucson: 520-770-3357 or 520-770-3358

To certify by mail: 

Complete the Weekly Claim form (https://des.az.gov/sites/default/files/dl/UB-106-A.pdf?time=1589219632985) and submit it for processing to: 

Arizona Department of Economic Security
Unemployment Insurance Benefits
MD 5895
PO Box 29225
Phoenix, AZ 85038-955

Arkansas

How often to certify: Weekly

To certify online: https://www.ezarc.adws.arkansas.gov/
(Monday to Sunday, 6 a.m. – 6 p.m.)
To certify in person: 
Fill out this form (https://www.dws.arkansas.gov/src/files/DWS-ARK-502RB.pdf) and submit it to your local Arkansas Workforce Center office. You can find your nearest office here (https://www.dws.arkansas.gov/contact/)
To certify by mail: 
Fill out this form (https://www.dws.arkansas.gov/src/files/DWS-ARK-502RB.pdf) and mail it to your local Arkansas Workforce Center office. You can find your nearest office here (https://www.dws.arkansas.gov/contact/)

California

How often to certify: Weekly

To certify online: 

https://edd.ca.gov/Unemployment/UI_Online.htm

(Sunday 5 a.m. – 8:30 p.m., Monday 4 a.m. – 10 p.m., Tuesday to Friday 2 a.m. – 10 p.m., Saturday 2 a.m. – 8 p.m.)

Colorado

How often to certify: Biweekly

To certify online: 

https://smartfile.coworkforce.com/Start

Connecticut

How often to certify: Weekly

To certify online: 

http://www.ctdol.state.ct.us/UI-Online/index.htm

Delaware

How often to certify: Weekly

To certify online: 

https://ui.delawareworks.com/

To certify by phone (Available 24/7):
  • Kent County, Sussex County and out of state: 800-794-3032
  • New Castle County: 302-761-6576
    (Available 24/7)

District of Columbia

How often to certify: Weekly

To certify online: 

https://www.dcnetworks.org/vosnet/Default.aspx

To certify by phone: 

• 202-724-7000 (Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.)

Florida

How often to certify: Biweekly

To certify online: 

https://connect.myflorida.com/Claimant/Core/Login.ASPX

Georgia

How often to certify: Weekly

To certify online: 

https://www.dol.state.ga.us/WS4-MW5/cics.jsp?TRANSID=BP14&FRMNAME=BP14A

To certify by phone:

Interactive Voice Response system:
• 1-866-598-4164

To certify in person: 

Visit a local Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL) career center and certify in person. You can find the office nearest you here: https://dol.georgia.gov/locations/career-center

Hawaii

How often to certify: Weekly

To certify online: 

http://huiclaims.hawaii.gov/#/login

Idaho

How often to certify: Weekly

To certify online: https://www2.labor.idaho.gov/ClaimantPortal/Login?ReturnUrl=%2fClaimantPortal
To certify in person: 
Visit a local Idaho Department of Labor office and apply in person. You can find the office nearest you here: https://www.labor.idaho.gov/dnn/Local-Office-Directory

Illinois

How often to certify: Weekly

To certify online: https://benefits.ides.illinois.gov/Benefits/profile/responseHandlerAction.do?TAM_OP=login&USERNAME=unauthenticated&ERROR_CODE=0x00000000&METHOD=GET&URL=%2FBenefits%2Fcertification%2FcertificationWelcomeStart.do&REFERER=https%3A%2F%2Fwww2.illinois.gov%2Fides%2FPages%2FCertify_Weekly_Benefits.aspx
To certify by phone: 
– 312-338-4337
– TTY: 800-526-0844 or 711
– Illinois Relay: 800-526-0857 or 711

(Monday to Friday 5 a.m. – 7:30 p.m.)

Indiana

How often to certify: Weekly

To certify online: 

https://uplink.in.gov/CSS/CSSLogon.htm

Iowa

How often to certify: Weekly

To certify online: 

https://uiclaims.iwd.iowa.gov/weeklyclaims/

Kansas

How often to certify: Weekly

To certify online: 

https://www.getkansasbenefits.gov/Home.aspx

(Sunday at 12 p.m. to Monday at 9 p.m., Tuesday to Friday from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Saturday 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.)

Please note that this website may take a few minutes to load.

Kentucky

How often to certify: Biweekly

To certify online: 

http://www.kewes.ky.gov

(Monday to Friday 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.)

To certify by phone: 

877-369-5984
(Monday to Friday 7:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m., English and Spanish available)

Louisiana

How often to certify: Weekly

To certify online: 

https://www.louisianaworks.net/hire/vosnet/loginintro.aspx?action=CLAIMWEEKS

Maine

How often to certify: Weekly

To certify online: 

https://reemployme.maine.gov/accessme/faces/login/login_local.xhtml

To certify by phone: 

1-800-593-7660
(Staff are available Monday to Friday 8 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.)

Maryland

How often to certify: Weekly

To certify online: https://beacon.labor.maryland.gov/beacon/claimant-page.html
To certify by phone: 
– Baltimore area or out of state: 410-949-0022
– Other areas: 1-800-827-4839
– Maryland Relay: 711

Massachusetts

How often to certify: Weekly

To certify online: 

https://uionline.detma.org/Claimant/Core/Login.ASPX

To certify by phone: 

617-626-6338
(Daily 6 a.m. – 10 p.m.)

Michigan

How often to certify: Biweekly

To certify online: 

https://miwam.unemployment.state.mi.us/ClmMiWAM/_/

To certify by phone: 

1-866-638-3993
(Monday to Saturday 8 a.m. – 7 p.m.)

Minnesota

How often to certify: Weekly

To certify online: https://www1.uimn.org/ui_applicant/applicant/login.do
(Sunday to Friday 6 a.m. – 8 p.m.)
To certify by phone: 
– Twin Cities: 651-296-3644
– The rest of Minnesota: 1-877-898-9090
– TTY: 1-866-814-1252
– Callers with disabilities: 651-259-7223

(Customer Service available Monday to Friday 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Automated System available Monday to Friday 6 a.m. – 6 p.m.)

Mississippi

How often to certify: Weekly

To certify online: 

https://accessms.mdes.ms.gov/accessms/faces/login/login.xhtml

To certify by phone (Daily 7 a.m. – 10 p.m.): 

• 601-855-3133
• Toll-free: 1-888-844-3577 or 1-888-772-0061
(Daily 7 a.m. – 10 p.m.)

Missouri

How often to certify: Weekly

To certify online: https://uinteract.labor.mo.gov/benefits/home.do
If you are self-employed and had no earnings, contact your regional claims center for assistance with your certification: 
– Jefferson City: 573-751-9040 
– Kansas City: 816-889-3101 
– St. Louis: 314-340-4950 
– Springfield: 417-895-6851 
– Other areas: 800-320-2519

(Monday to Friday 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.)

Montana

How often to certify: Weekly or Biweekly

To certify online: 

https://login.montanaworks.gov/sso/XUI/?realm=mw#login

Nebraska

How often to certify: Weekly

To certify online: 

https://neworks.nebraska.gov/vosnet/Default.aspx

Nevada

How often to certify: Weekly

To certify online: https://secure.ui.nv.gov/oaam_server/oamLoginPage.jsp?contextType=external&redirect_url=https%3A%2F%2Fsecure.ui.nv.gov%2FCSS%2F&username=string&BharosaAppId=Claimants&contextValue=%2Foam&password=sercure_string&challenge_url=https%3A%2F%2Fsecure.ui.nv.gov%3A443%2Foaam_server%2FoamLoginPage.jsp&request_id=8299319421549248047&authn_try_count=0&OAM_REQ=&locale=en_US&resource_url=http%253A%252F%252Fsecure.ui.nv.gov%252FCSS
To certify by phone:  
– Northern Nevada: 775-684-0350
– Southern Nevada: 702-486-0350
– Rural Nevada & out of state: 888-890-8211

(Staff assistance is available Monday to Wednesday 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.)

To certify by fax: 
– Northern Nevada: 775-684-0338
– Southern Nevada: 702-486-7987

New Hampshire

How often to certify: Weekly

To certify online: 

https://wfc.nhes.nh.gov/auth/sso/login?execution=e1s1

New Jersey

How often to certify: Weekly

To certify online: 

https://lwdlba.state.nj.us/CertQueueMini/employerVerifyForm.htm

To certify by phone:
  • Camden: 856-614-3801
  • East Orange: 973-680-3518
  • Elizabeth: 908-820-3969
  • Hackensack: 201-996-8021
  • Jersey City: 201-217-4602
  • Neptune: 732-775-5131
  • New Brunswick: 732-937-4525
  • Newark: 973-648-7601
  • Newton: 973-383-4432
  • Passaic: 973-458-6724
  • Paterson: 973-977-4307
  • Perth Amboy: 732-937-4525
  • Phillipsburg: 908-859-5467
  • Plainfield: 908-412-7779
  • Pleasantville: 609-441-7581
  • Randolph: 973-328-6490
  • Somerville: 908-704-3366
  • Thorofare: 856-853-4177
  • Toms River: 732-286-6460
  • Trenton: 609-292-6800
  • Vineland: 856-696-6591

New Mexico

How often to certify: Weekly

To certify online: 

https://sam.dws.state.nm.us/Core/Login.ASPX

To certify by phone: 

1-877-664-6984
(Monday to Friday 7 a.m. – 7 p.m.)

New York

How often to certify: Weekly

To certify online: https://applications.labor.ny.gov/IndividualReg/?TYPE=33554433&REALMOID=06-b0d30d94-a224-104a-b476-839b26b50cb3&GUID=&SMAUTHREASON=0&METHOD=GET&SMAGENTNAME=$SM$ThT5WVUR1XkGiy4UhP34jv09ppEYsY5V%2b%2bhuQYmYxeVseon5yi64QNm3b%2fN7fNeC&TARGET=$SM$HTTPS%3a%2f%2fapplications%2elabor%2eny%2egov%2fIndividual%2f
To certify by phone: 
– 1-888-581-5812
– Hearing-impaired: 1-888-783-1370
– TTY: 1-800-662-1220 (Ask the operator to transfer you to 1-888-783-1370.)

(Standard Business Hours: Monday to Friday 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.)

North Carolina

How often to certify: Weekly

To certify online: 

https://fed.des.nc.gov/ofis/citizen/pages/public/Login.aspx

To certify by phone: 

1-888-372-3453
(Monday to Friday 8 a.m. – 8 p.m., Saturday 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., and Sunday 12 p.m. – 5 p.m.)

North Dakota

How often to certify: Weekly

To certify online: 

https://apps.nd.gov/jsnd/uiiaclaims/login.htm

To certify by phone: 

701-328-4995
(Unavailable from 10 p.m. – 12 a.m. Staff available Monday to Friday 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.)

Ohio

How often to certify: Biweekly

To certify online: 

https://unemployment.cmt.ohio.gov/cmtview/loginc.jsp

To certify by phone:

• 1-877-644-6562
• TTY: 1-614-387-8408
(Monday to Friday 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.)

Oklahoma

How often to certify: Weekly

To certify online: 

https://unemployment.state.ok.us/W2.aspx

To certify by phone: 

Oklahoma City area: 405-525-1500
Outside of Oklahoma City: 800-555-1554

Oregon

How often to certify: Weekly

To certify online: https://www.oregon.gov/employ/unemployment/pages/default.aspx
To certify by phone: 
– Portland area: 503-224-0405
– Greater Salem area: 503-375-7900
– Eastern/Central Oregon/Bend: 541-388-4066
– Toll-free: 800-982-8920
– TTY Relay: 711

Pennsylvania

How often to certify: Biweekly

To certify online: https://benefits.uc.pa.gov/
To certify by phone: 
– 888-255-4728 (English)
– 877-888-8104 (Spanish)
– TTY: 888-334-4046
– Videophone: 717-704-8474

(Monday to Friday 6 a.m. – 9 p.m. and Sunday 6 a.m. – 11 p.m.
Videophone service available on Wednesday 12 p.m. – 4 p.m.)

To certify by mail: 
If you cannot file online or by phone, have difficulties communicating in English or Spanish, are disabled or are currently getting a Trade Readjustment Allowance, you may request weekly claims forms to be mailed to you. 

In order to certify by mail, you will need to complete the claims forms and submit them to the mailing address provided on the form. 

Rhode Island

How often to certify: Weekly

To certify online: 

https://uionline.dlt.ri.gov/

South Carolina

How often to certify: Weekly

To certify online: https://scuihub.dew.sc.gov/CSS/CSSLogon.htm
To certify at a service location: You may visit a local office to use a computer and certify for benefits. Find a local office here: https://www.scworks.org/about-us/statewide-centers

South Dakota

How often to certify: Weekly

To certify online: 

https://apps.sd.gov/LD00General/default.aspx?URL_GUID=https://apps.sd.gov/LD75uibpUIUserProfile/WebForm_UserProfile.aspx?tok=

To certify by phone:

605-626-3212
(Available 24/7)

Tennessee

How often to certify: Weekly

To certify online:

https://www.jobs4tn.gov/vosnet/loginintro.aspx?action=UI_CLAIMWEEKS

Texas

How often to certify: Biweekly

To certify online: 

https://login.apps.twc.state.tx.us/UBS/changeLocale.do?language=en&country=US&page=/security/logon.do

To certify by phone: 

800-558-8321
(Daily 7 a.m. – 6 p.m.)

Utah

How often to certify: Weekly

To certify online: 

https://id.utah.gov/login?goto=https:%2F%2Flogin.dts.utah.gov:443%2Fsso%2Foauth2%2Fauthorize%3Fresponse_type%3Dcode%26ForceAuth%3Dtrue%26client_id%3Dfrizzante-volumetric-710834%26scope%3Dopenid%2520email%2520App%253ADWSApps%26redirect_uri%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Fjobs.utah.gov%252Fsso%252FLogin.aspx

(Sunday to Saturday 2 a.m. – 11:45 p.m.)

Vermont

How often to certify: Weekly

To certify online: 

https://uipublic01.labor.vermont.gov/Claimantportal/portal/login.aspx

To certify by phone: 

1-800-983-2300
(Monday to Friday 5 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. and Sunday 24 hours)

To file claim forms by mail: 

You may also file claim forms by mail by downloading the applicable form here (https://labor.vermont.gov/unemployment-insurance/unemployment-information-unemployed/claimant-forms) and sending it to the following address: 

Vermont Department of Labor
ATTN: Mail Claims
PO Box 189
Montpelier, VT 05601-0189

Virginia

How often to certify: Weekly

To certify online: 
To certify by phone: 

1-800-897-5630

Washington

How often to certify: Weekly

To certify online: 

https://secure.esd.wa.gov/home/

To certify by phone: 

1-800-318-6022
(Sunday to Friday 12:01 a.m. – 4 p.m.)

West Virginia

How often to certify: Weekly

To certify online: 

https://uc.workforcewv.org/Consumer/Login.aspx?app=cc

To certify by phone: 

1-800-379-1032

Wisconsin

How often to certify: Weekly

To certify online: 

https://my.unemployment.wisconsin.gov/Claimant/Logon/TermsAndConditions

(Monday to Friday 24 hours, Saturday 1 a.m. – 3 p.m., and Sunday 9 a.m. – 12 a.m.)

Wyoming

How often to certify: Weekly

To certify online:

https://wyui.wyo.gov/benefits/home.do

To certify by phone: 

307-473-3789

To certify through the Wyoming Unemployment Insurance Division: 

You may contact the division by fax at 307-235-3277 or 307-473-3726.
You may also send mail to:
PO Box 2760, Casper, WY 82602-2760

How to File an Appeal If Disqualified

frustrated woman computer filing an appeal

Filing an appeal may be in your best interest if you strongly believe you are entitled to unemployment insurance. Each state has its own appeals procedure, which means it is important to follow the rules outlined by the DOL in your state. 

If you decide to take this course of action, you must file an appeal as quickly as possible. Many states have a deadline for appeals once you receive a denial decision in the mail. 

Depending on your state of residence, you may request an appeal form by phone or fax or download an appeal online from your UI state agency website to mail. The state may also send you an appeal form with your denial notice.

Some states may allow you to write a letter of appeal instead. In your letter of appeal, you may need to include:

  • Your full name.
  • The date of the denial notice determination.
  • Your SSN or the last four digits of your SSN.
  • The reason you disagree with the decision.
  • Your signature at the bottom.

If you have documents or proof that will support your case (correspondence from an employer illustrating unjust dismissal, differing wage statements), compile the paperwork to submit with your appeal application.

You may be able to find more information about appeals on your state’s DOL website, which you can find in the “Unemployment Insurance Office Directory” section of this guide.

Hearing Proceedings

Once your letter of appeal has been processed or if you request a hearing, you will be notified about hearing proceedings. In most states, you will be assigned a hearing date. You cannot move this date unless an officer at your state’s DOL agrees to do so.

Other information that will be listed in your hearing notice may include:

  • The location of the meeting or the phone number for the hearing, if your state conducts hearings by telephone. 
  • The issues that will be addressed during the proceedings.
  • The name of the officer or administrator assigned to the case. 

You are allowed to represent yourself at the hearing. However, you may choose to be represented by an attorney or another type of advocate approved by your state. 

If there are witnesses that have first-hand knowledge of facts about the case, you should bring them with you to the hearing. A witness can be anyone who has direct personal knowledge about the issues relating to your appeal. An example is someone who saw or heard a supervisor do or say something related to the issues on your appeal notice.

If your state conducts hearings by telephone, you will receive a notice that explains the date and time of the hearing. If you need special accommodations for a disability, you may request them by phone before the date of the hearing. 

Keep in mind that the hearing may be recorded. In addition, you may be put under oath before testifying. 

What happens after the hearing?

Once you have completed the hearing, you must wait to receive a decision. If you are approved for unemployment insurance after the hearing, you will receive instructions on collecting your benefits. 

If your request was denied, you may be able to take up the issue with the board of appeals in your state. The notice will indicate whether any further appeals rights are available to you. As with first-level appeals, you must take action as quickly as possible if you want to continue the process.

Receiving Your Benefits

If you are approved for benefits, you will be notified by your state DOL office about the next steps. For instance, you will receive instructions on selecting a payment method so that you can begin collecting benefits.

Methods of Payment

In each state, you are allowed to choose how you will receive UI payments. You may receive benefits in the form of:

  • Direct deposit.
  • A debit card.
  • Paper checks.

If you select direct deposit, your benefits will be electronically transferred to your bank account each week. 

If you select a debit card, your benefits will be loaded onto a card each week. Note that this card will not be connected to your bank. 

Keep in mind that most states no longer distribute benefits by paper check, because direct deposit and debit cards are more secure. 

How to Set Up a Debit Card

woman computer card set up debit card

If you would like to have your benefits loaded onto a prepaid debit card, you must indicate this preference on your application. If you applied online, you may also update your preference by logging into your UI account.

States partner with certain banks, such as Bank of America, to provide these debit cards. However, you will not need to have your own bank account to use one. 

Your debit card will be mailed to you after you have been approved for unemployment insurance. It will also come with activation instructions and information on using the card.

Generally, you must call a customer service number and follow the instructions to activate your card. If English is not your first language, select your preferred language at the beginning of the phone call. In some states, you may activate your card online. 

You will most likely be allowed to access your benefits at a variety of stores and at ATMs. You may use certain ATMs free of charge depending on the debit card provider. 

If you withdraw funds from an ATM that is out of network, a withdrawal fee will be deducted from your balance. For this reason, make sure that you follow the instructions that come with your debit card on using ATMs. 

If your debit card is lost, stolen or damaged, you may need to call the bank. Your old card will be canceled and a new card will be mailed to you. You may be charged a service fee if you request an expedited delivery.

How to Set Up Direct Deposit

You may choose direct deposit over a debit card if you want your benefits to be readily available in your bank account. However, your bank must participate in your state’s direct deposit program. 

You may select direct deposit online by logging onto your UI account or by calling the appropriate number provided by the DOL in your state. Each state will have instructions for updates submitted online or by phone. 

You will also need the following information:

  • The routing number for your U.S. bank or credit union
  • Your bank account number
  • Your account type, such as checking or savings

Your routing number and account number can be found on a personal check. If you cannot find this information, contact your bank or credit union.

After you have submitted this information, you will be notified when your account has been approved for direct deposit. 

Overpayment of Benefits

On rare occasions, you may receive an overpayment of benefits. An overpayment is defined as an additional benefit amount to which you are not entitled.

You will not incur penalties if an overpayment was not your fault. If this is the case, you do not necessarily have to give back the overpayment immediately. Instead, it will gradually be deducted from your future payments. 

However, the overpayment may be deducted in full from your account or your debit card if it was less than a certain amount. 

You may be at fault for receiving an overpayment if you withheld or misrepresented information on your application. In this case, you must repay the overpayment in full. 

You may also be required to pay interest on an at-fault overpayment, especially if you do not repay it by a certain deadline.

Job Search and Work Requirements for UI Benefits

If you are approved for Unemployment Insurance (UI), you must comply with the program requirements to continue receiving benefits. This typically includes a work requirement, which means you must show your state’s DOL that you are actively searching for a job. If you have a disability or other qualifying situation, you may be exempt from these requirements.See your state’s unemployment benefits website for their requirements.

You must also agree to provide the DOL in your state with accurate information concerning your earnings and other personal information. Giving false information is considered fraud and is punishable by law. 

If you fail to meet the minimum work requirements in your state, your future benefits may be denied or delayed. You may even incur penalties if these actions result in an overpayment to your account. 

States usually require you to submit proof that you have made contact with a certain number of employers each week. 

The Georgia Department of Labor, for example, states that you must contact a minimum of three new employers each week. Depending on your state, you may be able to contact employers in the following ways:

  • In person.
  • By phone.
  • Online.
  • By sending out your resume.
man computer notepad job search

Here are some guidelines for conducting and documenting your job search:

Register for your state’s work search program: Certain state UI departments require you to set up an active account with the state’s official work search program. This entails creating an account with your state’s public workforce agency and employing job search tools on a regular basis. Helpful components include access to recruitment assistance and job matching, depending on your work experience.

Create a log to document your job hunt: A job search log is a helpful way to keep track of your activities each day. Either download a template or create your own spreadsheet. Be sure to include dates, activities, contacts and results. Some departments of labor provide templates, but generally, you should document the following:

  • Date of contact
  • Name of the company or employer
  • Job reference number, if available
  • Name of the person you contacted
  • Company address, phone number, email or web link
  • Position title 
  • Method of contact
  • Results of contact

Some states also supply tips for creating a work search plan. Through your state’s public workforce office, you may also be connected with other resources that could help you style your resume, write cover letters and improve your job-search tactics. 

Unemployment Insurance Extended Benefits

Most states provide a maximum of 26 weeks of Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits. Currently, two states provide more than 26 weeks of benefits, which are listed below:

  • Massachusetts: up to 30 weeks of benefits
  • Montana: up to 28 weeks of benefits   

The following states currently provide less than 26 weeks of regular UI benefits:

  • Alabama: up to 14 weeks of benefits
  • Arkansas: up to 16 weeks of benefits
  • Florida: up to 12 weeks of benefits
  • Idaho: up to 21 weeks of benefits
  • Kansas: up to 16 weeks of benefits
  • Michigan: up to 20 weeks of benefits
  • Missouri:  up to 20 weeks of benefits
  • North Carolina: up to 12 weeks of benefits
  • South Carolina:  up to 20 weeks of benefits

Keep in mind that some states may adjust the maximum benefit allowance based on the rate of unemployment. The data provided above is current as of April 2022.

If you have exhausted your regular UI benefits and your state is currently experiencing a high rate of unemployment, you may qualify for extended benefits if your state makes it available. For example, some states authorize between 13 and 20 additional weeks of benefits.  

Keep in mind that you might still not qualify for extended benefits even if your state is in a period of high unemployment. Your state DOL determines the requirements for additional unemployment insurance on a case by case basis.

If you do qualify for extended benefits, your weekly payment amount typically remains the same. You are still required to file weekly or biweekly claims and actively search for a new job. 

How to File for an Extension

If your state unemployment offers extended benefits, it’ll likely send you a notice that you may qualify.

Visit your state’s Unemployment Insurance agency website to determine the exact requirements necessary to file the new paperwork for your UI extension. You may need to file an entirely new claim with repetitive information, depending on the process, and you may do so online or by mail.

Paying Taxes on Unemployment Insurance

Whether you receive benefits for only one week or for a maximum 26 weeks, your unemployment insurance is taxable. 

As a result, you are required by the IRS to count all unemployment compensation as income when you file your tax returns. 

You should receive a Form 1099-G either by mail or electronically for certain government payments. This form contains information about how much money you received in UI benefits and how much federal income tax was withheld, if any. 

You can choose to have your taxes automatically withheld from your benefit payments. To do so, you must fill out Form W-4V, which is a voluntary withholding request. 

You also have the option of collecting all your benefits without accounting for tax withholdings. However, you may be required to make estimated tax payments during the year.

Filing estimated taxes can be tricky. If you underpay, you may be charged interest by the IRS. If you overpay to be safe, you will be left with even less money in benefits. 

How to Apply for Trade Readjustment Allowances

If your unemployment benefits have been exhausted, you may be able to request a Trade Readjustment Allowance (TRA).

A TRA is defined as supplemental income for ex-workers whose jobs were lost due to the foreign import market. They are only available to you once your original unemployment insurance payments run their course. Trade Readjustment Allowances were developed by the Department of Labor as a group coverage option.

men working computer trade readjustment allowance

Benefits of Trade Readjustment Allowances

Additional benefits (in comparison to UI) are available to those who qualify to receive aid in the form of a Trade Readjustment Allowance. The Federal Trade Act provides benefits as part of the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program, which is meant for those who lost jobs or incurred hour reductions due to an employer’s loss of business or trade because of an increase in imports from another country. The benefits of the TAA program include:

The benefits of the TAA program include: 

Paid job training: If you file for a Trade Readjustment Allowance, this means that you were unable to find suitable work through your unemployment insurance period. Under the TAA program, you will receive paid job training to assist in the replacement of your employment, so you can find work faster and acquire new or necessary skills. 

Financial assistance for job search in a new state: If you would like to apply for jobs in a state other than the one you are currently residing in, the Trade Adjustment Assistance program will provide financial aid for you to do so. 

Relocation to a new state with better employment options: If you have done the research to determine another state of residence will better benefit your job search, TAA can help. Relocation to a new home state where there are more jobs and a lower rate of unemployment can help you locate work, and TAA will provide the financial aid to get you settled.

How to Apply

You can request a TRA application from your state’s labor department.  You can find contact information for each state’s DOL in the “Unemployment Insurance Office Directory” section of this guide.

Your application may ask for the following information:

  • Your personal contact information
  • Your Social Security Number
  • Your petition number
  • Company contact information
  • Dates of your work history
  • The reason for your job loss
  • Information regarding any benefits you received prior to applying for TRA
  • Training details (enrollment or interest)

Once you have finished your TRA application, submit it to your designated department online, by mail or via fax. As your basic TRA nears expiration, you may be able to request additional TRA assistance.

The Self-Employment Assistance Program

woman working self employment assistance program

If you qualify for unemployment compensation and would like to start your own business, there is another alternative that may be able to assist you.

The Self-Employment Assistance (SEA) program encourages those out of work to jumpstart new ventures by starting their very own small businesses. 

Through collecting and utilizing an SEA allowance instead of your regular UI benefits, you can work toward becoming self-employed and launching your own company.

According to the United States Department of Labor, only the following states currently offer unemployed residents SEA aid: 

  • Delaware
  • Mississippi
  • New Hampshire
  • New York
  • Oregon

Self-Employment Assistance Eligibility

If you are interested in applying for the SEA program in your state, you must meet the eligibility requirements first. To qualify for Self-Employment Assistance benefits, you must be: 

  • Able to receive UI benefits: Under state law, you must first meet the same eligibility requirements established by your state UI agency prior to applying for SEA. 
  • Receiving unemployment compensation: Your records and information must already be entered into your state’s UI system. This way, it is already confirmed that you lost your job involuntarily and that your wage history qualifies you for SEA. 
  • Likely to exhaust your current UI benefits: If you have been collecting unemployment benefits for quite some time, and it is likely that your term will run out prior to you finding a job, then you might consider SEA help. That way, you can build a new career with your cash assistance.

The Benefits of Self-Employment Assistance

With the aid of SEA, you can focus entirely on starting your new small business.

Unlike with Unemployment Insurance, when you enroll in your state’s Self-Employment Assistance program, you are allowed to take on other full-time work or part-time jobs and still collect your SEA benefits. You are encouraged to continue with any training program you are enrolled in, especially if it is related to the field you would like to enter with your new small business idea. 

The amount of benefits you receive from your state’s SEA program will match your UI payments. Your benefits will undergo a transfer process, and it is unlikely that you will be required to file additional information related to your UI case. 

Contact your local UI agency to discuss your options if your state offers an SEA program. You will receive the proper contact information, so that you can enroll in Self-Employment Assistance, instead of unemployment benefits.

The Disaster Unemployment Assistance Program

In the unfortunate event of a major disaster, there is a specific type of unemployment aid made available to residents directly affected. Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) originated in 1974 and gives authority to the acting president to dispense benefits to any workers who are out of a job due to a major disaster. 

Overseen by both the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the United States Department of Labor (DOL), the two parties work together to provide funding to each state’s Unemployment Insurance agency. It is then up to the states to provide benefit assistance to residents in need.

Some examples of disasters include, but are not limited to:

  • Drought
  • Earthquake
  • Fire
  • Flood
  • Hurricane
  • Landslide
  • Tornado
  • Volcano
  • Wildfires
  • Winter storm

Who is eligible for Disaster Unemployment Assistance?

If you are unable to work due to a disaster and do not qualify for regular unemployment insurance, you may consider applying for DUA benefits instead. Here are the eligibility guidelines you must meet:

  • The President has declared a major disaster in the area where you live, work or were scheduled to work.
  • You are unemployed or self-employed.
  • The disaster has made you unable to work for one of the following reasons:
    • You no longer have a job or a place to work.
    • You cannot get to your workplace.
    • Your workplace was damaged.
    • You cannot work due to an injury.

You may also qualify for DUA if you meet all of the following criteria:

  • The head of your household died due to the disaster.
  • You have become the head of household.
  • You are seeking work.

What are the terms of DUA?

If you qualify to receive DUA, there are certain rules and regulations in place that you must learn, including: 

  • You can only collect DUA for a designated time frame: Those who file a claim to receive DUA aid can only receive benefits for the weeks of unemployment designated as the Disaster Assistance Period (DAP). Starting the first day of the week after the disaster began, the DAP can span up to 26 weeks following the President’s declaration. 
  • The state will determine your benefit amount:The maximum total of benefits you can collect during a major disaster is decided by the state laws already in place to determine unemployment compensation.
    • The state’s maximum DUA benefit will be the same amount as the state’s maximum benefit for regular unemployment benefits. 
    • The minimum DUA benefit amount you can collect per week equals half the average benefit amount set forth by your state. 
  • Your state will declare if DUA is available: Check in with your state’s unemployment website to determine if Disaster Unemployment Assistance is officially being made available to residents in your state. Following a major disaster, the information regarding DUA benefits will be widely publicized. Find your state’s DOL office contact information in the section “Unemployment Insurance Office Directory.”

How to Request DUA Benefits

If the president has declared a major disaster and has made Disaster Unemployment Assistance readily available in your state, contact your local UI agency directly to file a claim for DUA benefits. You will be able to locate instructions on who to contact and how to apply online or by calling an agent. Find your state unemployment office contact information in the section “Unemployment Insurance Office Directory.”

If you were evacuated or had to relocate to another state due to the effects of the disaster, first speak with your home state’s UI agency for assistance. You can also speak with a representative at the Unemployment Insurance office of the state that you moved to.

What to Do When You Become Employed Again

If you have reached a point in your unemployment insurance period where you found new employment, you must take the steps to discontinue your benefits in a timely manner. The process to cancel your unemployment claim may differ, depending on the state from which you receive benefits. 

Some options to discontinue your UI benefits are as follows:

Discontinue filing your claims: In some states, you can simply stop filing your weekly claims. If an agent contacts you regarding this, you can confirm that you found a job and no longer need UI assistance.

Call your local UI agency: Speak with a representative regarding your case, and let him or her know that you are beginning/began new work and to please make a note to close your file.

File online: If your state utilizes an entirely online system for its Unemployment Insurance program, follow the instructions to cancel your UI benefits online. You can only collect DUA for a designated time frame: Those who file a claim to receive DUA aid can only receive benefits for the weeks of unemployment designated as the Disaster Assistance Period (DAP). Starting the first day of the week after the disaster began, the DAP can span up to 26 weeks following the President’s declaration. 
The state will determine your benefit amount:The maximum total of benefits you can collect during a major disaster is decided by the state laws already in place to determine unemployment compensation.
The state’s maximum DUA benefit will be the same amount as the state’s maximum benefit for regular unemployment benefits. 
The minimum DUA benefit amount you can collect per week equals half the average benefit amount set forth by your state. 
Your state will declare if DUA is available: Check in with your state’s unemployment website to determine if Disaster Unemployment Assistance is officially being made available to residents in your state. Following a major disaster, the information regarding DUA benefits will be widely publicized. Find your state’s DOL office contact information in the section “Unemployment Insurance Office Directory.”

Consequences of Collecting Benefits Following Employment

If you continue to collect unemployment benefits once you are hired for full-time work or do not report your wages and hours worked if you are hired for part-time work, then you are likely committing unemployment benefits fraud. 

You are subject to being charged with fraud if you resume your unemployment compensation and do not report the following types of work activities, which result in a form of income:

  • Part-time work
  • Temporary work
  • Contracted labor
  • Side jobs and/or casual work
  • Commission-only jobs
  • Profits from self-employment

Even if your state allows you to continue collecting benefits if you have not found full-time work, you must still report the involvement in any of the above. 

In addition, if you receive an unemployment benefits check after you canceled your case, be sure to return the payment to your local UI office so you are not penalized. It is important to understand the seriousness of your actions if you choose to collect your UI without accounting for additional employment. You will not only be disqualified from your state’s Unemployment Insurance program, resulting in the loss of any remaining benefits on your claim, but you may also face:

  • Fines and fees.
  • Criminal prosecution (by state and/or federal authorities).
  • Jail or prison sentences.
  • Ineligibility for future unemployment benefits.
  • Loss of income tax refunds.
  • Garnished wages.

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