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Applying For Unemployment Benefits After Losing a Job

After getting laid off, you may feel depressed and overwhelmed. It's a natural reaction. Many people feel like they've lost a part of their identity when they lose a job. That, and an unwelcoming job market, can make job loss traumatic. The next logical step is to apply for unemployment benefits, also known as UI benefits. But, you must join other claimants and act quickly to ensure you get the most out of your unemployment insurance benefits.

Here, you will find key information about eligibility requirements and how to file an initial claim for unemployment compensation.

For more answers to other FAQs about unemployment assistance, see FindLaw's Unemployment Benefits: Guide After Losing a Job.

Applying for Unemployment Benefits

Each state has its own unemployment insurance program. First, you must fill out a form to ask for help from your state's labor agency. This form will ask for your contact information, details about your last job, and why you are not working there anymore. After that, someone from the labor agency will check this information with your former employer. They might want proof like recent pay stubs or your Social Security number.

Getting approval for your request is essential to start getting unemployment money. It doesn't matter when you lost your job or how much you've looked for a new one. The first step is having a good cause for leaving your job, which is crucial to getting unemployment benefits. In some states, the first week of your unemployment period is a waiting week. You may not get benefits during this time but must still request payment to continue the process.

How Benefits Get Calculated

Typically, the weekly benefit amount gets calculated as a fraction of your average weekly earnings over the previous two financial quarters. This calculation gives a fair representation of your recent income. Benefit payments are subject to a cap to prevent overpayment. Each state determines this limit, occasionally considering an alternate base period. You should understand these calculations as they directly influence the financial support you can expect during your period of unemployment.

Receiving Unemployment Benefits

Once your state's department of labor or a relevant agency, such as the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC), verifies your claim for unemployment insurance, you'll start getting unemployment benefits. You'll get these payments through direct deposit into your bank account or onto your debit card throughout the calendar quarters. Continuation of benefits each week is contingent on filing a weekly claim. You must confirm your ongoing unemployment status and active job search in your weekly claim.

By default, most workers are eligible for 26 weeks of benefits. But, the federal government may create extensions during economic hardships. While getting benefits, you can work part-time. But some states may offset extra income, like part-time wages, against your unemployment benefits. Understanding these nuances is essential to navigating the unemployment benefits process.

Unemployment Benefits During a Pandemic

There is no special unemployment benefit provision that applies during a pandemic. Federal law and state governments may enact their own rules and guidance as they see fit. For instance, the federal government allowed states to expand eligibility for unemployment benefits amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Employees who go through a temporary layoff can file for benefits. The same holds for people under quarantine but expect to return to work later.

Unemployment Benefits: More Resources

Questions About Unemployment Benefits? A Labor Attorney Can Help

Getting denied unemployment benefits can cause you and your family severe financial stress. If you're filing an unemployment claim and want additional information or have applied and been denied, contact a local employment attorney for help.

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