7 things to know & have when filing for unemployment

If you've lost your job or anticipate a layoff soon, you're not alone.

If you've never had to file for unemployment benefit or if it's been a while, here's some help.

Don't assume you can't get these benefits. Guidelines are changing as COVID19 impacts us all.

During the 2008 economic downturn my employer had massive layoffs. I filed for unemployment benefits from Virginia (where my company was headquartered) while living in Colorado. I expected a bureaucratic nightmare and experienced none. Good news: most states execute this well!

What you need to get started is here...

Don't be surprised if you find yourself marveling at not only at how easy it is but how nice and helpful people are from start to finish. I did.

Start here: check your state's website to get the guidelines for your state.

These vary from state to state and are changing in the face of this pandemic.

Here's a sample.

  1. You must be unemployed through no fault of your own

  2. Physically able and available to work

  3. Actively looking for work (this might change during the pandemic, and ready to accept work immediately. 

You can find your state here.

Doesn't fit your situation? Don't give up

You might be eligible for disability or sick leave.

NEXT: What do you need to apply?

  1. Your employment history (including the last day you worked, the reason you aren’t working anymore and your gross earnings)

  2. Driver’s license or Social Security

  3. A recent pay stub, will probably contain all the information you’ll need about your employer - such as the name of the company and other data they may want you to provide.

  4. Your W-2

It's not uncommon to be asked about your recent employment history for the last 2 years. For starters have:

  1. Start and end dates of employment

  2. Your salary or wages earned

For more information on how much you might be eligible to receive, see your state's site.

Many states offer a calculator like this one for New York .

You've applied. Now what?

You’ll get information about the claim and the program after you file.

Expect to see:

How long you can get benefits

you may receive information about Federal Extension like the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

Check your state's site and get the specific details.

Have you done this before? Have a comment or helpful suggestion? Share it in the comments below.

10 more resources it will help you to have right now

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Have information, resources or lessons learned from your experience? Please share them in the comments below and feel free to message or tag me here or on LinkedIn ​


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