How to Apply for Unemployment
Are you ready to apply for unemployment? If so, know the facts. First, employment is a
state benefit, not federal, and therefore the qualifications and benefits vary widely from
state to state. In many states (but not all) you can file over the internet, however,
before you do, be sure you are filing correctly or you may receive a denial of claims.
First, you will likely need the following when you apply for unemployment:
• Dates you started and ended employment for the last two years
• Income earned. Note in many states certain professions are not
eligible, i.e. outside real estate agents for example.
• Exact name and address and phone of your previous employer
• Federal Employer ID number (aka "EIN") as found on your paystub or W-2
• Mailing address, phone number
• Social Security number and Driver's License number (assuming you have one)
• Mother's maiden name for security access
• If military,
your separation date.
Whether you are eligible depends on several factors. Generally, unemployment is awarded
to those who became unemployed through no fault of their own, however, there are many
exceptions. If you were fired or quit, you may still be eligible for unemployment
benefits, depending on the nature of your dismissal. Such reasons for coverage in event of
being fired, include missing work to prevent domestic abuse of minors, or loss of
transportation when no suitable alternative exists (e.g. the bus), etc.
The maximum award is factored on your previous income. Generally, this can be up to
about $16,000 as of 2008. To qualify, you must have worked (meaning cannot have been a
student, or retired or otherwise not working). You must be physically and mentally able to
work. If you have doctor's orders that you cannot work, do not apply for unemployment but
instead look into social security or other agency assistance.
Once you apply for unemployment, it typically takes 2-3 weeks to receive your first
check, assuming you are awarded unemployment benefits.
We have a collection of secrets, strategies, and common mistakes you can avoid to help
you get maximum unemployment benefits when you apply for unemployment. First, review your
separation package. You could be owed money from a severance package. In addition, many
larger employers have "outplacement", in which they'll actively help you find new
employment as a means to save them some money paying unemployment. Your severance package
will also usually cover extension of key services your previous employer may have
provided, such as health insurance, and how to roll over a 401k, 403b or other corporate
One other crucial common mistake people make is letting the emotions of their severance
block making the correct and best moves for the moment. One of the single most important
moves to do as you apply for unemployment is to maintain social contact with your previous
co-workers, as they can help you find a new position and provide a work reference. We
recommend not withdrawing from these contacts out of anger or shame, but instead, actively
work to keep key relationships alive and working to help you find new placement.
If you've found these tips helpful, be sure to check out the full nine-step unemployment system at
Unemployment Benefits Assistance Program Guide & Resouces
(Not a Government Agency) It includes tips, tricks, and avoidable mistakes to help you apply
for unemployment and get maximum award amounts, but also free info on unemployment grants,
and a member's-only nine-step system to raise cash, secrets to finding and interviewing and
negotiating an even higher salary than before, and much more.