5 Tips For Receiving Unemployment Benefits

Unemployment benefits are a big help to those out of work. What should you do to receive benefits if you've lost your job?

If you have lost your job, you may be eligible for unemployment benefits. There are conditions, however, that you must meet in order to be eligible. Most jobs are covered, and employers pay into a fund that provides money for the unemployment payments. These payments can be transferred between states; for instance, if you lived in one state and took a job in another state for a time and then lost your job, you can go back to your home state and collect unemployment benefits from the state in which you worked, or from your home state. Since payments vary from state to state, choosing the state that pays the best rate would be a good idea. To collect unemployment benefits, you must follow all the requirements of the state in which you file and keep following the rules as long as you are collecting payments. Here are 5 tips for receiving unemployment benefits.

1. You must have worked for a certain period of time in a covered job in order to collect benefits. The employer for which you worked must have been paying into the unemployment fund. You have to have worked long enough to meet the requirements of the state in which you're filing your claim. For instance, you can't work for a week in a new job and then file for benefits if that's the only job at which you've worked for the whole year. Most states use a rather complicated formula involving "base period wages" and "calendar quarters;" fortunately, you don't have to calculate whether you're eligible since that's all researched for you after you sign up for benefits.

2. The circumstances of your losing your job must fit the requirements of the state in which you're filing. If you quit voluntarily, you won't be eligible for benefits unless your grounds for quitting are due to one of the covered reasons. For instance, in Texas, if you quit due to "unsafe working conditions" or "not receiving payment for your work," these circumstances are covered and you should be eligible for benefits. Your employer will be contacted about your claim so it's important to be truthful about the reason you no longer have the job.

3. You must register for benefits. Each state has offices in which you can register, but it's easiest in most to call a toll-free number to register, or even go online to sign up. If you apply and are denied benefits, you can file an appeal if you think there has been a mistake. In some states you must continue to file your claim every couple of weeks while appealing, so make sure you read the directions in the booklet you receive when you register and follow them.

4. If your claim is accepted for benefits, you will probably have to call in every couple of weeks on a certain day. You will be given a toll-free or local number to call and a "personal identification number," and you will have to answer questions relating to your present work situation. You may be required to register with the state job commission and to keep a log of your search for jobs. If you are not really looking for work and refuse jobs when offered to you, you may lose your benefits, so it's important to keep good records of your job search.

5. If you do find another job, make sure you don't continue calling in claims. All states have penalties for that; it's a crime and you'll have to repay the money. You may also be disqualified from future benefits, and you could even go to jail. Even if you just get a part-time job, it must be reported to the unemployment commission; you may be able to continue receiving reduced benefits if you can only find a part-time job.

Unemployment benefits are a big help to those out of work. The requirements vary from state to state, and you can usually call a toll-free or local number found in the phone directory for information on how to file a claim, requirements, and general information on the whole process. If you have to file a claim, being honest and following all the rules are very important steps to keep your application free from problems

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