Tips for Filing for Unemployment Benefits

As COVID-19 continues to impact society, many people are struggling to make ends meet financially. In response to this, the government has made unemployment more accessible for Americans in need of assistance.

Many people are taking advantage of this, with more than 30 million unemployment applicants within six weeks of the beginning of coronavirus. As you may imagine, this large volume of applications is overwhelming for unemployment offices and resulting in slow responses. 

With this in mind, you want to minimize your chance of being rejected the first time to avoid needing to repeat the application process. This will ensure that you get your money as quickly as possible. 

We’ll help you do this with a few useful tips below to keep in mind when filing for unemployment benefits.

Understand Eligibility

First, you’ll need to fully understand the eligibility requirements of applying for unemployment.

The exact criteria varies depending on your state, but the same areas are usually covered. In particular, this includes working a minimum of hours for the year, the nature of you losing your job, and whether you’ve been affected by COVID-19.

For minimum hours worked, the threshold is around 680 hours, which is 17 weeks of working full-time or 34 weeks of working 20-hour weeks. This is necessary to determine that you did indeed earn a significant amount of income during the year. 

When it comes to how you lost your job, you can usually receive benefits unless you were fired for good reason. It’s a little trickier if you quit your job, but you may still be eligible if you had to quit for a valid reason.

The final part of this is being directly affected by coronavirus, which does make you eligible for benefits. Generally speaking, if you are either infected with the virus, caring for someone who is, or out of work because of COVID-19, then you can receive unemployment benefits.

As you can see, there are many things to evaluate when determining your eligibility. Look at your state’s specific requirements to see how you fare.

Learn Local Guidelines

You should also learn the local guidelines on how to apply for unemployment.

In addition to state-specific requirements for eligibility, each state also varies in how you should apply. Knowing this information is critical for ensuring you submit your application in the most effective way possible, giving you the greatest odds of being quickly accepted. 

The two most significant factors to consider include what format you apply in (digital or phone) and when you apply (time of day and day of the week).

The choice that is best for you will depend on how your state operates. Applying online on Monday morning might be great for one location, but doing it via phone on a Friday afternoon may work better for another.

Figure out what the best course is for your location and stick to it if you want a swift answer.  

Collect Necessary Documentation

Collecting all necessary documentation beforehand is another smart idea that will simplify the application process.

Collecting unemployment benefits is a major governmental process, so several official steps must be completed first. A big part of this includes documentation.

To receive unemployment benefits, you must provide several pieces of information. This includes your bank account number (for receiving electronic deposits), social security number, phone number, date of birth, and your address.

Furthermore, you’ll need employment details about why you aren’t working, when you last worked, your previous employer’s name, phone number, and address, and similar details for any other employers within the last 18 months.

This is all information you may not have handy, so you’ll want to prepare it so that no issues pop up while applying. 

Have Patience

Finally, you should remember to have patience as you wait for your application to be processed.

With millions of other people applying for unemployment right now, there are simply too many applications to work through. You can’t expedite the process beyond applying properly and thoroughly, so all you can do is wait. 

Waiting for something like unemployment benefits during a financial crisis may seem impossible, but stressing yourself out while waiting for an answer will only make matters worse. Remember that your application will get seen eventually.

Take this uncertain time to focus on your mental health and keeping a calm mind. The coronavirus pandemic is shocking and it’s normal to feel off. Prioritizing mental health is crucial for keeping you strong throughout COVID-19. 

Closing Thoughts

If you’re like one of the millions of other Americans impacted by coronavirus, your finances are suffering from a lack of work. Fortunately, you can seek unemployment benefits to help make up for lost income. 

As many people are currently applying for unemployment, you need to ensure that you apply correctly to avoid any delays. 

A few tips to help you do this include understanding the eligibility requirements, learning your local guidelines, collecting all necessary documentation, and remembering to have patience as the process unfolds.

The benefits of unemployment are certainly great, so they’re worth waiting for. Be thorough as you apply to start appreciating the peace of mind earned from unemployment income sooner! 


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Written by Virily Editor

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