How to File for Unemployment Online
In the current conditions, it’s no wonder people are looking to file for unemployment online. Not only is it the fastest option, but it’s also the best option when it comes to your health and safety.
Although some things may vary from state to state, the principle is more or less the same. In this article, we’ll explain what documents you need and where you can file for unemployment benefits online.
Who Can Apply for Unemployment Insurance?
It’s a common misconception that unemployment benefits are reserved only for people who’ve been laid off. In fact, if your hours have been severely reduced, through no fault of your own, you can apply as well. There are many people who’re technically still employed who aren’t working because their workplace is temporarily closed.
This is especially true of the hospitality industry. Many restaurants and hotels were forced to close due to precautionary measures. Most of the workers have been furloughed and sent home until the situation changes.
However, in order to qualify for unemployment benefits, you have to meet certain wage standards during a so-called “base period”. This period isn’t the same in every state, but it’s usually around 12 months before you claim unemployment insurance. Most states accept the claims of people who were working part-time as well.
Documents You Need
Before you start filling your application, make sure that you have all the information that you might need. This is a list of documents and information that most states require:
- Your social security number.
- Information about all your employers for the past 18 months.
- Federal Employer Identification Number of your last employer.
- DD 214 form, for those who’ve served in the military.
- Your wage and the method of payment.
- The reason why you were laid off / had to stop working.
Information about your employers includes company name, address, phone number, as well as the name and contact details of your supervisor, who can confirm that you really worked there.
However, you should visit your state’s unemployment website to check whether they require any additional documentation. Some states became more lenient due to the situation, while others had to introduce measures in order to avoid potential misuse.
How to Fill Out the Application
There’s no universal application form, if they all look similar. You should apply on the website of the state where you were working before losing your job. If you’ve moved to another state in the meantime, the application process could be slightly more complicated.
We suggest that you reach out to the state unemployment insurance agency and explain your situation. They’ll know the fastest way to get you unemployment benefits. This also applies to people who’ve been working in various states over a period of 18 months. The unemployment agency can explain to you how to file claims with different states.
Once you open the application form on the official website, you’ll have to complete the fields with your and your employer’s details, as listed above. Make sure that you’ve entered all the information correctly.
From the moment you press Submit, you may have to wait up to one week until you receive the confirmation of your request. Some states are working on reducing this period and processing unemployment benefits as soon as you’re out of work.
How Long Do I Have to Wait?
If you meet all the requirements, it typically takes about two or three weeks before you receive your first unemployment check. The waiting time varies in different states. For example, California’s trying to reduce that time and make it possible for you to receive your first check as soon as you’re laid off.
That’s why we highly recommend that you don’t wait and immediately visit your state’s unemployment insurance website. The sooner you apply, the sooner you’ll receive your benefits. You should apply even if you’re not sure that you meet all the requirements as some states became more flexible due to the current situation.
New Options Introduced
As outlined above, you don’t have to be officially unemployed in order to receive benefits. Especially in situations like this, when a lot of people won’t receive their regular paychecks due to exceptional circumstances. Federal law allows you to qualify for unemployment benefits in the following scenarios:
- You have to be in quarantine for now but you’ll be returning to your job in a couple of weeks.
- You can’t come to work because you have to care for a family member who’s ill.
- Your employer had to temporarily close its premises due to the outbreak and you can’t work.
However, that’s only a Federal recommendation and it’s up to each state to decide how it’s going to help people in an emergency. For further information, you should check your state’s website. Some states announced additional help for people in most need, whether employed or not.
We hope that the process of filing for unemployment is clearer to you now. All you have to do is gather the relevant information and documents and visit your state’s unemployment website. Hopefully, you’ll be able to start receiving unemployment benefits very soon.
Have you heard of other facilities for people who had to stop working due to the outbreak? Please feel free to share them in the comments section below.