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If you think you are about to be laid off, or if you have already lost your job, unemployment insurance can help you stay on your feet while you search for new work. There is no reason not to benefit from unemployment insurance when you are unemployed through no fault of your own. During times of tough economic circumstances, many businesses have to cut back expenses through layoffs or go under. Unemployment insurance is a joint federal-state program funded by federal and state employer payroll taxes. While the federal government sets broad guidelines for unemployment insurance coverage and eligibility, each individual state varies in how they determine benefits and eligibility. For example, California unemployment insurance may have different lengths of time in which benefits are available compared to Wisconsin unemployment insurance. It is important to know how to navigate through the labyrinthine program of unemployment insurance to ensure that you keep your home and can put food on the table while finding a new job.
Here are a few important key points you should know about unemployment insurance benefits:
When to Apply for Unemployment Insurance
In most cases, the time to apply for unemployment insurance is right after being laid off from your job. Even if you get severance pay from your company, severance pay is usually not considered wages. One exception to the rule is in a situation where your company continues paying regular wages even though you don’t have to show up to work before starting the severance pay. In this rare but possible situation, it is advised that you wait to file for unemployment after until the regular wages stop.
How to Apply for Unemployment Insurance
While you can apply on the phone, the majority of people apply online because the phone lines are constantly tied up. You may be waiting for hours to get connected to the state offices that manage unemployment insurance. Even if you lack a computer or an Internet connection, there are free computers available for use at no charge at libraries and local job centers through every state.
The Work Requirement
Whether you are receiving Kentucky unemployment insurance or Minnesota unemployment insurance, it is not designed to be a free ride. While receiving unemployment insurance benefits you are required to be actively hunting for a new job. Every two weeks recipients of unemployment insurance must fill out a form asking them whether they have looked for work, accepted a job, or earned any wages. States administering unemployment insurance do this to ensure you are not lounging by the pool.
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