If you have a need for instant gratification, by all means file unemployment online now, but if you feel you get better result when you understand what to expect…read on.
This is a general overview of the process of applying for unemployment online or by any other method allowed by your state. It is the same in most states, although some states do it better, much better in fact, than others.
I will assume you have prepared.
When you file unemployment online, you provide the state with information about yourself and all employment you have had in the last eighteen months (more, if you live in a state that has extended base periods.)
It would be a good idea to have all the addresses and phone numbers of your employer(s) handy, along with the name of the person that fired you, or you resigned to.
Most states have a detailed questionnaire which is designed to get your side of the story regarding the “separation” from the work.
You will also notice the state is very interested in “the final incident” that led to the separation.
It is EXTREMELY important that you are truthful with the state. You do not want to destroy the inherent credibility you are given, nor do you want to deal with the consequences of a “willful misrepresentation of material facts”, aka unemployment fraud. In other words, do not tell them you were laid off, when in fact you were fired or quit, because the state’s next step is to ask your employer why you’re no longer employed.
Be as thorough in your answers as you can with the space allowed, remembering at all times, that to get unemployment, you must have lost your job through no fault of your own. The most beneficial thing when you file unemployment online is you don’t need to rush. There’s plenty of time to give every answer some thought.
The state determines if you are monetarily eligible for unemployment.
If the state finds the wages earned during your base period are insufficient to garner your states minimum weekly benefit and you disagree, you have the right to appeal. It is not uncommon for a state or an employer to make mistakes.
If you do find you need to appeal at this stage make sure the appeal is made within the time frame given by the state. From here on out, everything has a deadline for a response, and every word of anything you receive from the state should be read thoroughly.
Once you apply for unemployment, you must continue to file a weekly claim as per your state’s requirements. This can be done online in some states or by phone. If you forget…they won’t give you an unemployment check for that week, or weeks, if done bi-weekly. Of course they will issue a determination to this effect and…..it may also be appealed.
Filing a weekly claim for unemployment benefits is the states way to make sure you are looking for work, available for work, didn’t turn down suitable work, and reducing the amount of benefits to the partial unemployment benefits you will be paid if you have earned wages.
If you need to know how much money you can make before your WBA (weekly benefit amount) is reduced, click on monetary entitlement.
Your boss is notified you have filed and what you relay when you file for unemployment online becomes part of the “Record”
The state needs to get your employers version of why you are no longer employed, after all, it is employers who pay for unemployment.
Sidenote: What follows is how this part of the process should ideally work.
When your employer or the employer’s unemployment vendor receives the notice that your claim has been filed, he may be asked to provide to the state the amount of wages paid. Some states needs to make sure the employing unit correctly reported your wages.
The employer will also report the reason for the separation ie, you quit or he fired you, and send along with this any documentation he thinks will prove and support a denial of unemployment benefits, like a resignation letter, written warnings, policy, signed acknowledgment of receipt of policy, etc.
All the information you provide when you apply for unemployment online becomes part of the record as will what your boss said. The information will be examined and weighed by the person assigned to adjudicate your claim. This person often has questions for you and your employer when the stories conflict with each other.
This is usually handled by phone calls made to the person preparing the employer’s response and to you. They of course will give a deadline to respond to their questions and requests for documentation or else they will make their determination with the “available information”.
The unemployment determination is made.
The initial determination is final only if nobody appeals.
The state does make mistakes. They make them often enough that the DOL has reports addressing mistakes and who made them, be it, the state, employer, you, or any combination of these three parties.
If you are denied unemployment benefits and you have done your homework you will be in a better position to detect an error in the adjudicator’s reasoning and in turn write a sharply focused appeal letter. In many states you many not only file unemployment online, but your unemployment appeal as well.
Or, if you are awarded benefits, you will be ready if the employer decides to contest your unemployment. If they use an unemployment vendor…it’s almost guaranteed.
Click here to file unemployment online
How to File for Unemployment