1. Careers
Send to a Friend via Email
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

How to Get Unemployment Benefits


How to get unemployment, including how to apply for unemployment benefits, eligibility for unemployment, and where to get answers to unemployment questions.
Difficulty: Average
Time Required: Varies

Here's How:

  1. Determine if you are eligible for unemployment. Eligibility requirements for collecting unemployment compensation vary from state to state. So, check eligibility with your wtate unemployment office if you are not sure whether you qualify.
  2. File for unemployment. You may be able to file for unemployment online or over the phone. Review the information you will need to open a claim.
  3. File your weekly claim. Once your claim is approved you should be able to file weekly online.
  4. Get your unemployment checks. It generally takes a few weeks after your claim to receive your first benefit check. Some States, like New York, require a one-week waiting period; therefore, the second week claimed is the first week of payment.
  5. Check on extended unemployment benefits. Extended Unemployment Benefits are available to workers who have exhausted regular unemployment insurance benefits during periods of high unemployment. If you run out of regular benefits, check with your unemployment office to see if you qualify for an extension.

What You Need

  • Mailing address, including zip code and phone number.
  • Social Security and Drivers License numbers.
  • Name, address, and phone number of your last employer.
  • Employer's Federal ID Number (from your W2 form or pay stub).
  • Date started and date ended employment.
  • How much you earned.
  • Previous employer information for the past two years.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.