Where to Apply for Unemployment
Tips for Finding Your State Unemployment Office and Applying for Benefits
One of the very first pieces of information you need when you’re suddenly laid off is: Where and how do you contact your state unemployment office?
Every state has its own unemployment system, offices, and specific rules and procedures for applying and qualifying for unemployment compensation.
Tip: some states’ unemployment offices go by other names. For example, Alabama’s unemployment office is part of the Alabama Department of Industrial Relations. Just be aware.
Find Out If You Are Eligible For Unemployment
Click this link to find out if you are eligible to file for unemployment:
State Application Requirements for Your Unemployment Claim
The Unemployment Compensation program is a joint program funded both by the states and by the federal government. However, you apply for unemployment and receive benefits directly from the state and in accordance with its specific eligibility rules.
State unemployment offices procedures can vary based on the following:
- Qualifications for unemployment compensation
- Procedures for filing for unemployment claims
- Ways in which you can file, ie. via telephone, online, or in person
- Amount of unemployment benefits to which you are eligible
- Length of time you can collect unemployment benefits
- Unemployment extensions
- Job and workforce requirements and expectations
In other words, the procedures and application process for filing for unemployment in Alabama may differ from those in New York. Precisely why you must contact your state unemployment office directly for specific filing details.
Where to Apply for Unemployment
The days of “standing in the unemployment line” are pretty much over. Most states invite you to file for unemployment benefits in one of two ways:
- File an unemployment claim with an online application available directly through your state unemployment office website. Beware unemployment scams.
- Call your state unemployment telephone claims center. Most have very specific hours, usually Monday through Friday, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. You can find phone numbers for these online directly through your state unemployment website or in the government pages of your phone book.
If you are filing during a peak unemployment period—there are a lot of people out of work– expect system bottlenecks: telephone lines may be backed up and online applications may take a bit longer to process.
Best advice for filing unemployment:
As soon as you have been laid off from work—even the next day–call your state telephone claims office or apply for unemployment online. Don’t delay. Why can’t you just kick back and relax or de-stress for a week before you wrestle with the unemployment office? Your benefits can suffer if you procrastinate in the filing process. AND you’ll really delay your first payment. Remember, in most states you have one full week of zero unemployment compensation—unofficially called the “waiting period.” Waste more time and you’ll be without any income for weeks.
- Locate information for contacting your state unemployment office
- Gather together the information you need to file a claim
- Call or apply online ASAP.
THEN you can relax a bit and plan your next strategy for confidently getting back on your feet.