What Your State Unemployment Office Can Do For You
If you’re filing for unemployment you need to know that your state unemployment office, often an agency in your state department of labor, provides you with a variety of unemployment related services that are designed to help you get back on your feet and rejoin the labor force as quickly as possible.
Unemployment Claims Filing
Check your state’s unemployment website – here’s an easy-to-use list of them – for specific instructions on filing your benefits claim. Most states now invite you to file your unemployment compensation claim using an online application or over the phone through a telephone claims line. Remember, if you are filing over the phone and your state is one with high unemployment, be prepared to sit on hold—wait times are lengthy.
File for unemployment:
- Online filing
- Telephone filing
Find Out If You Are Eligible For Unemployment
Click this link to find out if you are eligible to file for unemployment:
Have Your Benefits Run Out?
Click this link to find out how to get an unemployment extension:
Telephone Unemployment Inquiry Line
Use your state’s inquiry line to ask any unemployment related questions. Don’t call the claims line to ask a question—wait times are too long and those lines are primarily for individuals ready with their unemployment information so they can get their benefits claim filed ASAP.
And before you call make sure you explore the information available on your state unemployment insurance website. Most provide quite complete FAQs pages, crammed with answers to the most commonly asked questions.
- Use the inquiry line for simple questions not answered on your state’s unemployment website.
Unemployment Workforce Centers
When you file for unemployment benefits you also agree to register with the state workforce centers and/or job exchanges and to be actively seeking work on a weekly basis. The state workforce centers may let you search and apply for jobs online or you may be required to apply in person and undergo a face-to-face application and interview process. Before you are approved for weekly unemployment checks you must attest to the fact that you have engaged in a job search through the workforce center. But this doesn’t mean you can’t look for work elsewhere. If you find a part-time job you remain eligible for partial benefits.
- Register for work at your state Workforce Center or job exchange.
- Be actively seeking work every week.
- Apply for jobs as they become available to you.
State Displaced Homemaker Programs
For homemakers whose principal job has been in the home and unpaid, you may find your state provides specific services just for you, usually called Displaced Homemaker Programs. You must be “displaced” from your home to be eligible, which would mean a loss of financial support. Through programs like these you can also get assistance with goal-setting, vocational opportunities, educational opportunities, and child care options.
Career Resources and Services for Unemployed Workers
Part of your state unemployment agency’s commitment to a highly skilled work force could include providing career resources. Besides the work force centers you may also be able to get assistance or find sources that will help you with resume writing, cover letter writing and improving your job interviewing skills.
- Find resources for resume-writing
- Learn how to write a cover letter
- Improve your interviewing skills.