Before applicants can learn how to apply for unemployment online, they must research whether or not they qualify for the program. The sections below provide information regarding the program’s eligibility requirements, application process and the federal unemployment extension program.
What is unemployment in Alaska?
Alaska unemployment benefits are funded by the state and federal governments and offered to eligible residents who meet specific requirements. Moreover, the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development (DOLWD) manages all unemployment insurance claims and affairs. In general, the purpose of UI benefits is to assist local workers who are in between jobs to support themselves while they search for employment.
What are the requirements to get unemployment in Alaska?
In order to satisfy AK eligibility for unemployment requirements, residents must meet the criteria established by the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development (DOLWD). These requirements are:
- Covered employment – To meet the qualifications for UI, candidates must have maintained covered employment during a base period. In Alaska, that base period consists of 18 months.
- Gross income – Eligible candidates must have earned a total gross income of $2,500 during two calendar quarters in the base period.
- Work ability – One of the most significant factors that determine UI insurance eligibility is that applicants must be willing and able to accept full-time work.
For AK unemployment insurance eligibility purposes, “covered employment” and “base period” have specific meanings. For instance, covered employment refers to any employers who are required to pay UI taxes for their employees according to state law. Moreover, a base period refers to five calendar quarters when an applicant’s employment took place. To determine who qualifies for unemployment, the DOLWD takes into consideration how much money workers made during the first four of the last five quarters of the base period. The fifth quarter is the last quarter before a resident applies for UI.
How can I sign up for unemployment in Alaska?
Candidates typically ask “How can I sign up for unemployment?” after learning that they are eligible to receive UI benefits. In general, filling out an online application for UI is the quickest way for residents to submit their documents to the DOLWD. Thus, many applicants wonder how to apply for unemployment online securely. In addition, eligible candidates can call the DOLWD’s toll-free number to submit information over the phone. Regardless of the method residents choose to apply for unemployment benefits, they must provide the program with the following:
- Personal information – Applicants must submit their full legal names and Social Security Numbers (SSN). In addition, non-residents must include their work registration papers and Alien Registration Numbers.
- Employer information – In order to file a UI claim, candidates must also provide the names, addresses and phone numbers of their most recent employers. Moreover, their first and last dates of employment must also be included.
- Financial information – Residents completing an unemployment registration in AK must report their earnings for the last week they were with their previous employers. Additionally, any deductible income they received during their last week of employment must be included. For instance, vacation pay, severance pay or bonuses must be properly reported.
Furthermore, candidates who file for UI in Alaska may be required to submit additional documents. For example, federal employees must submit copies of the SF8 and SF50 forms, as well as a leave and earnings statement (LES). In addition, military personnel must submit copies of the DD Form 214 and a Member 4 copy.
How do I prepare for the unemployment insurance interview in Alaska?
Certain UI candidates may need to prepare for the unemployment interview in AK, which is conducted over the phone. These interviews are typically only conducted when the DOLWD has additional follow-up questions after candidates have submitted their applications. For instance, an unemployment phone interview may arise if there are discrepancies between a worker’s and an employer’s reasons regarding why an employment agreement was terminated. In those instances, the DOLWD will likely request an unemployment interview with an employer and another one with the applicant.
The questions asked during the UI interview in Alaska are designed to help the DOLWD determine whether or not petitioners are eligible to receive UI benefits. Thus, one of the most significant factors for the department to evaluate UI claims includes analyzing the cause of an employment termination. In general, candidates must be unemployed through no fault of their own in order to receive UI benefits.
Instead of preoccupying themselves with how to pass the unemployment insurance interview, employers and UI applicants must focus on providing accurate and concise information during their interactions with the DOLWD. To prepare for the UI interview, both parties must arrange the following documents:
- Exit interview notes that the company’s Human Resources department recorded when the candidate’s employment was terminated.
- Written warnings a worker was issued during his or her employment.
- Dated documents that detail the employee’s first and last days working for the company.
- or any other documents sent from worker to employer in an attempt to improve his or her work situation.
How do I claim unemployment benefits in Alaska?
Residents can claim unemployment benefits in Alaska after the DOLWD approves their applications. Applicants can receive payments from UI benefits claims via a state-issued KeyBank debit card or a direct deposit to their bank accounts.
Furthermore, workers must file biweekly claims in order to consistently claim UI benefits in AK. These claims, which are filed after each particular week passes, must report all of the profits that residents made during each period before taxes. In addition, to claim unemployment benefits on a regular basis, applicants may be asked the following questions:
- “Were you available to work every day?”
- “Did you refuse any job offer?”
- “Did you enroll in any classes or training programs?”
- “Did you receive severance pay?”
- “Did you move?”
- “Did you actively search for work?”
To maintain UI eligibility, candidates must register for work and upload their resumes to the Alaska Labor Exchange System (ALEXsys), which is a state-approved online platform. In addition, petitioners may be required to submit information regarding job leads. In general, such information is gathered to support Alaska UI benefits claims by showing that residents are actively searching for new work opportunities. For instance, the DOLWD may ask UI applicants for:
- The names of the employers that applicants contacted.
- The dates that the employers were contacted.
- The method through which applicants contacted employers.
What do I do if I am denied unemployment benefits in Alaska?
When applicants are denied unemployment in Alaska, they can file an appeal in an attempt to overturn the DOLWD’s decision. However, after having their UI benefits denied, residents must file an appeal within 30 days from when the original decision was issued. Employers who disagree with the department’s determination have the same opportunity to appeal. During the UI denial appeal, candidates can submit new evidence and bring in other witnesses to support their claims. Furthermore, they may choose to attend these hearings with legal representation.
It is important to note that UI appeals are examined by independent officers within the DOWLD. Thus, these individuals are legally required to issue fair determinations that are unrelated to their professional affiliations. In addition, an unemployment denial appeal hearing is conducted in person, and all relevant parties are notified of the times and dates for these conversations beforehand. Furthermore, these hearings typically last between 30 and 40 minutes. Generally, determinations are issued within two weeks after the hearing.
How can I apply for a federal unemployment extension in Alaska?
A federal unemployment extension is generally issued during periods of high unemployment rates on a national level. Similarly, Alaska’s Extended Benefits (EB) program is made available during periods when unemployment rates are high in the state. During standard periods of unemployment, Alaska UI benefits can last for 26 weeks during a calendar year. However, when an unemployment benefits extension is active, applicants may receive an additional 13 weeks of UI benefits. Candidates who have exhausted their standard benefits must have active claims when the unemployment benefits extension becomes available.
How do I contact the Alaska unemployment office?
There are three Alaska unemployment office locations throughout the state. Applicants and beneficiaries with specific questions can visit the following offices:
3301 Eagle Street
Anchorage, Alaska 99503
675 7th Avenue D
Fairbanks, Alaska 99701
1111 W 8th Street
Juneau, Alaska 99801