- Ensure Eligibility: Although the exact specifications will be different depending on which state you live in, start by locating your state using Unemployment Office’s easy-to-follow guide. Next, go through each qualification and ensure you meet each and every necessary one, otherwise you run the risk of being turned down and forced to find another avenue. As a head start, there are five common reasons why you’d be turned down: you can’t or won’t work; quitting without a good reason; being fired or laid off because of misconduct; refusing to do work that’s safe, legal or within the job description; and not working because of a labor dispute.
- Personal Information: Some of the information you’ll need to have on hand include (other than the obvious name/address/telephone number) your Social Security number and driver’s license number, and the names, birth dates and the Social Security numbers of your dependents (if you’re claiming them.) If it applies to you, you’ll also need your Alien Registration Number (for non-US citizens); DD214 (ex-military); Standard Form 8 or Standard Form 50 (former federal employees); and severance pay information.
- Work History:There’s no one set guideline as to how far back in your employment history you have to go, but at least 30 days is the bare minimum, and 18 months a much safer bet. Gather the name(s), address(es), phone number(s) and dates of employment for every single place you worked at, as well as the reasons for your no longer being employed there.
- Home Location: This may seem obvious, but make sure you’re going to be qualified for unemployment in the state in which you worked (as well as being eligible to work in the United States in the first place.) For example, if you live in Nevada but work in California, check with both the California and Nevada sites to ensure you’re eligible for unemployment. Some states, like Oklahoma, will allow unemployed individuals to apply for Oklahoma benefits if they don’t live there as long as they earned wages in the state.
- Wages and Monies: One thing you’ll be asked of for certain is the wages you earned at your previous jobs (both hourly or salary, and total/per week), as well as the amount of all monies received by you, such as vacation pay, bonuses, severance pay, pension payments, etc. Although it may seem like an intrusion of privacy, it’s necessary to create a file on you so the appropriate amount of unemployment benefits (if applicable) can be allotted to you.
It may seem overwhelming at first to figure out if you can start the unemployment qualification process or not, but taking your time and reading through each step carefully will help.