Workers are eligible to claim unemployment benefits at no cost to them, as this program is funded by employer’s tax dollars. The sections below will summarize how to apply for unemployment online and explain the required documents petitioners must submit. Furthermore, the following sections will also address how claimants can determine if they meet the eligibility for unemployment requirements and what to do if they are denied UC.
What is unemployment in Louisiana?
The Louisiana unemployment program provides a short-term assistance for joblessness. To ensure local workers are not enrolled in unemployment insurance for too long, the state enforces a maximum enrollment period of 26 weeks. This means that within a calendar year, claimants may only receive UI benefits for a maximum of six and a half months. During the time that an unemployment claim is active, applicants are eligible to receive a weekly benefit amount (WBA) between $10 and $247. These are the minimum and maximum amounts the state is legally permitted to provide every seven days. However, candidates must remember that they will not be eligible to receive their unemployment insurance benefits during the first week when they file a claim. This week is known as the waiting week, and while it is part of the claimants’ enrollment period, and beneficiaries may not receive funds during that time.
What are the requirements to get unemployment in Louisiana?
The Louisiana eligibility for unemployment requirements address three components in petitioners’ applications. These factors are:
- Recent monetary income – Candidates must have earned at least a certain amount of income during their base periods in order to qualify for UC. The LWC uses the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters as the time frame for calculating base periods.
- Reason for unemployment – Petitioners must be fully or partially unemployed due to circumstances that were out of their control. This means applicants will not be eligible for UI if they were fired from their previous jobs due to misconduct or if they quit for personal reasons. This includes quitting due to school-related scheduling conflicts, unreliable transportation or not having adequate child care options.
- Ability to work Claimants must be physically and mentally able to work in order to receive UI benefits. Similarly, applicants are required to be ready, able and willing to search for suitable employment opportunities. This means that, when candidates receive appropriate job offers, they must accept them.
Regarding the financial unemployment insurance eligibility requirements, the state has more extensive regulations. For example, in order to meet these monetary qualifications for unemployment, petitioners must have:
- Worked for an employer who paid UI taxes during their base periods. Another way of saying this is that claimants must have had covered employment during their base periods.
- Earned a total of at least $1,200 throughout their base periods.
- Received total base period wages that are at least one and a half times greater than the income they earned during their highest quarters.
How can I sign up for unemployment in Louisiana?
Petitioners may be interested in submitting an online application for unemployment in Louisiana once they learn that they are eligible to enroll in the program. Regardless whether applicants are researching how to apply for unemployment online or over the phone, they must provide the following information:
- Their Social Security Numbers
- A list of all the places they worked at in the past 18 months
- Contact information for all previous employers they had in the past year and a half, including employers’ names, addresses and telephone numbers
Similarly, claimants who apply for unemployment benefits and fit into the following categories must bring their corresponding documents:
- Non-citizens must submit their Alien Registration Numbers
- Military members are required to produce the Member 4 copy of the DD214
- Union members need to disclose the name and local number of their union halls
- Federal employees may have to submit their SF-8 and SF-50
How do I prepare for the unemployment insurance interview in Louisiana?
Candidates may need to prepare for the unemployment insurance interview in Louisiana, should the LWC find portions of their applications that raise concerns. However, needing to participate in an unemployment phone interview does not mean that the LWC will deny the claimants’ benefits. These interviews are requested when the LWC finds issues on an applicant’s case. Therefore, it is imperative for petitioners take the time to prepare for the UI phone interview.
The questions asked during unemployment interview vary depending on the issues at hand. These inquiries are situation-specific, and applicants should review their petitions beforehand to see where the areas of concern might be. One of the most common reasons that the LWC may need to conduct an interview is if the applicants left any questions blank when they submitted their petitions. This UC interview with claimant usually ends quickly because the interviewer only needs a specific piece of information. However, if the LWC needs to conduct an unemployment interview with employer, the subsequent interview with claimant may take longer.
The LWC may need to have a UC phone interview with the claimants’ former employers if there is any uncertainty regarding why the petitioners are currently unemployed. In these situations, the conversations may take a longer time because the LWC representatives are searching for more information. Regardless of what type of interview the LWC is conducting, it is imperative that the applicants and their employers answer the interviewer’s questions as honestly and succinctly as possible. In order to help prepare for the UC interview, claimants and employers may consider bringing the following:
- Written warnings the employer or the human resources department issued to the applicant during his or her time with the company.
- A copy of the employee handbook with highlighted or marked portions that relate to any issues surrounding the petitioner’s job loss.
- A copy of the claimant’s contract and supporting documentation that relate to any agreements that the employer and the petitioner made.
- Email correspondence between the worker and his or her supervisor or human resources department, especially if they relate to workplace performance.
How do I claim unemployment benefits in Louisiana?
Petitioners are not typically allowed to claim unemployment benefits in Louisiana as soon as their claims are accepted. First, recipients must serve a waiting week, during which they are ineligible to receive benefits. Afterward, in order to maintain an unemployment benefits claim, enrollees must make sure that they meet the state’s weekly requirements. Failing to do so will make applicants unable to receive UC benefits, even if they have already been accepted into the program.
In order to begin claiming benefits for unemployment, enrollees must make sure they file their claims for weekly benefits. Beneficiaries may complete this step either over the phone or online. Regardless, they must be sure to complete this task each week. In order to claim UI benefits and receive their funds for the previous week, candidates must report their gross earnings. This means that, even if the petitioners have not been paid yet, they are required to disclose all income they earned during the previous week. Failing to report this income will cause the LWC to overpay enrollees, and the recipients will be responsible for paying back this money. When reporting their earnings to maintain a UC benefits claim, candidates must also be prepared to answer questions that relate to the following topics:
- Income – Did the applicant earn any income during the previous week?
- Assorted payment – Did the petitioner receive any severance, vacation, pension or holiday pay during the week he or she is claiming?
- Work availability – Was the applicant ready, able and willing to work last week? Did he or she refuse any employment opportunities during that time?
- Scheduling changes – Has the applicant enrolled in any new classes or training programs since he or she last filed a claim?
Candidates who are claiming benefits for unemployment are also responsible for meeting the program’s work search contacts requirement. To complete this step, enrollees must contact three new employers each week they collect benefits. Afterward, they must report to the LWC:
- Which employers they contacted.
- Where each company is located.
- The method through which they reached out.
- When they made contact with the employer through email, over the phone or in person.
- What results came from each job search or interview.
Finally, beneficiaries who would like to maintain a UI benefits claim must ensure that they participate in any LWC-mandated reemployment activities. These requirements are periodic, but when required, claimants must report to their closest Business & Career Solutions Centers to complete any assigned tasks.
What do I do if I am denied unemployment benefits in Louisiana?
Claimants who are denied unemployment in Louisiana have the right to appeal the LWC’s decision. Similarly, employers who are unhappy with the agency’s determination may also submit an appeal. Regardless, either party has 15 days from when the LWC mails their determinations to submit their petitions. Applicants may appeal by submitting their requests:
- Through the LWC’s website.
- Via email to the LWC’s appeal address.
- As a letter sent through the mail.
- Via fax.
Petitioners filing an unemployment denial appeal must be sure to meet the state’s 15-day deadline. Failing to submit an appeal online may cause the applicants to lose their rights to appeal the LWC’s decision. However, requests received in a timely fashion will be directed to an administrative law judge (ALJ) at the Appeals Tribunal. Once the Appeals Tribunal receives this denied unemployment benefits appeal, the agency will send notices to the employers and claimants. These documents include the dates and times that their hearings will take place. In most cases, these hearings are conducted over the phone. However, either party may request an in-person hearing.
During the unemployment benefits denied hearing, both parties have the right to bring supplementary evidence. Likewise, petitioners and their employers can have witnesses testify in order to support their claims. Also, either party is permitted to have legal representation present throughout the trial. After the ALJ makes a decision, all relevant participants will be notified. Like before, either the employer or the applicant may request an appeal to this ruling. However, they must direct their second appeals to the Board of Review. After the Board of Review, individuals may appeal to the Judicial District Court.
How can I apply for a federal unemployment extension in Louisiana?
A federal unemployment extension is not common. Congress is responsible for authorizing this unemployment benefits extension in Louisiana or in other parts of the country. However, these programs are only offered during periods when more people than usual are unemployed in a state or region. Similarly, the federal government may choose to authorize an unemployment extension on a national scale when many states have abnormally high amounts of unemployed workers.
When offered, this UI extension allows beneficiaries to enroll in UC beyond the state’s 26-week limit. Once the LWC announces the program’s availability, candidates must contact their program representatives to enroll.
How do I contact the Louisiana unemployment office?
The Louisiana unemployment office maintains branches in most major cities around the state. Therefore, claimants and employers who would like to speak with an unemployment office representative in person may do so. The Baton Rouge UI office is located at:
1001 N 23rd Street
Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70802
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How do I qualify for Unemployment Insurance in Louisiana?
In order to qualify for unemployment benefits in the state of Louisiana, you must meet certain requirements in 3 main areas:
Reason for job separation
Ongoing availability to work
What if I worked in another state before I moved to Louisiana?
If you currently live in Louisiana, you can apply for unemployment benefits regardless of the state you lived in before. Your local Job Center will be able to assist you in learning which state you can file against.
What is HIRE?
HIRE stands for Helping Individuals Reach Employment and it is a program that was started by the state of Louisiana in order to help residents with the re-employment process if they have recently lost their job. The HIRE program can help Louisiana residents with job searches, creating a resume, filing unemployment claims and much more.
What will I need to register for unemployment?
There are several documents that you will need while applying for unemployment insurance in the state of Louisiana:
A valid email address
The name, address and contact information for your last employer
Your Social Security number
Your alien registration number if you are not a citizen
The name and number of your union hall if applicable