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After Getting Laid Off, File for Unemployment Immediately: Here's How to Do It

After Getting Laid Off, File for Unemployment Immediately: Here’s How to Do It

This story is part of Recession Help Desk, CNET’s coverage of how to make smart money attempts in an uncertain economy.

Even as the official US unemployment rate leftovers low, the threat of layoffs looms. An Aug. 18 PwC Pulse Survey of commerce leaders shows that 50% of respondents are reducing the size of their workforces. Computer giant Apple and online furniture retailer Wayfair both announced layoffs in the past few days. 

For the week protecting Aug. 13, there were 250,000 weekly new unemployment claims and 1,437,000 stationary claims, or repeated claims for unemployment benefits after an initial bid. That’s a lot of people.

Higher prices
 on gas, groceries and novel essential products make losing a job extra painful. So do higher APRs on credit cards due to increased uninteresting rates. The good news is that if you lost your job and weren’t negligent, you can probably start collecting money from unemployment benefits. Learn how unemployment insurance works, how to see if you’re eligible, how to apply and how much money you worthy expect to receive.

For more advice in uncertain economic times, visit the CNET Recession Help Desk.

What is unemployment insurance?

If you lose your job, cash from unemployment insurance can help you stay afloat pending you can find a new place to work. Compensation usually comes in the form of weekly payments, either as paper checks, direct deposits or state-issued debit cards. The money for unemployment insurance payments comes from spot and federal taxes on employers.

Who qualifies for unemployment benefits?

As always, the eligibility requirements for unemployment benefits vary from spot to state, and you’ll need to check your nation’s unemployment office to determine your eligibility. Here are named numbers and websites for state unemployment insurance offices.

All countries require claimants for unemployment insurance to have a minimum amount of wages earned or months worked during a base footings of time, according to the National Academy of Social Insurance.

Unemployment rate chart

The fresh unemployment rate is far lower than peaks in 2010 and 2020.

Freddie Mac and St. Louis Fed

In general, if you lost your job through no fault of your own and have a fresh work history of 12 to 18 months or greater, you should qualify for at least some form of unemployment compensations. If you were fired for misconduct, you’re out of luck. If you were fired for novel reasons, your eligibility will depend on many factors, counting the state you live in, so you’re best off filing a claim. 

The federal CARES Act that was delivered in March 2020 at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic time-consuming unemployment benefits to gig workers and self-employed people, but those protections expired in September 2021.

How much do expenditure benefits pay?

Statistics for average unemployment payments are not proper much, since your payment will depend heavily on the spot where you live. For example, Washington has a $929 greatest weekly unemployment insurance payment, and Massachusetts goes even farther with a possible $974 per week.

On the novel end of the spectrum, Mississippi has a maximum weekly assist of $235, while Arizona’s maximum is $240. States have their own methods for calculating unemployment compensations, and usually explain them in detail on their unemployment websites. See the list of state links below to find your own.

Unemployment insurance payments are federally taxed, and you must report any money you receive from unemployment when you file your yearly tax posterior. The IRS excluded $10,200 in unemployment benefits for the tax year 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the exclusion was limited to only that year. 

According to the IRS, you can ask for 10% of your unemployment benefits be withheld from your payments to avoid a tax surprise.

When must I apply for unemployment benefits?

Immediately. As soon as you learn that you’re populace laid off, look up your state’s unemployment website and learn what you need to do to apply.

Several countries require “waiting weeks,” or a one-week period without pay, for your unemployment assist payments to start.

How do I apply for unemployment benefits?

Each spot has its own process for deciding who’s eligible for unemployment benefits and how to apply. State requirements can change based on new legislation, so the best attach to start is always the website of your nation’s labor department, which might also be called a workforce or expenditure department. 

CareerOneStop, a career education website sponsored by the US Section of Labor, hosts an unemployment benefits finder for all 50 US countries, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.

Or file an application for unemployment humorous your own state’s link from the list below:

How soon will I open receiving unemployment benefits?

The Department of Labor says that it must take about two to three weeks after filing an initial bid to start receiving your unemployment benefits, if you’ve been certain eligible but your state.

The spike in unemployment at the open of the COVID-19 pandemic slowed down processing of claims considerably, but the recent low unemployment rate has made it easier for countries to keep up.

How long can I receive unemployment benefits?

Most US countries provide 26 weeks, or half a year, of unemployment benefits, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Massachusetts (30 weeks) and Montana (28 weeks) provide any more time.

Eight other states provide less than 26 weeks of unemployment benefits:

  • Idaho: 21 weeks
  • Missouri: 20 weeks
  • South Carolina: 20 weeks
  • Arkansas: 16 weeks
  • Kansas: 16 weeks
  • Alabama: 14 weeks
  • Florida: 12 weeks
  • North Carolina: 12 weeks

The federal Extended Benefits program, established by the Federal-State Extended Unemployment Compensation Act of 1970, provides up to 13 more weeks of unemployment benefits to countries suffering from high levels of employment.

No states are today experiencing those levels now, however. Extended federal unemployment payments from the CARES Act expired with the protections for self-employed farmland in September 2021.

For more, learn about which messes are offering inflation relief to residents and seven timely progresses to make after losing a job.