Mentally preparing yourself for the stigma of unemployment and also preparing for potential re-positioning can be a bit overwhelming. Adding to that filing for unemployment for the first time can be daunting. The best way to overcome daunting experiences is to be well prepared going into the scenario.
The most important aspect of applying for unemployment benefits is ensuring you are eligible to receive them. You can verify this directly on your state’s application site, but you can also check if you are eligible to receive unemployment benefits prior to applying.
Eligibility.com will tell you the general requirements that should be met in advance so you can prepare and have all the materials you need prior to submitting your application. Here is a quick overview:
- Have your social security number handy.
- Know the contact information for your most recent employer, most importantly the person that will be confirming your unemployment status with your state’s department.
- Make sure you know how much your final paycheck is going to be. The person responsible for confirming with unemployment should be able to provide you with this information if it was not provided upon your departure.
- Prepare for one seemingly confusing question. The reference to making more than $3,366 during your most recent term of employment is not referring to one pay period, but your entire time with the employer. (I personally made this mistake and kept answering no, which was causing them to ask for a second employers information, which I didn’t have since I only had one employer this year causing minor delays in submission and processing.)
To double check you have everything, you can reference the official Pennsylvania checklist here. While this is for PA, I imagine that most of the information required here is applicable across the different states. Additional bonus for PA – they offer a virtual walk through of how to best fill out the application to determine eligibility.
The good news is that the application process takes less than an hour and is pretty straight forward. Also good news is that the letter announcing your benefit amount only takes a few days. Please note, I would assume the speediness is dependent on how accurate your application is as well as your previous employers approval of your claim.
It is important to mention that you will not be able to file for an unemployment check immediately after you apply. You will need to be mailed the approval letter and a pin number to access your user account. You will be informed of the time frame you can file for the first time once you submit your application, usually a week and a half to two weeks after applying.