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File for Unemployment Benefits

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Losing your job sucks and if you recently lost yours, I’m sorry to hear that but you are not alone (in May 2008, 861,000 joined the already 8.5 million unemployed, which is always undercalculated*). However, we live in the land of opportunity and there’s always something around the corner, so until that corner turns you should consider filing for unemployment benefits.

When people talk about unemployment benefits, you’re really talking about the Federal-State Unemployment Insurance Program and it’s a program you’ve been indirectly paying into with each and every paycheck. Your employer has to pay an unemployment insurance tax that you make claims against if you are eligible (and unemployed). You indirectly pay for the insurance because in the absence of that tax, you could theoretically be paid more (feel free to debate the merits of that argument on your own, either way it’s money that’s rightfully yours if eligible).

The eligibility requirements and benefit payouts vary from state to state. The US Department of Labor has a very handle list of all the state departments, along with address, phone number and website, to help you in your search and claims filing. You can also use this map to locate the proper office to contact.

File today. As soon as you lose your job, file immediately. There is often a two week lag between when you file and when you receive benefits, though benefits are effective as soon as you file (if you are eligible).

It has no bearing on you as an employee. In fact, being eligible for unemployment benefits couple a positive. One of the reasons for denying a claim is misconduct. Though it’s unlikely that an prospective employer would ever find out that you did receive unemployment benefits, if they did they could be reasonably sure that you didn’t get released because of misconduct.

It won’t affect your credit score. Collecting unemployment will have no bearing on your credit history or your score. If you do apply for a loan, it would be reported as unstable income which could cause you not to get a loan. However, if you think about it, unstable income is better than no income so you probably have a better shot at a loan with the benefits. :)

You need it. Even if you’re in solid financial shape, the reality is you don’t know how long you may be out of work. You may be great now, able to live off your emergency fund for a few months, but eventually your bank account will begin to dwindle. As the balance falls, you will be feeling more pressure at a time when pressure will already be at its highest. It’s important to swallow your pride, get yourself some additional breathing room, and file for benefits that are rightfully yours. Remember, it’s not welfare; it’s unemployment insurance your employer has been paying for.

If you’re reluctant to take a hand out, take it now and consider donating that amount to your favorite charity when you get back on your feet. Good luck.

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17 Responses to “File for Unemployment Benefits”

  1. Rachel Anne says:

    This article would have come in handy when I lost my job earlier this year. I did file the day I was let go, but some of the things discussed here (lag time and credit score questions) weren’t really addressed in the process.

    Thanks!

  2. saladdin says:

    Don’t let anyone try to make you feel guilty about signing up. This is not welfare. It is a insurance program. Big difference.

    Remember this is taxable income. You will have the option of witholding taxes (unless they have changed this). You will pay taxes on this. Uncle Sam will send you a 1099 or W2, I forget which one.

    Any soon to be ex-military out there remember when you seperate you are eligible for this. Make the unemployment office (or whatever they call it this week) one of your first stops when you seperate. Even if you are getting out of the service to go to school you can still draw (check your local office because things may have changed).

    saladdin

  3. saladdin says:

    By the way, any news on the tankless water heater?

    saladdin

  4. jim says:

    saladdin – Tankless water heater was put on hold, I’m getting the roof replaced next Monday and just replaced the dishwasher on a heckuva find ($150 for a nearly brand new stainless steel Frigidaire dishwasher). Maybe in a little while… don’t worry I’ll write about it. :)

  5. KRod says:

    —Don’t let anyone try to make you feel guilty about signing up. This is not welfare. It is a insurance program. Big difference.—

    Well actually it is a form of welfare, just like social security and medicare. I’m forced to pay into this ‘insurance’ racket just in case.

    Well sorry, but before people we coerced into unemployment benefit they had to rely on their own emergency fund, frugality, and drive to see them through the rough time.

    If I was to become unemployed I would not claim any unemployment benefits, because John and Jill next door who pay into the same racket have no obligation to care for me when I hit hard times.

    This sickens me.

  6. D says:

    “It has no bearing on you as an employee. In fact, being eligible for unemployment benefits couple a positive. One of the reasons for denying a claim is misconduct. Though it’s unlikely that an employer would ever find out that you did receive unemployment benefits, if they did they could be reasonably sure that you didn’t get released because of misconduct.”

    From personal experience and looking up a couple of employer handbooks, it seems to me that employers are always notified when a discharged employee claims benefits. For example, take a look at Indiana http://www.in.gov/dwd/2640.htm#viii and New York http://www.tax.state.ny.us/pdf/2006/wt/nys50_506.pdf.

    In NY, for example, as soon as a claim is filed, the employer is sent a form to fill out. Among other things, the form asks why the employee was terminated.

  7. jim says:

    D: Sorry, I wasn’t clear earlier, I meant future employers and not your former employer. Your former employer is always notified because they can contest an unemployment claim. Thank you for the references.

  8. D says:

    That makes a lot more sense. Sorry I didn’t get it the first time.

  9. joe says:

    when on unemployment does one draw a new social security claim?

  10. noreaster says:

    Has anyone ever been denied unemployment after being fired? Anyone ever have the employer that fired you lie about the reason to avoid paying into employment? My former boss was lower than pond scum and I just know they will come up with something to screw me over. What can I do?

  11. I A Funk says:

    I was fired for the companies policy of “safty points”.
    (I was a van driver for disabled persons.)
    They watch you as you drive with a camcorder and gps. If you get 6 points in a 18 month period, you are fired.
    They were asked what the average driver averaged receiving a safty point. They responded: one per three months. So they train the drivers to be fired. I received the max in 17 months. I am an experienced professional driver and have had no traffic violations in 18 years.
    Does anyone know if I have any defense to help in my appeal of this termination? Any laws that
    might help in my appeal, rights violations, etc.
    Thank you for any insight you might like to share. (I was never late for work or committed any other violation or off work due to sickness).

  12. Daisy says:

    Do I need to cash in my Certificates of Deposit before I can file for Onemployment benefits?

  13. Daisy says:

    sorry I meant do i need to cash in my Certificates of Deposits(CDs) before filing for unemployment? Will it have a negative impact if it is hopefully just short term?

  14. Ann says:

    If denied unemployment, and went to appeals and lost. Is there a waiting period or can I refile for employment in the state of Cal?

  15. IAF says:

    You have 20 days to appeal after you lost.

    You cannot refile until you have worked a certain
    amount of time and earned a certain amount of wages.

    You can get more definite details from the ‘Employment Development Department’ website:
    http://www.edd.ca.gov.

    Hope this may help Ms Ann.

  16. Anonymous says:

    my husband quit his job three months before and we thought he is not eligible for the unemployment benefit claim. but today he applied for that and we are wondering that is there a way to collect the past three months benefit as we need it badly


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