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How to File for Unemployment

Updated on May 20, 2015

Dealing with a layoff or a company's decision to terminate you is only the beginning of a painstaking process. Losing your job is not easy to process, but anyone who has dealt with any government service understands just how grueling being fired is.

If you haven't been offered a severance package, you can be entitled to unemployment benefits. You must meet individual state requirements and the termination can't have been your fault, which the Department of Labor explains as not completing required work. States also decide how much applicants receive and the length of time to extend payments.

Applications for benefits have moved online. You can visit your state unemployment site and create an account. A series of eligibility questions will be asked, and some states may have specific requirements before you can actually apply. In Oklahoma, for example, applicants are required to search for jobs on the state site before moving on to the end of the application. Information is needed to complete the process, such as Social Security numbers, dates of employment, and reason for termination. Once the online application is completed, you're given a claim number and the proposed amount of weekly payments. The application is then forwarded to the employer for review. Benefits are usually paid up to a 26 week period, again depending on individual state requirements.

If your claim is rejected by the employer, you are entitled to a hearing that is held over the phone to appeal the decision. Once payments are made, applicants must file either every week or two weeks, again depending on your state's requirements. You will be asked several questions about continued eligibility, whether you have been actively seeking work or been involved in any training classes. If you've been unsuccessful in finding a job, the state unemployment office will help you find one through a series of training programs, skills tests, and online job hunts.

If you still haven't found work after that initial 26 week period, you may be eligible for extended benefits. Check your state unemployment site for requirements. Understand that although the benefits may alleviate the emotional or financial trauma of losing a job, the process itself is a very frustrating one. But with time and effort, and sound interviewing skills, you will find your next job in no time.

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