With the struggling economy here in the United States, many people find themselves applying for unemployment benefits. Moreover, the federal government has in recent months-particularly as part of the stimulus package-sought to extend unemployment benefits in order to ease the suffering brought onto many by the declining economy.
As with most things dealing with federal and state government, applying for unemployment benefits can seem confusing at first. For anyone who has ever consulted a government agency, it can often seem like a very difficult process. However, applying for unemployment benefits is actually quite easy. On the most basic level, you just need to find your state unemployment office and inquire with them about what needs to be done to apply and whether or not you qualify.
However, there are a few tips that can make applying for unemployment a bit easier. Some quick unemployment benefits application tips include:
Gather Your Documentation
As part of your application for unemployment, you will need to provide a considerable amount of personal information. Pulling all of this together is a helpful tip for applying for unemployment benefits. While requirements will differ depending on where you live, you will typically need your social security number, driver’s license or identification card number, mailing address, phone number, name and address of your last employer, your employer’s federal tax ID number, date when you started and ended employment, and how much you earned over that period. Having all of this information readily available will help the process move along much quicker.
Look Into Filing Online Or Via The Phone
For many people, applying for government programs conjures up visions of sitting for hours in waiting rooms. However, many states allow you to apply for unemployment benefits online or via phone. This is quicker for applicants and generally easier for cash strapped state governments. Moreover, many states allow people to update their employment status online and via the phone as well, making appointments rare.
Verify Your Eligibility
Before applying for unemployment benefits, you should do some research as to whether or not you can even qualify. While you can just fill out the application, it helps both yourself and the state to do some background research. You can receive unemployment benefits if you were laid off from your job, but cannot receive them if you quit without good cause, were fired for misconduct, or were self-employed. Keep in mind, these rules vary from state to state, so you will want to check your state’s rules and regulations.
Consider Your Taxes
If you are receiving unemployment benefits, you will want to consider your taxes. Sadly, unemployment benefits are taxed. Many people do not know this and are surprised the next year when they find out that they need to pay taxes on their unemployment benefits. To help address this, you can fill out a form to have your taxes withheld from your earnings. You will receive less with each check, but it will save you from an unexpected tax bill.
Keep Looking For A Job
When you consider applying for unemployment benefits, you should remember that it isn’t simply free money-states have specific requirements that must be met in order for you to keep receiving benefits. Among the major requirements is that you must keep looking for a job.
These unemployment benefits application tips will make applying for benefits easier. Perhaps one additional reminder is that you should not look down on this form of government assistance for ideological reasons. In this economy, we all need a little help-and this is just one way in which the government can help unemployed workers get back on their feet.