How Do I Collect Unemployment Insurance?

A person who wants to collect unemployment insurance must meet his country or state's unemployment eligibility requirements and fill out the proper forms to receive payment. Sometimes a face-to-face meeting or telephone interview with an unemployment counselor is required. In addition, there are steps that are not legally necessary, but that will help an individual avoid delays and surprises with his application to collect unemployment insurance.

Laws on who may collect unemployment insurance vary by government jurisdiction. Often a company may be required to give a worker a handout on the rules and his rights when it releases him from a job. If not, he should look online for the proper government Web site and learn the regulations.

After finding the correct forms to fill out to collect unemployment insurance, the person should have the right documents on hand to complete the forms. Many individuals will have memorized certain facts, such as a national identification number, but other information is not as obvious. A resume helps in keeping employment history fresh in mind and may be requested by officials at unemployment agencies. An applicant should also keep the documents he received after his job loss, as he may be asked about salary received after the last day of work and benefits, such as final vacation pay.


Some applicants may have to speak with a government employee to register to collect unemployment insurance. The unemployment agencies usually set the dates and times of such meetings or phone calls. Officials allow some leeway for change, but keeping the original appointment helps a person minimize hassle and delay. Again, an individual should have identification and records on past salary and employment with him.

A successful application to collect unemployment insurance often depends on the satisfactory completion of a new set of forms. A former worker may have to report on his job search. He should therefore keep track of the dates he has applied for new jobs, the companies from which he has sought employment, and the results of his requests. It may also be necessary to tell the government about money earned during the unemployment compensation period, such as from part-time work, and he should keep any pay stubs.

Sometimes an application to collect unemployment insurance is denied, with one common reason being dismissal for cause. Even if a person has lost his job because of something he did wrong, he may be able to appeal. Appeals frequently go to officials above those who denied the unemployment claim or to an administrative law judge. Someone who fears his claim will be denied should research his jurisdiction's policies. If an applicant's claim is rejected, and if he appeals, he should bring a prepared statement and any evidence supporting his case to his hearing.

A person who does collect unemployment insurance may have to make a tax deduction decision. Some governments consider unemployment payments to be taxable income. If he has the choice, a recipient must select whether he wants a percentage of his unemployment check withheld and sent to tax collection agencies, or whether he wants to receive as large a check as he can and pay taxes on it later.

While not legally required, other steps can help an unemployment insurance recipient. An individual who has to report income earned while he is on unemployment should know that this income will likely reduce the amount of his payment. An unemployment agency may also a ask recipient to report on illness or efforts to get more education and training. While the former may seem unavoidable and the latter desirable, time spent on either may be considered time that an unemployment recipient could not have spent at a job, and the government may reduce the amount of benefits. Unemployment compensation is also usually less than the salary of a person's last job, and the recipient may wish to cut personal spending.



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