What Is an Unemployment Insurance Agency?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 03 November 2018
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An unemployment insurance agency processes claims filed by workers who qualify for unemployment compensation in the United States. It determines eligibility, handles payments, and follows up with workers. Such agencies are administered on a state by state basis and may be subject to different laws. People who need to file claims with multiple agencies may be required to go through an interview process with each one, and to follow up with appropriate documentation to continue receiving benefits.

Employers fund unemployment benefits through payments linked with paychecks. When someone becomes unemployed and meets specific standards set by the government, that person is allowed to file a claim to receive compensation. The unemployed person receives periodic payments for a set period of time or until new employment is secured. These payments from the unemployment insurance agency provide support with the costs of living and the amount is determined by how much the person was making.

When people become unemployed, they need to contact an unemployment insurance agency to start the process. They may need to fill out a form documenting the circumstances, and could be asked to bring in old pay stubs and other documentation to support their claim. All of this information can be submitted over the phone or Internet in many cases for convenience. A clerk will review the application to determine if the person qualifies, and can authorize the agency to start issuing benefits.


To keep getting benefits, people usually need to respond to questions from the unemployment insurance agency. These questions can document their job search as well as continued need for benefits. If people approach the end of the authorized benefits period, they may receive a warning to make them aware that they are about to be cut off. They will not be eligible for benefits after this period, as the insurance only covers a set period of time.

Some unemployment claims are initiated online, but it is common for an unemployment insurance agency to have several regional offices as well. These can facilitate claims by making it easy to visit and meet directly with staff. Some may be located in government complexes with other agencies, which can make it easier to apply for assistance like food stamps as well as unemployment. Regional offices may partner with a development agency to provide information about available jobs in the community. Visitors can note opportunities on the job board, including positions with government agencies and local companies that forward job listings to the development agency.



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