Unemployment FAQs


Unemployment benefits are designed for unemployed people in need of temporary financial assistance. They receive benefits only by meeting the qualifications set in their state. Each state has different requirements to be accepted into the program, but most states follow the same types of criteria. Learn more about these benefits by reviewing the most frequently asked questions.



What Are the Benefits?

Unemployment benefits are state-provided temporary funds that are given to unemployed people. Every week or two weeks, you receive a payment to cover minimal living expenses. It’s a temporary solution to the problem of being unemployed and not designed to replace a regular income.

How Much Do I Get in Benefits?

No generic amount is given to people who receive unemployment benefits. In many states, the amount is based on the wages that you earned during a base period. This period consists of four quarters that make up the current or previous year.Another factor that affects the amount is the length of employment. In most cases, you must work for at least a year to receive benefits. Your state may require you to meet the minimum limit for a monthly salary.

How Do I Qualify?

Not everyone who works and then stops working is qualified for assistance.

There are several ways that you qualify for unemployment benefits.

You must:

  • Be unemployed
  • Be unemployed at no fault of your own
  • Have previously worked for at least 12 months
  • Have earned a minimum amount during a base period
  • Be willing to look for work

A qualified applicant is an employee who is laid off because of the company’s fault.

If you are fired or quit the job due to personal interests, you do not meet the basic qualifications.

Also, you must be unemployed and not currently working. However, some states allow part-time workers to receive benefits if they show financial need.How Do I Apply?Most employment agencies have websites that allow you to apply online.

Applying online is the easiest and fastest way if you need immediate assistance.

Another option is to apply by phone, in person at an agency office or by mail with a paper application.

When Do I Apply?

Apply as soon as you become unemployed to receive the most benefits. In many states, you qualify if you’ve worked in the past 12 to 18 months. If you expect to be unemployed soon, the state may require you to wait until the last day of work.

How Long Do I Receive Benefits?

Each state determines the length of time that you receive unemployment benefits. The average number of weeks is 26 for most recipients; some states provide only 12 weeks of compensation. Some recipients have the option to extend their benefits.Under the federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation Extension plan, participants extend their benefits for an additional 6 to 20 weeks. The Extended Benefits (EB) program is available only to residents of states that are experiencing high rates of unemployment. Participants receive extended benefits for an additional 7 to 13 weeks.