What is Unemployment Insurance

By: Casey Yew

Unemployment insurance is a national insurance program that was instituted in the later years of the Great Depression to help in the stabilization of the economy. The program was retained to help to cover fluctuations in both local and national economy.

How do I benefit?
If you are laid off from your job, then you can sign up for unemployment benefits from the government until you "get back on your feet". The duration of these benefits is limited, however they are a lifesaver for many people. You must have been laid off to be eligible, however, as opposed to having quit or been fired. You must also furnish proof that you are looking for a new job in order to continue receiving benefits, and there may be other requirements depending on your state, such as a certain amount of time worked at your employer before your claim is filed.

Sign Me Up!
Unemployment insurance is not something that you have to sign up for, but rather is paid for by taxes imposed on employers in most states, with three states requiring a minimal input from the employees. There is, however, no need to sign up for this program. After working with your employer (usually at least a year) you become eligible for these benefits.

How do I Claim My Benefits?
Contact your state unemployment insurance agency to file a claim. The agency will help you determine if your time worked and wages earned make you eligible for the benefits. Contact the agency as soon as possible after becoming unemployed for the best results. Keep in mind that it may take a couple of weeks before your first check arrives. Also make sure that you know the information such as your employer's address and your dates of employment or your claim may be delayed until you can get this information to your unemployment insurance agency.

How do I Retain Benefits?
You must file claims either weekly or biweekly as determined by the unemployment agency and answer questions regarding any earnings you have made during the period, and job offers or refusals or work, etc. These claims are usually filed over the telephone or by mail, and are necessary to your continued eligibility.

When you are asked to report to your local Unemployment Insurance Claims Office or One-Stop/ Employment Service Office, you must do so on the date and time that you are asked to do so. Failure to report at the correct date and time can result in termination of your benefits. You must also continue to meet the eligibility requirements of your state to retain your benefits.

Can I be Disqualified?
The answer is "yes". If your reason for leaving your last job is due to anything other than a "lack of work", then a determination will be made as to whether you are eligible for continued benefits. These determinations are made based on appropriate State laws and applicable federal laws. If you are denied benefits, you have the right to file an appeal. You must file this appeal within a certain time frame to be qualified, and your employer may file an appeal as well if they do not agree with the determination made.

Your unemployment benefits are the result of a federal attempt to curb economic slumps and help affected workers get back to work without affecting their lives overmuch. The benefits were never intended to be a permanent replacement for work, and will end after a certain amount of time, however for their duration they are to act as a wage replacement.

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