Collecting Unemployment

As we face the realities of the current economic situation, many Americans are finding themselves unemployed for the first time in a long time. While this may be a startling prospect for many who have depended on their employment for their livelihood, there are options designed to aid individuals who need help getting back on their feet. In order to take advantage of unemployment, individuals must be eligible on a few counts-

Who Can Collect
-Most employees who were let go for no fault of their own are eligible to collect unemployment aid, so long as they are actively seeking work. Most states require that you had been employed for at least a year before you will be able to collect.

How to Collect
-Individuals must apply in order to collect. Many states now allow individuals to apply by phone or online, rather than having to show up in person, speeding up the process.

-In order to apply, you should have your Social Security Number, your W2 form from the past year, as well as timesheets and paystubs verifying your dates of employment
What Will You Get
-Individuals are likely to receive a percentage of their salary in benefits. In general, states offer 50% of your salary for the past half year, capped to a certain limit per week depending on which state you were working in. New York state currently limits benefits to $405 per week.

How Long Can You Collect
With the recent extension signed into law by President Bush, most individuals will be eligible to collect of for up to 26 weeks following the termination of their employment. The length one can collect depends on how long since an individual has been let go, while the extension also allows for collecting unemployment if an individual has found temporary work that has since run out.

Since the rules vary from state to state, it is best to consult your state’s rules before applying to collect. Guidelines and rules to all states can be found here.