Unemployment Benefits: Here's What You Need to Know After Being Laid Off

By Jace Dela Cruz

Nov 24, 2023 01:45 AM EST

Experiencing a job loss can be challenging and could take a financial and emotional toll. Fortunately, the unemployment benefits, under the unemployment insurance program established in 1935, support individuals facing disruptions in their income.

One must be aware of certain vital considerations to navigate this system effectively. So, here's what you need to know. 

Broke Poor Empty
(Photo : Tumisu from Pixabay)

Unemployment Benefits

One common misconception is assuming ineligibility for unemployment benefits. Eligibility requires individuals to have lost work or wages "through no fault of their own," like scenarios such as company downsizing or cuts unrelated to performance. 

Michele Evermore, a senior fellow at The Century Foundation, told CNBC that many prematurely rule themselves out of the program due to misconceptions, urging individuals to submit a claim, as there may be exceptions based on specific circumstances.

Differences exist in unemployment benefits from state to state, and some states extend benefits to individuals who voluntarily resign from their jobs. 

For example, those requested to move to a new location with an impractical commute or compelled to leave due to a partner's job relocation may still qualify.

Moreover, according to CNBC, the timing of applying for unemployment benefits is critical.

Although approval timelines can be prolonged in certain states, initiating an application quickly can hasten the process. 

READ ALSO: Columnist ponders on the cause of joblessness in the US

Start the Application Process Immediately

Evermore recommends that individuals start the application process immediately upon leaving their jobs.  

Another crucial aspect is grasping the program requirements. To qualify for unemployment benefits, individuals must be able to work and actively seek new employment. 

The methods for verifying job searches differ among states, from maintaining a personal log of work search efforts to regular communication with the state unemployment office.

Furthermore, unemployment benefits are susceptible to federal levies, with most states also implementing taxes.

Individuals receiving unemployment payments usually have the option to choose tax withholding, a prudent decision to mitigate potential financial challenges in the future.

Evermore underscores that unemployment insurance does not stand alone in terms of financial support.

Those confronting job loss can explore additional resources, such as applying for food stamps and other relief programs.

In navigating the complexities of unemployment benefits, individuals are encouraged to dispel myths, apply promptly, and explore various avenues of financial assistance to cope with the challenges of job loss. 

READ MORE: Rise in low-income jobs makes the job easier for Fed in rate hike 

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