You crawled your way through high school. Then you went for a student loan with high hopes and reverie, made it through college.
And then it all pays off—the past twenty-something years of your life you worked to get your dream job and you finally have it.
But then the unthinkable happens. For some reason or the other, you hear those ghastly words from your Employer.
You are fired!
All glass walls come crashing down and the dreamy world you were living in collides right in front of you. Once chair shot reality hits you, you got to wipe your tears and get back on track—time to apply for unemployment benefits.
When push comes to shove, you find yourself without a source of income. You have to figure out how to get back on track. Every other person advises you to apply for unemployment benefits. But they won’t give you free money for nothing.
That is why you have to understand what unemployment benefits mean and how beneficial they are to the jobless ones. Here is a complete guide to unemployment benefits and how you can apply for them if it comes down to it.
What on Earth are Unemployment Benefits?
The United States is a capitalist nation, which means jobs and jobbers are its lifeblood. People get new jobs when someone loses their job or leaves it for a better place.
But leaving your job and sitting at home doesn’t qualify for unemployment benefits.
Unemployment benefits are recurring payments. They are made by authorized organizations to unemployed people who were job-deprived for no solid reason. In the US of A, authorities of every state take care of unemployment benefits.
To apply for unemployment benefits, however, you’d have to prove yourself. According to rule of law, you cannot claim the compulsory unemployment insurance if you were kicked out for a fault of your own.
I faced the Sack—how do I Qualify?
If an employee gets fired he cannot just run to his/her state’s unemployment office to apply for unemployment benefits. There’s a criteria to be met—it’s sweet, simple, and synonymous to lawful.
Though the laws might vary from state to state, the basic concept of qualifying for unemployment benefits remains the same.
A jobber must be willing, ready, available, and able to work in order to apply for Unemployment Benefits. WRITE THAT DOWN.
Here are some points that benchmark unemployment benefits and how one can qualify for it:
Work sine qua non
When it comes to applying for unemployment benefits, you have to figure out why you ended up unemployed in the first place. The federal law states that you can only claim unemployment benefits if you lost the job through no fault of your own.
Now think again. Were you fired because you were inefficient at work and not meeting deadlines? If you were unable to keep up with your targets, you can’t apply for unemployment benefits.
However, if they fire you because you ate all cookies in the cafeteria or used too much stationary, let’s hope it never gets to that.
Reason for the Sack
A worker is eligible to apply for unemployment benefits if s/he is unemployed and it’s not his/her fault. Do you feel that you were on the wrong side of a mass layoff or if you were fired for unknown reasons? Like raising your voice for what’s theoretically and morally right? You can apply for unemployment benefits ASAP.
If you were wrongly terminated from your job or if your employer forced you to quit, you should run to your state’s unemployment office. It’s time to apply for unemployment benefits right away.
Explain your case; showcase all emails, pay-slips and all that stuff that proves you eligible for unemployment insurance. The prime catalyst to scoring unemployment benefits is the reason why you were let go.
It’s not a mysterious maze that you need to go through in order to get your hands on unemployment insurance. If you feel like you were given the boot for the wrong reasons and you aren’t getting answers, seek them.
Just pay a visit to the state’s unemployment office and they’ll clear it out in some time.
How do I Apply for Unemployment Benefits?
Gone are the days when you’d have to make way to the unemployment office every single week to collect your paycheck. As of now, you can apply for unemployment benefits and cash in your unemployment insurance online.
Just hit the search bar (say Ok Google or Hey Siri, whatever) and type “Unemployment Name of your State”. You’ll find your state’s unemployment website then and there. Visit the website and get to speed with its procedure.
In most states, all you have to do is fill out a form and you’ll get the required instructions as and when your application proceeds. The state unemployment office generally gives you and your employer a call for confirmation.
Don’t hesitate to walk into your state unemployment office if your claim gets rejected online. It hardly happens, but if it does, talk to concerned authority in person and explain your situation. They’ll be happy to help.
I lost my Job but I can’t Qualify. Why?
It’s not like every time you apply for unemployment benefits you get them. This scheme is practiced by the government to ensure citizens’ well-being and crooks try their best to exploit it to their advantage.
You might not be a crook and you might be genuinely looking to apply for unemployment benefits. There are many other reasons for which you can be disqualified from claiming unemployment benefits.
These reasons might vary from state to state, but most of them are similar across all states. Let’s look at the reasons which can get you disqualified and leave you ineligible for unemployment benefits:
Term of Employment
To qualify for unemployment benefits, one must serve a healthy time at the workplace where s/he was employed in the first place.
Be it a full-time job or a part-time one, you cannot walk into your state unemployment office and seek benefits just because you quit the job in 15 days as it didn’t suit you. You must be employed there for at least one year.
Reason for Unemployment
The reason you got the sack turns out to be the final straw. It decides whether you can apply for unemployment benefits or not. If you were fired for a legitimate cause, then you are not eligible for unemployment benefits.
Some legitimate reasons for which you cannot collect unemployment benefits are:
- Your performance was not a complaint to the ex-company’s standards
- You violated the company’s terms of policy
- You left the job because you were dissatisfied with it
But, I quit for a Good Cause!
Sometimes there’s no layoff from the company’s side. There was something fishy going on and you left for a good cause. Tried to tell your employer about it, yet s/he didn’t make any efforts to fix it. You, a person with high valor and integrity, decide to quit.
If you quit the job for a Good Cause, you are eligible to apply for unemployment benefits. Here are some examples of quitting a job for Good Cause:
- If employees are forced to quit due to concerns regarding health as their employer doesn’t consider it a problem. This might be for one’s own health problems or someone in the family as well.
- In case the employee quits due to a toxic atmosphere in the organization as no attempts were made to fix it. Be it something as serious as sexual harassment or unbearable work conditions.
- An employee is asked to commit acts that are morally and legally wrong. This is a direct ground for immoral activity and one can go to concerned authorities and complain.
- Due to some reason, if an employee loses his/her mode of transportation to work and is forced to quit, s/he can apply for unemployment benefits. If public transportation exists, however, you’d have to prove that it’s not in sync with your timings.
- You quit your job because your salary went through a big cut, it’s called as a good cause. You can apply for unemployment benefits in case of a steep decline in your salary.
- The employer doesn’t honor conditions of employment contract even after it’s brought into his/her notice¸ you are eligible to apply for unemployment benefits as it is a good cause to quit.
These are few examples of a good cause. The list is endless but the concept is simple. You should be eligible to apply for unemployment benefits and earn it when you have a good cause. If something goes wrong, just pay your state unemployment office a visit.
How long can I thrive on Unemployment Benefits?
The concept of unemployment benefits is to keep the money coming when you lose a job. But that does not mean that you can live your whole life on it. You can only get unemployment benefits if you are actively looking for a job.
You have to prove your job-hunting premise and show that you are applying for a job to get back in the game as soon as possible. If you are able to show that, your unemployment insurance paychecks will keep coming.
Now you know how crucial it is to apply for unemployment benefits. Apply for unemployment benefits and your standard of living won’t go down even if you are without a job.
Sir Ronald Regan rightly said that “Unemployment insurance is a pre-paid vacation for freeloaders”. It keeps your head above the water while you are job hunting. Now you know how to apply for unemployment benefits. Good Luck with the job-hunting!