What do you know about applying for unemployment benefits after a layoff?

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wave of companiesCompanies including Amazon, Google and Spotify have announced significant staff cuts, leaving former employees without pay.

Fortunately, the Unemployment Insurance Program, It was created in 1935Support for some people who have lost their jobs. The federal program is administered by the states, and the rules vary based on where you live.

Many workers said they had been paying in the program for years with the possibility of layoffs in mind Michelle Evermore, a senior fellow at the Century Foundation. As a result, she said, they should not be shy about applying for help.

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“If you crash your car and you’re paying insurance, you generally file a complaint,” Evermore said. Likewise, with unemployment insurance, she said, “You paid for it, you should get some money back.”

Here’s what you need to know about the benefits.

When can I apply for unemployment after layoff?

“As soon as you leave your job, you should be on your way to the unemployment insurance office,” Evermore said.

In some states, it can take weeks for your claim to be approved, so the earlier you file the better.

While most states have a one-week waiting period before they can start paying you benefits, Evermore said, you don’t have to wait to request a waiver.

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Where do I apply for unemployment?

Do I qualify for unemployment benefits?

In general, to be eligible for unemployment benefits, Evermore said, you must be laid off through no fault of your own. Maybe the job just wasn’t right for you, or your company was downsizing.

But it doesn’t hurt to apply even if you’re not sure if you qualify, Evermore said. She said many people exclude themselves from the program prematurely: “There are a lot of myths about who qualifies.”

People may be surprised to learn, for example, that in some cases they can qualify for unemployment benefits even if they quit, Evermore explained.

For example, in some states, you qualify for the benefit if you chose to leave your job after your employer required you to move to a location where your commute would be too long, or if you had to leave your job because a partner’s job was transferred.

What are the program requirements?

To receive and continue to receive unemployment benefits, Evermore said, you must be able to work and be actively looking for new work.

She added that states have different ways of making sure you are looking for work. In some cases, you’ll be responsible for keeping a record of your job search efforts yourself, and in other states, you’ll have to contact your state unemployment office and share jobs you’ve applied to on a regular basis.

“In some states, you can also report looking for work online,” Evermore added.

When you apply for benefits, be sure to find out how you meet any requirements in your state.

Are unemployment benefits taxable?

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Yes, he always said: Benefits are subject to federal taxation, and most states take them, too.

When you begin receiving unemployment payments, your state will usually give you the option to withhold taxes.

“I always made that choice,” Evermore said. “You could be in a prolonged period of unemployment and then run into a big tax bill.”

What is the usual weekly interest?

In the third quarter of 2022, the average weekly unemployment benefit was close $385. But there is a huge range in payments by country. For example, in Washington state, the interest was about $600 over that period. In West Virginia, it was about $305.

There are other resources, too, for people who are struggling financially because of a job loss, Evermore said.

“Unemployment insurance is not the only program in the world,” Evermore said, adding that people who are unemployed can also try to apply for food stamps and other aid.

How long can I receive the interest?

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I received unemployment benefits during the pandemic. Can I qualify again?

He always said it was possible.

Workers are usually eligible for unemployment benefits for a certain period of weeks for each benefit year; Depending on how long it’s been since your last period of unemployment, and how many weeks you previously received benefits, it’s possible that you could qualify again after missing another job for at least a few more weeks and possibly for another full term.

I received severance pay. Will this affect my unemployment benefits?

In most states, if your layoff includes severance pay, your unemployment benefits will likely be reduced for the period that you are still receiving payments from your previous employer.

But, again, this depends on your state. In some cases, your severance package will have no effect on your unemployment benefits, Evermore said.

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