How to File Weekly Unemployment Benefits Claim

An unemployment weekly claim must be submitted so that you can continue receiving benefits while you are eligible.

If you do not file weekly claims, you may not be able to get your benefits during the week that you did not file.

]State unemployment offices require that you file claims each week (or every-other week in some states) so that your eligibility can be evaluated on a regular basis.

Any time your weekly claim reveals that you are ineligible for benefits, your qualifications for the program will be denied or reevaluated.

You can claim weekly unemployment benefits by submitting a form online or over the phone in most states.

However, some states may offer additional methods for making a claim.

No matter where you live, you will need to provide similar information with your claim.

Also, you must submit it by a given deadline in order to receive payments for the week in question.

Below, learn everything you need to know about filing a weekly unemployment claim, including what sources of income and other information you are required to report.

Learn About the Information Needed to File Weekly Unemployment Claims

To receive each unemployment payment, you will need to certify your eligibility for benefits on a weekly or bi-weekly basis.

The steps for recertifying your benefits are similar to the process you competed when submitting your initial claim for assistance. When filling out a weekly claim form, you will usually be asked to affirm that you:

  • Are unemployed or that your hours have been cut.
  • Are available and able to work.
  • Are actively looking for work.
  • Are reporting wages and pension payments you may be receiving.
  • Have not refused reasonable job offers or referrals.

The unemployment office may also ask you to reaffirm the reason why you are no longer working.

No matter what questions you need to answer on a weekly unemployment claim, it is important that you respond honestly.

Giving false information in order to receive benefits is illegal. At the very least, you may become ineligible for benefits if you provide false information on your claim.

In more serious cases, you can be prosecuted for unemployment fraud, which is a felony.

What earnings do I need to report on an unemployment weekly claim?

When making an unemployment payment request, you will also need to verify any sources of income that you currently have. Pay from the following sources may need to be included on your claim:

  • Wages
  • Tips
  • Sick pay
  • Vacation pay
  • Bonuses
  • Holiday pay
  • Worker’s compensation
  • Severance or termination pay
  • Strike pay
  • Cash
  • Allowances for meals or lodging
  • Any other source of income

The rules for reporting income vary by state, but you should be prepared to enter information on any source of income that the unemployment office requests.

When reporting income, it is important to note that some sources of income must be fully deducted from your unemployment weekly benefits, while other sources can be partially deducted.

If you receive vacation pay, worker’s compensation or get funds from a pension or retirement account, these sources of income are usually fully deductible from your benefit payment.

In other words, if you receive $100 in fully deductible income and your weekly unemployment benefits are $400, you must deduct the full $100 from your benefits, leaving you with a benefit payment of $300.

Related Article: How to Organize Your Job Search

Wages, holiday pay, tips, strike pay and compensation for meals or lodging are examples of partially-deductible sources of income.

Each state has its own calculation for deducting wages and other sources of payment from your benefit amount. Some states may even allow you to earn a percentage of your unemployment payments before your benefits will be reduced.

For example, if you receive $400 in benefits and your state lets you earn up to 25 percent of your weekly benefits, you can receive $100 in wages or other income before the state will reduce your weekly benefits. Always check with your state to learn its exact policies, as the rules will vary based on where you live.

When to File a Weekly Unemployment Claim

Many states allow you to make a weekly unemployment claim during business hours Monday through Friday and during certain hours on Sundays.

Most of the time, it does not matter whether you are filing an unemployment weekly claim online, over the phone or using any other method.

Claims can only be submitted during the designated hours no matter which method you use.

Some states have very specific instructions for when to file a claim.

For example, you may need to file weekly unemployment claims no sooner than one week after the week for which you are claiming benefits, and no later than two weeks after the benefit week.

In other words, if you want to receive benefits for the first week in January, your state may require you to wait until the second week of January to claim those benefits.

In such cases, note that you will be ineligible to receive benefits if you wait too long to file for any given week in your benefit period.

Many states have an unemployment waiting week, during which time you cannot receive any benefits. Most of the time, the waiting week for unemployment only applies during the first week that you have requested benefits. After you are approved, you can usually receive benefits with no delay each time you submit a weekly claim.

However, benefits may not be distributed to your account immediately due to payment processing times, which vary from one state to the next.

How to Restart a Weekly Unemployment Claim

If you stop submitting your unemployment weekly claim for any reason, such as getting a job, you can always restart your claim if your circumstances change.

You will need to submit a claim for a week of benefits once the work week is over. In terms of unemployment, the work week starts on Sunday and ends on Saturday.

Some states allow you to restart your claim online or over the phone by completing the same steps you took to submit your other weekly claims.

However, if it has been too long between claims, some states may require you to restart the process by submitting a new initial claim.

In any case, you cannot restart your claim for weekly unemployment benefits if you have already received benefits for the maximum amount of time per benefit year.

In most states, you are only allowed to claim benefits for up to 26 weeks or less per year. In such cases, if you have already received 26 weeks of unemployment, you cannot restart a claim this year.

Related Article: Continued Requirements for Unemployment Benefits

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