An unemployment claim is what you need to file if you recently lost your job and need financial support. Your state’s unemployment insurance (UI) office is responsible for distributing funds to qualified workers. This program, which is also called unemployment compensation (UC), is managed by your state’s unemployment office. If you recently lost your job for reasons you couldn’t control, you may be able to receive benefits through this program. 

If you want to collect an unemployment check, there are several steps you need to take to apply. Once you’re accepted into the program, you can begin collecting benefits. Being unemployed can be difficult, but UC benefits can help you support you and your family during this time. The following sections explain how you can receive benefits and the types of assistance you could be eligible for. 

Am I eligible for benefits through the unemployment office?

Before you can apply for unemployment, you need to make sure you are eligible for benefits. Each state has its own requirements you need to meet enroll. However, eligibility criteria usually relate to the following: 


  • You are not responsible for job loss – To receive UC benefits, you can’t be unemployed for reasons you could control. This means that you’ll probably be ineligible for UI if you quit because you didn’t like your job or if you were fired due to misconduct. 
  • You worked and earned enough in previous months to qualify – UI caseworkers will assess your earnings and work history to determine if you can receive benefits. If you earned enough money and worked enough hours, you could be eligible for UC. 
  • You’re physically able to work – If you have a disability and can’t work immediately, you probably won’t be able to collect an unemployment check. 
  • You’re looking for job opportunities – You need to be actively looking for work to qualify for UI. Otherwise, you won’t be able to receive benefits. 


What benefits can I receive through my unemployment claims? 

The unemployment office gives financial benefits to qualifying applicants. If you’re eligible to enroll in this program, you can expect to receive monetary support. These funds are awarded throughout the month, and you can use them to help you support you and your household while you’re out of work. 

While these benefits can provide great assistance to you during your unemployment claims period, it’s important that you’re still actively looking for your next job. Not only is this required to receive UI, but it’ll help you in the upcoming weeks or months. 

States have limits regarding how long you can enroll in UC. Once you reach that limit, you won’t be able to collect any more checks. This is true whether you have a new job or not. To avoid falling into any more financial hardship, make sure you’re actively looking for jobs while you receive unemployment benefits. 

Once I apply for unemployment, can I begin collecting benefits? 

Once you apply for unemployment online or by using another method, you will then learn if you qualify to receive benefits. However, remember that you won’t be able to begin collecting benefits right away. This is because you need to serve a waiting week. A waiting week is the first week you’re eligible to collect benefits. 


While you won’t receive payment for this first unemployment weekly claim you file, you still need to meet all the eligibility requirements for that week. States have their own specific requirements you need to meet once you’re enrolled in UC, so make sure you’re aware of these criteria. 

How do I receive my unemployment office benefits each week? 

After you’re accepted into your state’s UI program, you need to file unemployment claims each week you want payment for. Some states may require you to submit your claim to the unemployment office each week, while others may require you to do this every two weeks. Make sure you understand what your state expects so you don’t miss out on payment.

Your state should have a website you can go to where you can file your claim each week. Your state should also have a phone option you can take advantage of. With this method, you’ll either speak with a UC representative or use an automated service. Regardless, you’ll have a designated time when you need to submit your unemployment weekly claim. 

What should I include in my unemployment weekly claim? 

You will need to submit specific information along with your unemployment weekly claim. To receive program benefits, you’ll need to provide the following information each week you want to collect your unemployment check: 


  • Work availability – To receive UC benefits, you need to be available to work. When you file your weekly claim for benefits, you need to certify that you didn’t have any scheduling issues during that week that would’ve prevented you from working. 
  • Willingness to work – When you request your weekly payment, you need to verify that you’re willing to work. If you were offered any jobs during the week you’re claiming benefits for, you need to report specific information about the position and why you turned it down. 
  • Job search efforts – Each week you want to collect benefits, you’ll need to inform your state unemployment office of your recent work search activities. States may have specific requirements you need to meet, such as completing a certain number of qualifying tasks each week. 


How much will my unemployment check be? 

Representatives at your state unemployment office are responsible for determining the amount you will receive each week. While you can use an online unemployment calculator to help you estimate how much you’ll be entitled to, it’s best to wait and receive an official number from the UI office.

Your unemployment check amount is based on several different factors. First, it’s important that you remember your state has a minimum and maximum amount it can pay you when you receive UC. This is usually based on average earnings for the state. Second, the specific unemployment claims amount you’ll be able to receive is based on your earnings history. In fact, the UI office will look at how much you earned in the first four of the five most recent calendar quarters. With this information, the office will decide how much you can collect in UC benefits.