You may want to apply for unemployment benefits if you recently lost your job. This state-managed unemployment insurance (UI) program can provide you with critical assistance while you search for new work opportunities. UI, which is also referred to as “unemployment compensation” (UC), is simple to apply for. However, you need to make sure you understand how and when you need to submit your application. 

When you’re ready to apply for benefits, you’ll be in contact with the unemployment office. You don’t apply through your former employer. Before you get ready to submit your unemployment claims application, make sure you are familiar with the application process. Otherwise, you may not be able to receive the assistance you need. 

When should I apply for unemployment?

“When should I file my claim with the unemployment office?” is a question you may be wondering. There is no official time period you need to be aware of in terms of when you can apply for UI benefits. In fact, you should submit your unemployment claims application as soon as possible. 

The longer you go without applying for benefits, the longer it’ll take for you to receive payment. Therefore, it’s in your best interest to apply for unemployment as soon as you lose your job. However, keep in mind that you can’t apply for UI until you are officially without work. This is true even if you know you’ll be out of work soon. 

Can I apply for benefits at an unemployment office? 

You may be able to apply for unemployment at your local UC office. However, this depends on the state you live in. Certain states may allow you to apply at an office, while others may have an option for you to submit your application by phone. Other states may allow you to apply for benefits by mail. Make sure you confirm this information with your state before you apply. 

If you do not apply using an approved method, your state unemployment office will not be able to process your materials. As a result, this will delay how long it takes for you to be considered for benefits. 

Can I apply for unemployment online? 

If you are wondering how to apply for unemployment insurance benefits, you will probably be prompted to file your application online. States usually offer this method as the most convenient option for applicants. This is because you can submit your materials from anywhere, so long as you have a secure internet connection. 

Furthermore, if you choose to apply for unemployment online, the UC office will be able to receive your application materials more quickly. This is because you won’t need to wait for your application to be sent to the office and for it to be sorted and processed. By applying online, the unemployment office can quickly receive your claim and begin assessing if you’re eligible for benefits. 

What do I need to include in my unemployment claims application? 

When you apply for unemployment compensation, there’s specific information you’ll need to include in your submission. Usually, your state UI office will require you to provide the following information in your application: 


  • Your personal information – When you apply for benefits, you need to provide your first and last name, as well as your Social Security Number (SSN). You also need to include your state ID number or the information on your driver’s license. 
  • Your work history – Generally, you need to provide your state unemployment office with a summary of your work history for the previous 18 months. You need to include who you worked for, how long you were there and why you are no longer employed there. 
  • Assorted information – If you are a veteran, are part of a union or worked for the federal government, you need to provide this information. Also, if you aren’t a U.S. citizen, you must disclose this in your application. 


Do I need to submit an unemployment weekly claim? 

Depending on the state you live in, you may need to submit unemployment claims every one or two weeks. Regardless of how often you need to submit your claim, you are responsible for providing certification on a consistent basis. You will probably have the option of filing your claim online. However, you may also be able to do so by phone. 

No matter which method you use, there is specific information you need to provide in your claim. This proves that you qualify to receive benefits through your local unemployment office. Generally, you need to submit the following information: 

  • Certification as to whether you were physically able and available to work the week you’re collecting benefits for
  • Proof of any job search activities you conducted during that week 
  • If you turned down any job offers in the week you want to receive UI for

You must be honest when you file your unemployment claims. If you don’t fill out your claim honestly, you will likely be removed from your state’s unemployment program. Furthermore, it is important that you file your claim on time whenever it’s due. Otherwise, you won’t be able to receive benefits on time.    

What do I do if the unemployment office denies my claim? 

Once you apply for unemployment insurance, your state office will determine if you’re eligible to receive benefits. Even if you believe you qualify for support, the representatives who review your claim may deny your application. If this happens to you, you have the opportunity to file an unemployment appeal. 

The determination letter you receive will come with a deadline by when you need to file your appeal. This letter will also tell you how your state requires you to file your appeal. Depending on where you live, you may need to submit your appeal by mail. 

Other times, you might be able to appeal the unemployment office decision by fax or in person. In any case, when you appeal your unemployment claims denial, you usually need to include the following information in your request: 

  • Your name, SSN and your previous employer’s name 
  • Your contact information, including your mailing address and phone number 
  • The determination you want to appeal 
  • A written summary of why you want to appeal the unemployment office’s decision
  • Your request for a translator to accompany you at the hearing if necessary