Your weekly unemployment claims are what make it possible for you to receive unemployment compensation (UC) while you are enrolled in the program. Each week, you need to submit specific information to prove you qualify for benefits for that particular week. If you do not file your claim properly, you may not be able to receive benefits during that week.

UC, which is also called “unemployment insurance” (UI), is managed by individual states. However, there are many similarities between these programs. This means that while the specific requirements may vary to submit your unemployment weekly claim, the overall process is the same. Therefore, if you have questions about how you are going to file your weekly claim with the unemployment office, review the following information. By preparing in advance, you can make sure you are ready with all the information you need to submit your claims on time. Otherwise, you may experience delays in payment if you’re late.

Why do I need to file weekly unemployment claims?

The state you live in decides if you need to submit your unemployment claims every week or every two weeks. Regardless of how often you are required to file these claims, these certification reports serve the same purpose. When you are approved to receive UI benefits, this shows that the circumstances surrounding your unemployment qualify you to collect UI.

However, each week you are unemployed, you need to meet certain requirements to prove you’re maintaining your UC eligibility. By submitting a weekly unemployment claim, you certify that you are meeting the requirements you need to keep receiving benefits.

Each state has its own specific criteria you need to meet to collect UI payment. However, these requirements usually relate to:

  • Whether or not you were able and willing to work during the week you want to collect benefits for.
  • If you turned down any viable job offers during the week you’re collecting on.
  • Whether you complete your state’s work search requirements for a specific week.

How do I file my unemployment weekly claim?

The simplest way you can submit your unemployment claims is by doing so online. States have separate sites you can use when it is time for you to submit your information. Therefore, you should make sure you are using the site that corresponds to the state you are applying in.

However, if you do not want to submit your unemployment weekly claim online, there are other ways you can file it. You can also file your claim by phone. The state you live in will have a specific number you need to call to request benefits this way. If you use this method, keep in mind that you may have the opportunity to speak with an agent and request benefits or use an automated answering system.

The methods you can use depends on the time you are applying and the state you are applying in. If you have questions about which of these ways you should use to apply for benefits, contact your unemployment office.

When do I need to file my weekly claim with the unemployment office?

Depending on where you live, you may need to file your unemployment claims every one or two weeks. Your state will also have specific rules about the day of the week when you can submit your certification. When you are approved to begin receiving benefits, you will likely be given a day each week or two when you need to submit your claim.

You must keep track of the day your unemployment office assigns you. If you are late to file your claim, you will probably experience delays when it comes time receiving payment.

What information do I include in my unemployment claims?

When you file your weekly unemployment claim, there is specific information you need to include. Most of this relates to your work search efforts during the week you are claiming benefits for. In order to collect UI benefits, you need to be constantly searching for new job opportunities.

As you complete these job search tasks, you need to report them to your local unemployment office on your weekly claim. Depending on the state, you will probably need to include the following information on your claims:

  • If you applied for any jobs – Your state will give you a list of qualifying work search tasks you can complete to meet the state’s requirements. Applying for specific job postings counts, so you should include a list of any positions you’ve recently applied for when you submit your weekly claim.
  • How many potential employers you have contacted – States may have a requirement regarding how many employers you need to contact during your UI enrollment week. If so, you need to include this information in your report to the unemployment office each week.
  • Who you have contacted and how you reached out to them  – Your state UC office will likely need to know who you reached out to at specific companies. They will also want to know how you contacted potential employers. Be sure to include this information in your work search logs each week.


Additionally, you will need to certify each week that you are physically able to work and actively searching for employment opportunities. If you cannot truthfully make these claims, you might not be able to receive benefits during the week you are looking to collect for.

Do I receive benefits the first week I file my unemployment weekly claim?

The unemployment office will not pay you the first week you are eligible for benefits. This is referred to as a “waiting week.” You will not be able to receive benefits during this time, but you still need to submit your claim and meet all of your state’s requirements. If you continue to meet the eligibility criteria, you can collect UC during the second week you qualify.

How many weeks can I receive benefits from the unemployment office?

Your unemployment office determines how long you can receive benefits. Each state has its own limits regarding how long you can receive UC support. In some states, you can collect benefits for as many as 28 weeks. Other states only allow you to file unemployment claims for 12 or 14 weeks.

However, the majority of states allow you to enroll for 26 weeks. Make sure you know your state’s maximum enrollment periods before you begin receiving benefits. Otherwise, you may run out of benefits before you find a new job.