While the countries unemployment rate reaches 9.7 percent in the second quarter of 2009, representing over 5.6 million out-of-work Americans, the unemployment rate still represents less than half of what the unemployment rate was back in the days of the great depression - a small consolation for those people who suddenly find themselves out of work and out of money. For these unemployed Americans, being unable to support themselves and their family has turned out to be a devastating and mostly unexpected experience.
The purpose of unemployment insurance is to provide laid off workers with temporary financial assistance, assuming of course they can qualify under state law. Each state operates a separate unemployment insurance program based on federal unemployment guidelines and requirements.
For example, you will need to meet this state’s requirements for wages earned or time worked during the established period, which is referred to as the base period. This is usually the first four of the past five completed calendar quarters prior to the time your unemployment claim was first filed. However, not everyone qualifies for unemployment benefits and usually you must establish that you were rendered unemployed through no fault of your own.
When filing for unemployment you will be required to provide your local unemployment office with information such as dates of your former employment, your past wages, detailed contact information and a brief history of your employment. You must also provide complete and accurate information when filing your unemployment claim, or risk facing long delays before you can actually receive your benefits. It can take between three to four weeks to receive your first unemployment check once your completed claim has been filed and approved.
After your initial benefit term expires, usually in about 26 weeks, you will likely be required to file weekly or biweekly unemployment claims in order for your unemployment benefits to continue for extended period of time. You must also be prepared to report any income you received during your term of receiving unemployment benefits and you must also report any job offers you may have received during your benefit period.
Your local unemployment office, depending on your special field of work, might also be able to provide you with career testing and counseling to determine if you might qualify to assume other types of employment. If you have special needs arising from a physical and documented disability that prevents you from obtaining gainful employment, your local unemployment office might be able to refer you to other organizations that can help you with finding special training and job placement.
If you were terminated from your previous job for causes other then lack of work, there is a good chance your unemployment claim will be denied.
If your unemployment claim is denied, you have the legal right to file an appeal. Your previous employer can also appeal if your employer does not agree with the states determination of your eligibility to receive additional unemployment benefits.
Unemployment benefits have always been considered taxable income and must be reported on your tax returns. However, under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the first $2,400 of unemployment benefits received in the 2009 calendar year will be issued to the unemployed tax-free. Unemployment benefits received in 2008 and past years however remain fully taxable. A nice perk for troubled times.
For more information on unemployment insurance benefits, wrongful termination, labor lawyers, wage and hour guidelines, state and federal unemployment compensation, and employer liability for violations of workplace laws, continue your research at GotTrouble.com