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Unemployment Benefits

What is the definition of unemployment?

The Unemployment Insurance (UI) programs in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands are overseen by the Department of Labor. Unemployment benefits are provided by these states/jurisdictions to eligible workers who are unemployed due to no fault of their own and meet other eligibility standards.

Who qualifies for unemployment benefits?

You must meet all of the following requirements to be eligible for this benefit program:

Be jobless due to no fault of your own; and Have worked for a set period of time, usually 18 months; and Have earned a minimum pay set by each state; and Actively seek work during each week you receive benefits.

States may have their own set of regulations, which are governed by state law.

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How can I submit an application for unemployment benefits?

Please use the Career One Stop Service Locator to locate information about a specific state or territory.

Do you need to file for unemployment benefits or learn more about them?

Unemployment insurance is administered by each state separately. Many require you to file for unemployment benefits online, and others offer toll-free numbers or other means of obtaining help with the process. In these FAQs concerning unemployment insurance, you’ll find further information, including COVID-19 updates.

Update on September 6, 2021: Extended federal unemployment benefits expired on September 6, 2021, although individuals are still eligible for state unemployment benefits.

Choose your state from the list below to file a report and learn more, including information regarding updates.


What is the best way for me to get in touch with someone?

For additional information on state agencies that handle unemployment claims, go to the Career One Stop website’s America’s Service Finder and select the state where you want to file your claim.

You can also contact us by phone at 1-866-487-2365.

Individuals that are experiencing difficulties




If you need information on eligibility for unemployment benefits, you can find information here.

These extended federal unemployment benefits expire on September 4, 2021. These were created during the pandemic, including PUA, PEUC and FPUC. Any funds remaining in your unemployment account that are related to these programs will not be available for certification or payment for weeks of unemployment that have ended after that date, by Federal law. 


Note that you may be able to receive benefits for weeks of unemployment that ended before that date, depending on your weekly certification responses. If you are currently in an appeal or adjudication process or have an appointment scheduled after September 4, continue to certify weekly by following the instructions and monitor your email.

If you would like more information about available additions or extensions to unemployment benefits, you should refer to the information below.

When you first apply for unemployment insurance benefits, a number of factors are analyzed to see if you qualify. 

They need to know why you are out of work and whether your current earnings meet the minimum required by law. 

After you first qualify for benefits, you will have to meet certain additional requirements in order to continue receiving them.

Many workers have their own unique qualifications. If you are self-employed and do not pay unemployment insurance through your paycheck, you may not be eligible for benefits.

To receive benefits and continue to do so each week, you must also be available for work, actively looking for work, and not have turned down a job offer that is right for you.

Therefore, you must be looking for a new job and be able to accept an offer when it comes your way. If you will not be able to work because you have to care for family members or are physically unable to accept work, you will probably not be eligible for benefits. 

You must also keep your appointments. If you are scheduled for an in-person meeting or interview, you must show up at the scheduled time. If you are scheduled for a telephone interview, every effort will be made to call at the scheduled time, for which you must be available for 2 hours. If you miss an appointment, you may be denied your benefit payment for that week.