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What is Unemployment Insurance?

Unemployment Insurance is a joint state-federal program that provides cash benefits to eligible workers.

Each state administers a separate unemployment insurance program, but all states follow the same guidelines established by federal law.

Unemployment insurance payments (benefits) are intended to provide temporary financial assistance to unemployed workers who are unemployed through no fault of their own. Each state sets its own additional requirements for eligibility, benefit amounts, and length of time benefits can be paid.

In general, benefits are based on a percentage of your earnings over a recent 52-week period, and each state sets a maximum amount. Benefits are subject to federal and most state income taxes and must be reported on your income tax return. You may choose to have the tax withheld from your payment.

If you've recently left the military, you may be eligible for Unemployment Compensation for Ex-servicemembers (UCX). You must:

  • Have been on active duty with a branch of the U.S. military.
  • Have been separated under honorable conditions.

Ask a Veterans Employment Representative at a local American Job Center if you are eligible. Bring your Form DD-214 to help.




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Employment and Training Administration