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How Do I Apply?

Here's how to get started applying for unemployment benefits in your state.

Note: COVID-19 / coronavirus update
Most states have made changes to their Unemployment Insurance program in order to provide benefits to more workers affected by COVID-19/Coronavirus. If your state has updated information, you’ll find it when you select your state below.

To receive unemployment benefits, you need to file a claim with the unemployment program in the state where you worked.  In general, you’ll still follow the following guidelines in order to file for unemployment benefits.

  • You should contact your state's unemployment insurance program as soon as possible after becoming unemployed. Find your state's program by selecting your state in the box below, and check with them to see if you should file a claim in person, by telephone, or online.
  • Generally, you should file your claim with the state where you worked. If you worked in a state other than the one where you now live or if you worked in multiple states, the state unemployment insurance agency where you now live can provide information about how to file your claim with other states.
  • When you file a claim, you will be asked for certain information, such as addresses and dates of your former employment. To make sure your claim is not delayed, be sure to give complete and correct information.
  • It generally takes two to three weeks after you file your claim to receive your first benefit check. Some states require a one-week waiting period; in other words, you would receive your first payment for the second week of your unemployment claim. Note: in March 2020, most states began waiving the one-week waiting period.