Unemployment Benefits Waiting Periods and Claim Dates

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If you lose your job, and plan to file for unemployment, do so promptly. You should file the week you lose your job, as there is usually a waiting period of a week or more, before you can receive payment of benefits.

Unemployment benefits vary based on the state in which you collect from, but, in general, here is information on waiting periods for unemployment and on official claim dates. Both are important because they will impact when you will get paid and how long you can collect unemployment compensation for when you're out of work.

Unemployment Benefits Waiting Periods

Depending on your location, there may be a waiting period before unemployment benefits are paid. If that's the case, you may not be eligible to collect unemployment immediately. However, you should file your unemployment claim right away so there is no additional delay in collecting unemployment benefits.

If there is a waiting period, you will receive your first check or deposit after the waiting period is over.

What is an Unemployment Waiting Week

Many states have what is known as a "waiting period" or "waiting week" as part of the unemployment insurance laws. A waiting week occurs during the first week of unemployment when a jobless worker is eligible, but is not paid any unemployment benefits for the first week of unemployment.

In New York, for example, there is an unpaid waiting period equivalent to one week of unemployment benefits. Minnesota has a "non payable" waiting week before benefits can be collected.

In some locations, the waiting week benefits will be paid at the end of the claim.

Check with your state unemployment office website for information on an unemployment waiting period in your location.

Unemployment Claim Dates

The Unemployment Department of your state will determine your eligibility, based on information received from you and your former employer.

The unemployment claim date is the day on which you are eligible to start receiving benefits.  

While receiving unemployment, you need to be actively willing to work, and looking for work, definitions of which vary by state.

The unemployment claim date is also referred to as the "Effective Date" of your claim. This date is used to determine the number of weeks that you have been receiving benefits, and the start date of your eligibility.

Qualifying for Unemployment

Unemployment Resources