Required Information to File an Unemployment Claim

Unemployment paperwork
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When you’ve lost your job, it’s important to get all the information you need to file an unemployment claim ready. That way, you’ll be able to go online and file your claim right away. Missing information will hold up receiving unemployment benefits. What information do you need to have ready to file for unemployment compensation?

What Do You Need to File an Unemployment Claim?

You will need detailed information about yourself and about your previous employer(s) to open an unemployment claim, including contact information, dates of employment, and personal identification information.

How much will you be paid? Unemployment compensation in some states may be as high as half of your previous earnings. In other locations, it’s less. Unemployment compensation is considered income and is taxable by the IRS, and like normal paychecks, you can usually decide to have taxes taken in advance, or later in the year.

Most state office websites have user-friendly calculators that can give you a general idea of what benefit amount you could receive.  Here's how to calculate your unemployment benefits.

 While unemployment compensation values range from state to state, every state requires you to disclose and prove the same information.

The information required may vary from state to state, so check your state unemployment website before you apply.

Information Required to File an Unemployment Claim

  • Your Social Security number.
  • Your driver's license or motor vehicle ID card number (if you have one).
  • Your complete mailing address, including street, city, state, and zip code.
  • A telephone number where you can be contacted during business hours.
  • If you are not a U.S. Citizen, your Alien Registration card number (if you have a card).
  • The full company names and addresses of all employers that you worked for in the last two years, including employers located in another state.
  • The Employer Registration number or Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) of your most recent employer (if you have either).
  • If you were a federal employee, copies of forms SF8 and SF50, if you had federal employment within the last 18 months.
  • If you are a service member, your copy of your most recent separation form DD 214, if you are an ex-service member claiming benefits based on your military service.
  • If you are unable to print a confirmation of your unemployment claim, have a pen and paper available to write down your claim information.
  • For states that allow direct deposit of your weekly unemployment benefits into your bank account, you must have a check available in order to enter your bank routing and checking account numbers.
  • In states that use debit cards to provide unemployment benefits, you will receive information on the card, how it works, and when you will receive it.

When and How to File a Claim

After preparing all the necessary documents, you should contact your state unemployment office. You should not wait to file your claim. It can take several weeks before the first check is issued, so waiting will only delay the process. The sooner you file, the sooner you claim will be processed, so you can start receiving unemployment checks or deposits.

 

Most states allow you to file online or over the phone, while others require you to come in and physically file for unemployment. Depending on your benefit amount and schedule, you may receive payments weekly or bi-weekly. Be sure to file for the correct schedule, so you do not miss any benefits for which you are eligible. 

Finally, you should register with your state’s job services office to receive notifications of available jobs in your area. All states require that you continue to actively seek work during your benefit period and you should accept an employment offer as soon as you can.

Be sure to check to see if accepting a part-time or temporary job will affect your payments as some offices allow you to work part-time in addition to receiving unemployment, depending on how much you earn.