Recently unemployed? Now what?

Recently unemployed? Now what?

Elyssa Duncan
Community Specialist
April 8, 2020

Getting laid off can be a tough pill to swallow, and during the Coronavirus pandemic, it can be even tougher. While you might feel disappointed or discouraged, it's important to remember that this is not forever, and there are systems in place to support you.

Understandably, navigating responsibilities and obligations like paying bills and feeding your family without an income, can be overwhelming - especially during a difficult time where new opportunities aren't around every corner.

The upside is that unemployment benefits may be available to help. We have pulled together a few things you need to know about unemployment benefits, including if you're eligible, how to file a claim and how to collect.

What are unemployment benefits?

When you lose your job, you may be entitled to collect unemployment benefits. These are a percentage of your wages through a joint state-federal program called Unemployment Insurance (UI.) If eligible, UI provides temporary financial aid while you are job searching.

How do I know if I'm eligible for UE benefits?

Determining whether or not you're eligible to collect unemployment benefits is the first step. It depends on several factors, including:

  • How you lost your job
  • How long you were at your job
  • How much you made
  • Whether you still work part- or full-time
  • The state-specific rules of your local unemployment office

Generally, you must be out of work through no fault of your own. This means that if you were laid off due to the Coronavirus, for example, you may be eligible for unemployment. If you were fired for conducting unlawful behavior in the workplace or you voluntarily quit, however, you may not qualify.

How do I collect unemployment?

To collect unemployment benefits, you must be able to prove that

  1. Your unemployment is temporary
  2. You are able and available to work, and
  3. You are actively seeking work

If during unemployment, you're injured or tending to other responsibilities that may prevent you from accepting a job offer, you may be ineligible to receive benefits.

Coronavirus Update: It's important to note that eligibility has been extended to those who are unemployed, partially unemployed or unable to work due to COVID-19 and do not qualify for traditional benefits.

You can contact your state's Division of Unemployment Insurance to learn your state-specific rules and regulations as well as apply.

How do I file for unemployment?

This can take time, so patience is key! Each state has its own process, but in general, they require you to file electronically or over the phone and provide the following:

  • Your contact information
  • Your identification information including your social security number and a driver's license or ID card number
  • The contact information of your former employers for the last 18 months
  • The dates of your former employment
  • Proof of your previous income (i.e. paystubs)

You'll want to make sure that you have all of the necessary materials on hand first before you try to file an unemployment claim.

If applicable, you may need to share

  • Your Alien Registration card number (for non-U.S. citizens)
  • Copies of SF8 and SF50 Forms (for federal employees)
  • Separation Form DD214 (for those in the military)

Once you have all of your materials ready, visit your state's Division of Unemployment Insurance o file your claim. You will create an account, log in with your credentials and complete the application.

For more information, check out our Navigating Unemployment article where you visit your state page for specific information and updates.

Which unemployment benefits will I receive—and for how long?

Typically, unemployment benefits average around $200 to $550 a week and replace about 40% of your income.

Most states will allow you to receive benefits for anywhere between 12 and 28 weeks, though they may end earlier if you become ineligible along the way.

Coronavirus Update: In response to the COVID-19 pandemic

  • Jobless workers will also receive an extra $600 per week on top of their state benefits for up to four months
  • There is an extended benefit up to 13 weeks atop state programs. As of now, extended benefits and the pandemic program will end by December 31, 2020.

I filed, now what?

Since there's no way of knowing how long you will be unemployed and your income is now significantly less... it's important to plan for the future and budget your money.

  • Revisit your accounts and see where you stand
  • Cut down on your expenses to only what is necessary for the time being
  • Put together a list of all the bills you currently pay such as car payments, student loans, rent, mortgage, groceries, etc. that are non-negotiable
  • Cancel anything that isn't essential and focus on the more important bills
  • Also, be sure to update your resume and begin to search for work here on Jobcase. You can even search for work from home positions!

Why me?

While losing your job can be discouraging, rest assured that you're not alone. Due to COVID-19, over 10 million Americans have filed for unemployment benefits in March alone. There are many people here in the Jobcase Community who feel just like you do, so be sure to reach out, connect and say hello. Similarly, reach out to your local community, family/friends and those around you who are experiencing the same difficulties. We WILL get through this together!

Be sure to follow our #Unemployment, #Coronavirus and #Motivation topics for more tips and information. Let us know how we can help!



Jamie Luongo

my state of MA. I did not make enough in the last quarter of 2019, I started job in Nov 2019, and they claim you need to make 5,200,minimal to qualify, and that in MA. many won't get. I thought that my Governor said that all would be qualified, to receive unemployment, and the additional $600. UGH! Now I get nothing!! HELP!!!

1 Like
Nick Bartell

Derek Goolsby

So Theres a woman on here named Sarah and she said to email They said due to a server error my profile needs to be done and asked me for my card # and Dob and this support team legit or is this a scam?

1 Like