1. If you quit or were fired, you are not likely eligible.

Unemployment insurance benefits are reserved for individuals who lose their job by no fault of their own. Since the actions of the employee are what most often lead to someone quitting or being fired, you are not likely eligible to receive benefits in these cases. Certain reasons for quitting are considered “just cause” and do not make a person ineligible for unemployment benefits. An example of this would be quitting due to discrimination or a sharp reduction in pay or hours. If you can prove you were fired by no fault of your own, you may be eligible to receive unemployment benefits. An example of this would be losing your job because you lacked the skills necessary to perform it.

2. Receiving benefits takes some time.

Generally, you will receive your first unemployment check 2-3 weeks after filing your claim. To make certain the process goes as smoothly as possible, it is important to provide complete and accurate information on your initial claim. You can expect to complete a phone interview before your claim is approved. Making yourself available to take the call will result in speedier processing.

3. Unemployment benefits extend beyond a check.

After your unemployment insurance claim is approved, you will likely be referred to an American Job Center for job search assistance. It is your responsibility to actively seek work while receiving unemployment checks and the center is there to help—offering a wide variety of employment services to help your find your next career.

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4. Accuracy matters.

Filling out weekly claims can become tedious, but it’s important to take your time and submit all information correctly. Even an honest mistake can be a red flag for fraud and cause benefit payments to be stopped. Though these issues are often cleared up, it can take weeks to begin receiving your benefit check again. Double check your work, answer all questions and report all income and hours worked on every claim to ensure your remain eligible to receive payments.

5. Fraud can be tempting, but it’s not worth it.

Unemployment fraud is not taken lightly. State Unemployment Agencies are constantly employing new ways to detect fraud. If you are found to have made a fraudulent claim, misdemeanor or felony charges can be brought against you, which may result in jail time. Avoid fraud by always providing accurate information and answering claim questions truthfully.