What is Unemployment Insurance?

What is Unemployment Insurance?

You are young, lost your job, and of course, terrified. I assure you this is not the time to panic and take the first job that will hire you. There are many resources available to you; you just need to know where to look. One of these resources many people know about but have too much pride to look into is Unemployment Insurance.

Though this resource is readily available, there are multiple negative connotations connected with Unemployment Insurance. One of these connotations is related to the thought that you will be labeled as “Lazy” or an “Underachiever” when utilizing UI. What people don’t realize, however, is that Unemployment is terrifying and that the insurance is for those out of a job, through no fault of their own.

WHERE DOES THIS MONEY EVEN COME FROM?

When you apply and are eligible for Unemployment Insurance the checks you receive are either from your State (or the Federal Government if your State does not have a UI program). Even though you get the money from the State or Federal Government your Employer must pay a tax for all of their employees to cover the amount. The tax depends on the gross amount of money an employer pays its employees.

AM I EVEN ELIGIBLE? 

The Federal Government (Department of Labor) defines your eligibility if you are terminated from your company through “No fault of your own” – what does this mean exactly? In most cases, Unemployment Insurance is utilized when an individual is laid off from their job. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “48.8% of unemployed Americans were laid off July 2017.

It appears that businesses are really cutting down on who they need to hire and keep on staff, bringing out the true value of employees that they have aboard their teams. These shortages in staff number could be closely related to technology advances eliminating the need for human contact with the creation of a product.

Lay offs are not the only reason you are eligible for Unemployment Insurance, reconstruction of companies being another factor time and time again. Reconstructions such as these may occur in instances such as when the business is not bringing enough money in, or even when businesses feel the need to purge existing employees and rehire personnel that will cost them less.

If you quit your job, chances are you will not be eligible for Unemployment Insurance. Of course, there can always exceptions to this. For example, if you were being sexually harassed by a manager or co-worker, you could still be eligible for Unemployment Insurance. If you did not have an open case with workforce management your State will need you to start a case; this is for your protection and the companies.

If you are ever unsure if you are or will be eligible for unemployment insurance, please visit your state’s unemployment website to determine if you are eligible.

WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS? 

Eligibility Requirements, Coverage Limits, and Financing method is determined by the state. The federal government will come and conduct audits to make sure states are complying with federal limits, as well as to make sure no over-payments will be given. Those who are on Unemployment Insurance will typically receive 26 weeks of cash-benefits in that year. Cash-benefits are built to replace up to half of your income. States such as Massachusetts and Montana allow more than 26 weeks, but States such as Arkansas, Michigan,, S. Carolina, Missouri Idaho, Kansas, Florida, Georgia, and N. Carolina provide less than 26 weeks, some as low as 12 weeks. The following states also impose taxes on employees; Alaska, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. Taxes such as these are taken out of the employee’s checks and sent to the state they reside in.

I’M ELIGIBLE, WHAT’S NEXT?

In most States, to start the process you will need to file for Unemployment Insurance on your State’s Website. To ensure you keep your unemployment status your State will require a set of items be submitted each week. Documents to be submitted may include any jobs you have applied for, the status of multiple job applications, and contact information of the employers.

The States determine the minimum amount of positions you are required to apply for; currently, the average amount is 4 positions a week. Please note: you will have to pay or deduct income taxes on the amount you make from the Unemployment Insurance.

Receiving unemployment insurance while going to school takes a bit more documentation and effort, due to having to record your hours per week studying, all while proving that you are available for a full-time work schedule. They may call you for an interview to ensure you can manage school and a full-time work load.

BUT I AM A MILLENNIAL …

Yeah, and? When you are on unemployment insurance your first instinct is to sit, relax, and take a breather. While doing that for a day or two is a nice time to collect your thoughts, the rest of your time unemployed is the time to aggressively seeking out new job positions that will work with you and meet your individual needs.

My advice is to set an alarm every morning with the purpose of getting out and doing something. It could be as simple as walking around the neighborhood, babysit, or going to a local cafe to apply for jobs online. You need to keep active or else you have the potential to sit and sulk, this is what will turn you into the stereotypical lazy unemployed person that most “unemployment insurance holding” titles are given to.

As Millennials we need to utilize every resource given to us. Even if this means swallowing our pride and receiving Unemployment Insurance. When we are on unemployment insurance we need to prove that we will not fall into the stereotypical laziness of the unemployed but rise above and use this to our advantage.

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