Unemployment Insurance has a big stigma behind it. Some people refuse to pursue unemployment payments after a job loss. Some rack up credit card or other debt while they look for a new job. If you lose your job, you should file for unemployment insurance. It’s a program you pay for as part of your paycheck when working and absolutely something you should pursue immediately after a job loss. There’s requirements to be met before receiving payments, but that should not stop you from applying.
"Cast all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you." 1 Peter 5:7 ESV
Here’s some myths about filing for unemployment that I’ve heard:
Unemployment is not for the middle class
If Bill Gates got a job and was laid off, he could apply for unemployment. There is no maximum net worth or income that could disqualify you. There is an upper limit on how much (percentagewise) of your former income you will receive, but this is only a question of the amount of support.
Part-Time work does not qualify
Unemployment is not just for full time jobs that have gone away. You can be eligible for a separation from part-time work too. The program in your state will have more specific requirements for eligibility, but don’t let a less than 40 hour a week job prevent you from pursing assistance.
My now former employer can deny my claim
Your former employer has no say so in the matter. It’s up to the department in your state that administers the program to make the final say. Now, your former company may choose to dispute your claim and advocate for the government to avoid paying more into the program. That is entirely possible and it’s something that is often overcome.
I should wait and see if my family needs it
Do not wait. File an application right away. There can be delays with your application. There’s also a period after you’re approved before you receive the first support payment. Even in the best case, there’s waiting involved so start the process right away.
I’ll have to go somewhere for paperwork
Almost all states will let you start the process online. Many states will let you complete the entire process online. The key here is to have all the information correct. Delays or denials can often be traced back to incomplete or mistaken information on the initial application.
If I take a part-time job or contract work, I’ll lose the entire benefit
This could result in a reduced benefit, but not a loss of the entire benefit. Don’t let this deter you from accepting some level of work and filing for unemployment. It’s just a matter of reporting it, which most state programs allow you to do online.
To summarize, if you lose your job, investigate filing for unemployment as one of your first steps. Remember, you do have a job. It’s just different now. Your job is to take care of your family and find a new job. This is part of that job.
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