If you are experiencing hardship because you lost your job or your hours were reduced, you may qualify for cash assistance to help you through these tough times. Learn about this type of cash assistance that the government offers and the requirements you need to meet below.

When you lose your job through no fault of your own or quit your job due to personal illness, disability or other qualifying reasons, you can file for unemployment with your state. That’s because the federal government does provide funds to state employment departments that distribute unemployment benefits to residents.

Lost Your Job? Unemployment Insurance May Help You

Depending on the state you live in, the application methods will be available. Some allow applicants to present information and documentation in person or over the phone, while others provide an online application option for residents.

As part of the application process, you will need to share information about the types of employment you had over the last 18 months, including among other things, the dates of employment, the name of your employers and the amount of gross wages you earned.

The amount you receive for unemployment can vary by state, but thanks to the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, you may be able to receive larger payments. Bear in mind that in order to estimate unemployment benefits should include overtime, vacation pays, commissions, bonuses and severance pay.

It’s also important to note that there is a maximum amount you can receive from unemployment in a given year, and you typically receive Unemployment Insurance for up to six months.

Once you apply and start receiving unemployment insurance payments, you must file a biweekly claim (or weekly in some states). You can also typically choose whether you get unemployment through direct deposit, through a state-issued prepaid card, or a check.

In order to qualify for and keep receiving unemployment insurance, you must:

  •  Be unemployed through no fault of your own.
  •  Have a certain amount of work history.
  •  Earn a minimum amount of wages over your work history.
  • Continue to seek work by submitting applications.
  • Not be self-employed.

Your state may have additional requirements, so be sure to consult your state’s department of employment or workers to determine if you qualify.