Unemployment Insurance Benefits Program

  Click on any state to view unemployment insurance information


Alabama Alaska Arizona Arkansas California
UI Program Colorado Connecticut Delaware DC Florida
Eligibility Georgia Hawaii Idaho Illinois Indiana
Filing a claim Iowa Kansas Kentucky Louisiana Maine
Continued eligibility Maryland Massachusetts  Michigan Minnesota Mississippi
Registering for work Missouri Montana Nebraska Nevada New Hampshire
Disqualification New Jersey New Mexico New York  North Carolina North Dakota
Benefits Ohio Oklahoma Oregon Pennsylvania Puerto Rico
Benefit denials Rhode Island South Carolina South Dakota  Tennessee Texas
UI extended benefits Utah Vermont Virgin Island Virginia West Virginia
Self Employment Washington Wisconsin Wyoming    
Withholding Tax Info on UI Benefit Payments

Unemployment Insurance Program

According to the United States Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration, the Federal-State Unemployment Insurance Program provides unemployment benefits to eligible workers who are unemployed through no fault of their own (as determined under State law), and meet other eligibility requirements of State law. However, the Federal Government has no authority to intervene in individual claims for benefits. In general: 

State UI Tax Information and Assistance
Unemployment Insurance Tax
  • Unemployment insurance payments (benefits) are intended to provide temporary financial assistance to unemployed workers who meet the requirements of State law.

  • Each State administers a separate unemployment insurance program within guidelines established by Federal law.

  • Eligibility for unemployment insurance, benefit amounts and the length of time benefits are available are determined by the State law under which unemployment insurance claims are established.

  • In the majority of States, benefit funding is based solely on a tax imposed on employers. (Three (3) States require minimal employee contributions.)

  • For additional information, click here. (back to Topics)


1. You must meet the State requirements for wages earned or time worked during an established period of time referred to as a "base period". (In most States, this is usually the first four out of the last five completed calendar quarters prior to the time that your claim is filed.)

2. You must be determined to be unemployed through no fault of your own (determined under State law), and meet other eligibility requirements of State law. (back to Topics) 

Filing a Claim

  • You should contact the State Unemployment Insurance agency as soon as possible after becoming unemployed. In some States, you can now file a claim by telephone or over the Internet.

  • When you file a claim, you will be asked for certain information, such as addresses and dates of your former employment. To make sure your claim is not delayed, be sure to give complete and correct information.

  • Generally, you should file your claim with the state where you worked. If you worked in a state other than the one where you now live or if you worked in multiple states, the state UI agency where you now live can provide information about how to file your claim with other states. You may also click on the link above to find contact information for all states.

  • It generally takes two to three weeks after you file your claim to receive your first benefit check. Some States require a one-week waiting period; therefore, the second week claimed is the first week of payment, if you are otherwise eligible. (back to Topics) 

Continued Eligibility

  • You must file weekly or biweekly claims (after the week(s) has ended), and respond to questions concerning your continued eligibility. You must report any earnings from work you had during the week(s). You must also report any job offers or refusal of work during the week. These claims are usually filed by mail or telephone; the State will provide filing instructions.

  • When directed, you must report to your local Unemployment Insurance Claims Office or One-Stop/Employment Service Office on the day and at the time you are scheduled to do so. If you fail to report as scheduled for any interview, benefits may be denied.

  • You must continue to meet the eligibility requirements stated in the previous section. (back to Topics)

  Registering For Work

  • Claimants who file for unemployment benefits may be directed to register for work with the State Employment Service, so it can assist you in finding employment. If you are not required to register, you still may seek help in finding a job from the Employment Service.

  • The One-Stop/Employment Service Office has current labor market information and provides a wide array of re-employment services free of charge.

  • Employment Service staff can refer you to job openings in your area, or in other parts of the State or country if you are willing to relocate.

  • They can refer you to various training programs.

  • If job openings in your field are limited, they can offer testing and counseling to determine other jobs you might like to do and are able to do.

  • If you believe you have special needs or considerations, such as physical needs or other considerations, which may prevent you from getting a job, they can refer you to other agencies for help with those needs. (back to Topics)

  Disqualification from Eligibility

  • If your reason for separation from your last job is due to some reason other than a "lack of work" - a determination will be made about whether you are eligible for benefits.

  • Generally all determinations of whether or not a person is eligible for benefits are made by the appropriate State under its law or applicable federal laws.

  • If you are disqualified/denied benefits, you have the right to file an appeal. The State will advise you of your appeal rights. You must file your appeal within an established time frame. Your employer may also appeal a determination if he/she does not agree with the State's determination regarding your eligibility.

  • If you've received a determination denying benefits, click here. (back to Topics)


  • In general, benefits are based on a percentage of an individual's earnings over a recent 52-week period - up to a State maximum amount.

  • Benefits can be paid for a maximum of 26 weeks in most States.

  • Additional weeks of benefits may be available during times of high unemployment (see Extended Benefits). Some States provide additional benefits for specific purposes.

  • Benefits are subject to Federal income taxes and must be reported on your Federal income tax return. You may elect to have the tax withheld by the State Unemployment Insurance agency. (back to Topics)

Benefit Denials

When can benefit payments be denied?

There are many reasons for denying benefit payments. The following is a list of some common reasons for denial:

  • Voluntarily leaving work without good cause. Benefit payments can be paid if you quit under certain circumstances depending on your state's laws.

  • Being discharged for misconduct connected with work. Misconduct is an intentional or controllable act or failure to take action, which shows a deliberate disregard of the employer's interests.

  • Not being able to work or available for work. You must be able, ready and willing to accept a suitable job.

  • Refusing an offer of suitable work.

  • Knowingly making false statements to obtain benefit payments.

What can I do if I still feel I am entitled to Unemployment Benefits?

While Federal laws pertaining to Unemployment Insurance include only broad requirements state laws must contain, it is up to each state to make determinations of eligibility based on its own laws. Only your State Workforce Agency can make a determination to pay or deny benefits.

Therefore, it is extremely important that you file an appeal and/or request reconsideration of your determination according to your state's Unemployment laws and procedures.

To find contact information for your state's Workforce Agency, click here. (back to Topics)

Unemployment Insurance Extended Benefits


Extended Benefits are available to workers who have exhausted regular unemployment insurance benefits during periods of high unemployment. The basic Extended Benefits program provides up to 13 additional weeks of benefits when a State is experiencing high unemployment. Some States have also enacted a voluntary program to pay up to 7 additional weeks (20 weeks maximum) of Extended Benefits during periods of extremely high unemployment.


Extended Benefits may start after an individual exhausts other unemployment insurance benefits.

Not everyone who qualified for regular benefits qualifies for Extended Benefits. The State agency will advise you of your eligibility for Extended Benefits.


The weekly benefit amount of Extended Benefits is the same as the individual received for regular unemployment compensation.

The total amount of Extended Benefits that an individual could receive may be fewer than 13 weeks (or fewer than 20 weeks).

Filing A Claim

When a State begins an Extended Benefit period, it notifies those who have received all of their regular benefits that they may be eligible for Extended Benefits. You may contact the State Unemployment Insurance agency to ask whether Extended Benefits are available. (back to Topics) 

Self-Employment Assistance


Self-Employment Assistance offers dislocated workers the opportunity for early re-employment. The program is designed to encourage and enable unemployed workers to create their own jobs by starting their own small businesses. Under these programs, States can pay a self-employed allowance, instead of regular unemployment insurance benefits, to help unemployed workers while they are establishing businesses and becoming self-employed. Participants receive weekly allowances while they are getting their businesses off the ground.

This is a voluntary program for States and, to date, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Oregon and Pennsylvania have Self-Employment Assistance programs. The State Workforce Agency web sites for these states can be accessed here.


Generally, in order to receive these benefits, an individual must first be eligible to receive regular unemployment insurance under State law. Individuals who have been permanently laid off from their previous jobs and are identified (through a State's profiling system) as likely to exhaust regular unemployment benefits are eligible to participate in the program.

Individuals may be eligible even if they are engaged full-time in self-employment activities - including entrepreneurial training, business counseling, and technical assistance.


Self-employment allowances are the same weekly amounts as the worker's regular unemployment insurance benefits. Participants work full-time on starting their business instead of looking for wage and salary jobs.

Filing A Claim

You should contact the State Unemployment Insurance agency as soon as possible after becoming unemployed. At the time you file your claim you should ask whether a Self-Employment Assistance program operates in your State.  (back to Topics)

Withholding Tax Information on UI Benefit Payments

  • All UI benefits received after 1978 are taxable as income by the Internal Revenue Service.

  • On December 8, 1994, Public Law 103-465, known as the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), was signed into law by the President. GATT required States to implement a program offering claimants for unemployment benefits the option of having Federal Income taxes withheld from their benefit payments, versus having to pay the entire amount, when filing their tax returns. Claimants were given this option beginning with tax year 1997.

  • Effective 8/7/01: a flat Federal tax rate of 10% of the benefits paid can be withheld from each payment at the claimant's request.

  • Internal Revenue Service Form 1099G must be provided by the State to the claimant by January 31, showing the total amount of benefits paid and the amount of taxes withheld for the previous tax year.

  • References include: UIPL 38-01; UIPL 10-99; UIPL 32-96; UIPL 17-95 and UIPL 17-95, Change 1; Section 702 of Public Law (PL) 103-465; Section 11, Internal Revenue Service Publication 15, Circular E, Employer's Tax Guide; IRS Form 945, Annual Return of Withheld Federal Income Tax; and IRS Form 945-A, Annual Record of Federal Tax Liability. 

  • For more detailed tax information check here.  (back to Topics)



Use of this site is subject to the Terms of Use.   copyright 2009-2012