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  • Writer's pictureDavid Manes

Tips for filing your unemployment claim

The filing of your unemployment claim can be notoriously long and grueling. Long lines, long waits and lots of paperwork. All of this will come at you during a particularly difficult time considering you have just lost your job. You will need lots of patience and a bit of tenacity. However, the process will usually benefit you in the end, so it is worth it to see it through. Below are a few general tips to make it easier for you to file your benefits and prepare for what comes during the unemployment compensation process.

What to say when filing your application

When filing your application one of the first, and one of the most important, questions will be: Explain in your own words the reason for leaving your job? There is generally not a lot of space to post an answer, so take the cue and leave it short and sweet.

Unless it is a clear cut case that you were fired from your job because you did something wrong, leave the word “fired” out of all parts of your application and any paperwork necessary for the claims filing. There are many words that are used to explain why someone became unemployed, but “fired” is usually the most loaded of them all. It insinuates that you did something wrong and that can be a basis for denying you unemployment benefits.

If you lost your job because business slowed down use the word “laid off.”  It is less likely to insinuate that you lost your job due to some misconduct. If your employer initiated the break-up use language like “discharged with no misconduct” or if you quit say “quit for good cause personal reasons.” Leave out any petty details and if the unemployment center requires more details provide them later on.

Where to file if you move

If you become unemployed in one state and then move to another you can file your claim in the new state. However, keep in mind that your benefits will be determined by the rules of the new state. The cost of the benefits will be charged to your old state, but your new state will administer them. A move will also add time to the processing of your claim, from a few days to a few weeks.

Prepare for the IRS

Unemployment benefits are taxed as income. This is important because most states do not take the step of deducting your taxes from your unemployment benefit check. However, they almost assuredly will notify the IRS and your state taxing authority. So come tax time, you may owe money on those benefits. The smart thing to do is to deduct a portion of every unemployment check and place it in a savings account so that you can pay your taxes come tax time. Remember, the IRS will be coming and we do not want you to be caught off guard.

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