one girl’s guide to surviving unemployment

now that you’ve gotten that out of your system: filing for unemployment

Listened to all of your AC/DC albums and cried until all the tissues in your house were gone?  Good.  The second thing you need to do is to file for unemployment benefits.  Take cake of this as soon as you possibly can, as it will take time for your former employer to fill out paperwork and for your state unemployment board to review the claim.

Look, don’t be shy or embarrassed or bothered about applying for unemployment.  YOU paid into this fund when you were employed. It’s your money.

Filing for unemployment assumes a few basic things:

1. You weren’t fired for “cause,”
2. You were employed full-time,
3. You are physically able to work,
4. and you are not working under a temporary visa. 

I’m not a lawyer, so you will definitely want to check your applicable unemployment office for more details on eligibility.

As to applicable offices, according to the Department of Labor, when you file for unemployment it’s generally in the state in which you worked.  For example, let’s say that you lived in Pennsylvania, but worked in Delaware.  Chances are, you’re going to need to go through the Delaware office.

The good news is that most states now have online systems for applying for unemployment benefits, as well for as the weekly/biweekly check-in.  Don’t have regular Web access?  Borrow a friend’s computer or go to the public library. Worse comes to worse, you can also check-in via phone.

Even better than not having to trek out to the unemployment office to take care of all the paperwork?  Most regions now offer direct deposit of your unemployment funds.  No trip to the bank!

Don’t worry too much if it takes a few weeks to receive your first payment.  Given the state of today’s economy, many state unemployment offices are back-logged.  In some cases, you may actually receive retroactive payment – meaning one check for all the weeks that you were back-due.

Now, unemployment may not cover all of your expenses – I don’t know a single person for whom it does.  That’s OK, as you’re going to get creative when it comes to expenses. 

More on that later.

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