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How to File For Unemployment Online

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Thanks to the rise of the Internet, if you have been separated from your job you can go online to the website of your state Division of Unemployment and get information about unemployment insurance benefits. Nearly every state offers a full range of online services, including filing a new claim and renewing or reopening and existing claim.

Remember to file your claim in the state where you worked. If, for example, you live in Nevada but your job was located in California, then you need to file your claim in California.

What you need to provide to file unemployment online

Depending on your state requirements, before you go online to file a claim you'll need to have the following information.

  • Your personal identification: name, address, and Social Security number
  • Driver's license number, if you have one
  • Your work history for the past 18 months. This includes every employer, their addresses, and your supervisors' names.
  • Separation information - why you are no longer working for the company or are working reduced hours
  • Information on your availability for seeking work

Things to watch out for online

Be careful when making your online claim. When you create your personal identification number (PIN), do not use a simple password - never use your address or some other obvious set of letters or numbers for your PIN. Be aware of email scams that seek to steal your personal information. Your state unemployment office will never send you an email requesting information such as your Social Security number, direct payment card number, or personal identification number. If you have reason to believe your account has been compromised, notify your state unemployment office immediately.

Only you, the claimant, are authorized to use the unemployment insurance system. Allowing or enabling another person to use the system may be considered fraud on the part of the claimant. You stand to lose your benefits if you let another person to use your PIN or submit a fraudulent claim for benefits.

Once you have submitted your online claim, you will receive a confirmation page for you to print and keep for your records. You will also receive a confirmation email if you provided your email address. Within five working days you should receive a Wage Transcript and Initial Determination by mail, which tell you if you are eligible and what benefits you are entitled to. If you are denied unemployment benefits, you may appeal. Your state unemployment agency website will have information about how to appeal.

State websites for online unemployment filing and information

Here are the links to the state and territory unemployment divisions. Most of them will take you directly to the claims page, while a few provide only general information and you have to apply either over the phone or in person.