In the first place, you will find that different states have different standards for unemployment. There is usually a minimum amount of time that you need to have been employed and, depending on the state, certain types of work, like contract employment and freelancing, are not eligible. Depending on the state, you might be eligible to receive half of your earnings. Do keep in mind, though, that this money is taxable, which you should account for.
It is important to be realistic, so make sure that you know why you might be denied unemployment benefits. If you quit without good cause, got fired for gross or aggravated misconduct, if you left to attend school, or if you resigned due to illness, your claim might be denied. However, sometimes a claim is denied due to your employer behaving inappropriately; in some cases, people who were eligible for unemployment were denied due to the fact that their employers listed them as contract employees. If you feel that you were wrongly denied unemployment benefits, you will need to go through an appeals procedure.
As soon as you lose your job, you should apply for unemployment. This means that you should contact your state unemployment office and find out how you can file. You might need to file online or over the phone. Make sure that you have everything that you need when it comes time to file your claim. This will include, but is not limited to, your social security number; your mailing address; your phone number; the names, addresses, and dates of employment for the last two years; and your Alien Registration Card if you are not a U.S. citizen.
Once your application is in, make sure that you inquire and register with your state’s job services office. Remember that you should follow the instructions for claiming your funds to the letter. Also make sure that you are present for any meetings that you are requested for and are at home for any scheduled phone calls.
After that, the only thing that is left for you to do is to look for a job. Remember that turning down jobs could very well get your eligibility dropped. Also keep in mind the fact that getting a part-time job, particularly if you were cut from a full-time opportunity, is not necessarily grounds for losing your unemployment. Make sure that you know what the consequences of your actions are going to be.
Take some time and consider what role unemployment might play in your life. This is something that is very important to think about, so take a moment and consider what your options are going to be.