Since 1973, the number of unemployment benefits has dropped significantly. It has been reported that as of December 2017, 1.87 million Americans receive benefits. It can also be noted that the Department of Labor received its largest number of newer filings from those that survived the destructive hurricane season. This caused massive damages to businesses in southern states and Puerto Rico. Despite this, the number of new applicants was low. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics suggested that the economy added 148,000 jobs in December and hence the unemployment rate remains at 4.1 percent. This comes at a time when companies were out to do the other better by offering raises, bonuses and increasing the minimum wage after the passage of President Donald Trump’s tax reform bill. This helped more than a 100 American companies to provide their employees with bonuses after Trump signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Large corporations like AT&T, Nationwide and Comcast have increased their 401(k) matching rate, increased domestic investment and raised their minimum wages. Another major player that joined this list was Walmart which gave its 2.1 million employees a one-time bonus, higher wages, and other new benefits.
Even after the US economy rebounded from the hurricanes, it had added 261,000 jobs and this is by far the best performance by the government. Unemployment had continued its decline to 4.1% since December 2000. But more importantly, wages have not increased as much and only grew 2.4% in October as compared to the previous year. This was also well behind its September numbers a year ago. One of the biggest mysteries in this economy is the absence of better wage growth and inflation. US has otherwise added jobs for 85 straight months and is the longest streak on record. Initially, the government suggested that there would be a loss of 33,000 jobs in September to the economy based on Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. But on the other hand, the revised figures show a gain of 18,000. Job gains for October have happened across all sectors. As soon as the storm had passed, restaurants had reopened and added more than 89,000 jobs after losing out on the same in September. Businesses services gained 50,000 positions while healthcare firms hired 22,000 employees. One of the most positive industries was manufacturing that gained 24,000 positions since October. Since the presidential election a year ago, it had gained nearly 156,000 jobs. This was attributed to the fact that they renewed the strength of the global economy and a weak US dollar that made American exports more affordable to foreigners. Manufacturing firms had heavily relied on shipping and selling overseas. Other interesting and notable figures in the report stated that 700,000 Americans left the labor market in October. Though the Labor Department could not provide a reason, the only conclusive answer was that Baby Boomers were retiring. The unemployment rate dropped due to a shrinking labor force and not become of more hiring. Industries that registered minor job losses like mining lost 2000 workers and retail stores lost 8000 jobs. Apart from this, the overall picture looked favorable and this meant that at this point the financial crisis has not been easy on workers.
Unemployment Claims Lowest
You should know that US unemployment claims have fallen to 222,000. This is the lowest its been in 44 Years. This is because US unemployment claims fall by 22,000 to 222,000 and this has been recorded the lowest since March 1973. In terms of relating to these numbers, Americans collecting unemployment benefits fell to the lowest level since President Nixon was held office. Also, the less volatile four=week average slid by 9,500 to 248,250 which is lowest since late August. This means that the overall number of Americans that collected unemployment checks dropped to just 1.89 million. This is the lowest it has been since 1973 and down nearly 9 percent from a year ago.
Unemployment claims are usually associated with layoffs. The low levels help you notice that employers are confident about their economy and positive about hanging onto their workers. Employers cut 33,000 jobs in September and this was the first monthly drop in seven years pushed the 16 years low to 4.2 percent. This was mainly caused due to the hurricanes – Harvey and Irma that caused chaos and destruction to Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
A few days ago, President Trump mentioned that a year after his inauguration, women unemployment was the lowest in 18 years. Figures state that the joblessness among women was 3.7 percent in December and was well below the overall US unemployment rate of 4.1 percent. This a reason for employers to look into more employment opportunities for women and ensure that their workforce has a sense of job security and fulfillment.
You can see that unemployment was at 4.8% in January of 2017 and declined to 4.1% at the end of the year.In December, the unemployment rate was 4.1 percent for the third consecutive month. On average the unemployed persons were at 6.6 million and mostly unchanged over the month. Over the period of 2017, the unemployment rate and the number of unemployed persons were down to 0.6 percentage points and in terms of figures, 926,000. The rates for unemployment were for adult men (3.8 percent), adult women (3.7 percent), Whites (3.7 percent), Blacks (6.8 percent), Asians (2.5 percent), and Hispanics (4.9 percent) showed little or no change. The labor force participation rate, at 62.7 percent, was unchanged over the month and over the year. Also, the employment to population ratio remained unchanged at 60.1 percent in December but was up 0.3 percent over the last year.
If you are unemployed and looking to claim benefits, then you should use the Benefits Calculator to figure out the benefits that you are eligible for. Using the Benefits Calculator, you should fill in wages earned for four months and select the state that you reside in. Do read about qualifying wages, the duration of receiving benefits and the amount of weekly benefit located in the section below the calculator for further clarity. Share your thoughts and views on unemployment in America and if you have further clarification, you can give us further details.
If you are a victim of the storm, then you should avail for Disaster Unemployment Assistance to help you through this troubled time. Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) aims at assisting individuals with unemployment benefits that have lost their jobs or are no longer working due to a major disaster in an area where a disaster assistance period is declared. This is available to those that have applied but are not eligible for regular unemployment benefits.
You are eligible for DUA if any one of the following has occurred to you because of the disaster:
- The previous job contributed to more than 50% of your total income.
- Stay, work and travel in the disaster area.
- Your office, place of employment is damaged or closed.
- Scheduled to start work which does not exist or no longer reach due to the storm.
- Self-employment or work cannot be a sustainable source of income
- Fall short of qualifying for unemployment benefits from any state
- Cannot work due to injury caused by the disaster
- You are the breadwinner of the household because of the death of the head of the household.
Additional eligibility requirements for DUA include:
- Be unemployed as a direct result of the disaster
- Be legally authorized to work in the United States
- Be able to work and available for work
- Actively search for work, unless ill or injured due to the disaster
- Submit DUA payment requests on time
- Have not refused an offer or referral to suitable work
DUA is available for people during the Disaster Assistance period which starts on the first Sunday from when the major disaster has been declared. Usually, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the DUA regulations define when the period starts and finishes. Seasonal workers are eligible for DUA if they would have been employed when the disaster had occurred.
How Do You Apply for DUA?
There are two options that eligible candidates can use to get the benefits of DUA. They can apply online at the Unemployment Benefit Services by clicking on the ‘Apply for Benefits’ option. They can also call the Tele-Center at 800-939-6631 to speak to a customer service representative. Those from Louisiana can call 225-925-7500. Those that are eligible will receive information on their weekly benefit amount, how to ask for payments and receive a copy of the Unemployment Benefits Handbook. In order to ensure that you can claim your benefits, you should complete your work search registration within 3 days of your application for the DUA. This is unless you have an intention to restart your business and if you are otherwise self-employed and looking to reopen your business. The proof of your employment which was disrupted by the disaster must be submitted within 21 days of the application. Work searches may be exempt in the disaster-hit regions in case it takes more than 12 weeks to restart the operations. Finally, you should request payment of DUA with the Payment Request sent to you and ensure that your mailing address is correct to receive your benefits.
DUA Weekly Benefit Amount
The minimum DUA weekly benefit amount is at least 50% of the state average WBA (Weekly Benefit Amount). For example, if you receive a WBA of $315, you should then be eligible for a DUA of $157. Minimum weekly benefits are used if you do not have any base period wages or enough wages to receive a minimum required benefit amount.
DUA payments may reduce if you receive any of the following:
- Benefit amount reductions would be based on working part-time and your WBA will be reduced in proportion to the number of hours worked.
- Benefits or insurance received for loss of wages due to illness or disability
- Supplemental unemployment benefits that are paid pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement
- If you receive private income protection insurance
- Workers’ Compensation or Survivors Benefits if you become the major support of the family as a result of the death of the head of the household because of the disaster
- If you receive retirement pension or annuity
- On earnings from employment or self-employment
- Receive subsidy or price support payments, crop insurance payments and farm disaster relief (Non-DUA) payments
- Avail a court order to pay child support
All 39 Texas counties that are within the presidential disaster declaration have to apply until October 31. If you file after the deadline then it may be denied unless there is a good cause. All applicants should submit their Social Security Number, check stubs and documentation to support the claim that they are working or self-employed.
How Much DUA Benefits Payments?
If you reside in these states then you can avail DUA Benefits for 26 weeks. Individual benefits cannot extend beyond the disaster period which is 6 months. If you are in these states then you can receive the following:
|Texas||$203 Minimum Weekly DUA Benefit/$493 Maximum Benefit|
|Florida||$120 Minimum Weekly DUA Benefit/$275 Maximum Benefit|
|Georgia ||$142 Minimum Weekly DUA Benefit/$330 Maximum Benefit|
|Puerto Rico||$59 Minimum Weekly DUA Benefit/$133 Maximum Benefit|
|U.S. Virgin Islands||$167 Minimum Weekly DUA Benefit/$480 Maximum Benefit|
Deadlines for DUA Application
To enroll in DUA, victims of the disaster should apply within 30 days after the availability is announced. Other applications would only be accepted for a “good cause” and in no case can the DUA application be received after the disaster period ends. You are required to provide supporting documents of your employment and earnings with your Social Security Number. If you are self-employed, you should provide your tax return copies. If you are employed, documents that provide proof of employment should be furnished. You should also provide a sworn statement which includes verification forms. By failing to do so, it would result in benefit overpayment which would be collected by the state. Each state will process the DUA differently. Most states may do so via internet and telephone. But if you are affected by Hurricane Irma, you should check periodically on the state websites. Open these websites if you have applied at Florida, Georgia, Puerto Rico, and U.S. Virgin Islands unemployment insurance agency websites listed below.
Additional Eligibility Conditions
Do state unemployment benefits apply to agricultural workers?
Farmworkers are eligible for benefits from the state. In Florida, those agricultural employers with more than 5 employees over a 20 week period or paid $10,000 in wages in a calendar quarter must cover these workers. In Texas, workers are covered if they employ at least 3 employees for 20 weeks or paid at least $6250 in wages during the calendar quarter. If a farmer fails to qualify then they should submit their application for Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA).
Do immigrant workers get state unemployment benefits and DUA?
Workers that provide work authorization when they are working or when they collect benefits can qualify for unemployment benefits and DUA. Those that are not US citizens should provide the necessary documentation that supports their immigration status and the State UI agency should verify the same. Their status is usually verified through a process called Systematic Alien Verification For Entitlement Program by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services.
Being unemployed is quite a challenging state of life. Which is why temporary financial assistance in the form of Unemployment Insurance (UI) is a blessing for many. However, not everyone who applies for UI gets approved for receiving the benefits. All candidates are evaluated carefully to check if they meet the eligibility criteria and rejections are not taken lightly. Thankfully, one rejection is not the end of it all. In case you can file an appeal, the same will be notified to you. This article deals with filing an appeal in the state of Wisconsin.
Eligibility Criteria For Applicants
Before going into the process of appealing a rejection, we’ll brief you about the eligibility criteria so you may better understand why you were rejected. Slight variations may be seen from state to state in these rules. But in general, the requirements are-
- Claimants should’ve lost his/her job due to no mistake of theirs
- Applicants must be ready and available to take up full-time jobs if and when such an opportunity is presented to them
- All claimants are expected to actively seek out new job opportunities
- All applicants must have worked the recommended minimum hours and earned the recommended minimum wages
Alternately, you can use our online eligibility calculator tool to get a rough idea of whether you qualify or not.
Commons Reasons Why Claims Are Denied
There are some common causes stated as reasons behind denial of claims. Some of them are –
- Failure to comply with all rules/criteria for eligibility
- Loss of employment was due to a mistake on the part of the applicant
- Fabricated or incorrect information was submitted in the application form
- Insufficient wages earned or working hours during base period
What To Do If Your Application Is Denied?
In case you believe that your claims were denied unfairly and that you are indeed eligible for UI, you may appeal the State’s decision to deny your claim. Every claimant is given the chance to appeal the decision so that he/she can present his/her side of the story. Should the judge find your side fair, you’ll be considered for UI.
Here’s what you need to do if your claims are denied in the state of Wisconsin –
- Write to the Wisconsin Department of Labor stating that you wish to appeal the decision
- Attach a copy of letter of determination or include the 9-digit number which appears in the upper right hand corner of your letter of determination
- Include your social security number and other details
- Write about when you and your representatives will be available for a hearing
- Add the name of your agent/attorney
- Unless filed online, include the signature of your attorney
In case you have special requests like the need for an interpreter or a solicitor, you may write about that requirement too in your letter.
What Happens Next?
In case the court finds your appeal legit, you will be given the time and date for a hearing for which you are expected to show up, so that your side of the story can be presented. Once the hearing is done, you will be notified about the decision.
In most cases, appeals go well and as long as the eligibility criteria are met, there is a good chance that you will qualify for UI. So we recommend that you stay positive and calm through the entire process. At the same time, do not give up on your job hunt. We’re sure something good will come up. Consider what to do next now that you are unemployed.
Adjudication is the legal process for settling the dispute between employee and employer.
An unemployed individual applies with the state for weekly unemployment insurance. The state’s labor department begins the process by contacting the last employer to verify the reason for termination of employment. The last employer can question the claim and based on this, the claim may be denied. The claimant may appeal a denied claim. The adjudication hearing or fact finding interview gives the applicant an opportunity to present his case for a contested claim or denied claim.
Once a valid claim has been established, it is then reviewed to determine if you, or a former employer, have provided any information that could come in way of unemployment payments.
If an issue is raised, an adjudicator will review any information that you have already provided, and if additional information is needed, you will be contacted. An adjudicator may contact you by telephone, e-mail or mail. If contacted, you must be prompt and sincere in providing a response at the earliest so that the adjudicator has all information in hand to help him decide.
An issue is a condition or circumstance that could result in the denial of benefits as required by the eligibility and disqualification provisions in law of a particular state.
Potential Reasons for Denial of Benefits
An array of issues as provided below can potentially result in delay or denial of claims filed by the applicant.
- You were terminated (fired), you quit, or you are on a suspension or leave of absence from your last employer or other recent employers.
- You are a school employee or worked providing services for an educational institution while in the employ of a private employer holding a contract with a public or non-profit educational institution and you are not working because you are between terms or on a vacation or holiday.
- You are unable or unavailable to work or to accept work or you are not looking for work or you have failed to report the required contacts with prospective employers for work during a claim week.
- You are currently attending school or training(subject to exceptions)
- You are currently self-employed, seasonally employed or working as a freelancer.
- You are receiving payments of some kind from a recent employer that includes severance.
- You refused a suitable job offer or you refused a referral.
The reason for separation from your last employer usually determines whether you are eligible to receive unemployment benefits. If you have not earned the minimum amount as prescribed by the state, then there can be a roadblock that will stop you from qualifying. The adjudicator is required to investigate your separation(s) by finding out why you left the job(s) in case the claim is contested by either of the parties involved. The adjudicator must determine if you were separated from the employer(s) under conditions that might disqualify you from receiving unemployment compensation.
Upon completion of investigation, the adjudicator will issue a written determination(s) which is mailed to you and the employer(s). If there are multiple determinations, all must be favorable in order to receive benefits. For example, if you worked with three different employers and two determinations are favorable and one determination is not, the entire claim is denied and payments cannot be made until that disqualification has been satisfied.
Note: You will be contacted only if information is needed in addition to the information you provided when you filed your claim. Please note the adjudication process can take two to six weeks from the time an issue is raised until a determination is made.
You may request an appeal whenever a determination is not favorable to you. Instructions and procedure for filing an appeal are provided on the website of the state. Assistance is also provided over the phone by the customer service/claims helpline of the labor department.
You must complete the form and submit the appeal using the Internet or you may request an appeal in writing posted to the relevant office in your state.
It’s imperative that you keep self updated on the appeals mechanism available in the state labor unemployment laws. If you think your unemployment will last for a longer duration/believe that the claim filed by you may not easily pass through the regular approval process, you must have sound acquaintance with the basics to face any surprising encounters.
Stopping your unemployment benefits is usually a step that follows retirement, vacation or securing a new job. Unemployment Insurance programs provide monetary benefits to eligible people so that they have temporary financial assistance until they find another stable source of income.
Unlike filing for the benefits, filing to stop the benefits is an easy task. You do not even have to inform the authorities about a new job/ whatever the reason is why you are stopping, you simply have to stop submitting weekly claims. The payments will stop on its own.
How to stop filing for claims
If you don’t submit your weekly claim, you automatically get dropped from the program. You can chose to discontinue the payments any time during your benefit year. Likewise you can also resume claiming your remaining benefits for that benefit year, provided you are still deemed eligible.
Keep in mind that if you stop filing your claim for even a week, your benefit claims become inactive. If this happens, you may have to reopen the claim again during the 1st week of your eligibility.
Once your retirement pension starts arriving, you will have to inform the same to the authorities involved. Trying to receive both payments may land you in trouble. Pension benefits are subject to taxes, if the officials cross check this with your unemployment benefits, they may deem you over-paid and may even ask you to refund the benefit amount that you received.
This is not a rule in all the states. Some states let you collect both the unemployment benefits and the pension benefits, without reducing your benefit amount for U.I. Also, if this is your social security retirement pension, which is quite different from a private employer’s pension, your benefit amount will not be reduced. You need not report about your social security pension benefits to the authorities at U.I.
To find out more, visit Unemployment Benefits by State page.
If you are discontinuing your benefits because you landed a new job, all you have to do it pick true in the field asking you if you are back to work. This is a field that is there on each weekly claim filing form. Once you do this, your benefits will automatically become inactive and you will stop receiving payments.
Whatever the reason may be for discontinuing your unemployment benefits, please ensure that you have enough money to meet necessary expenses. If you receive a new job offer and is unsure if you will like the job or not, do some research about the job before you discontinue your benefits.
If you had a UI claim through a previous employment and received weekly payments, later secured a job and then unfortunately became unemployed again, you may want to consider re-applying for UI benefits if your previous benefit year expired. Most states allow you to reopen your existing claim if it is still in the same benefit year.
Unemployment benefits terminate the moment you stop qualifying for it and the primary reason for becoming ineligible for the benefits is securing a new job. However if the new unemployment does not last long, you can start receiving benefits again by simply reopening your claim.
How It Works
People who lose their jobs a second time, fall into two different categories. This first one being a case a where a person loses his job within 52 weeks of filing for UI. The second, a person who was laid off post expiration of the 52 week period.
For people in the first category, things are pretty easy. You can simply start claiming your benefits, if you have any remaining benefits ie. If you are in the latter category, you may have to reapply for unemployment insurance.
The benefit amount that you will receive and your eligibility criteria may depend heavily on the time duration between your previous unemployment compensation and recent unemployment. It is likely that your previous claim won’t be affecting your new claim in anyway, also your current benefit amount will be calculated from the wages you earned in your most recent employment. In most cases, the amount you receive will be smaller than what you received in the first benefit year.
You must also be able to prove that your recent unemployment is not voluntary or a result of your mistakes.
Details Required To Claim UI Benefits Again
You may need to submit all relevant details again irrespective of whether you are still in the same benefit year. Before you start filing, it will be handy to keep the following information ready.
- Personal identification number (PIN)
- Motor vehicle card no. / driver’s licence
- Complete mailing address with zip code
- Contact number
- Names and contact details of all your previous employers
- Employer Registration Number or Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) of your latest employer
- If you were a federal employee, copies of SF8 and SF50
- For military service, your most recent separation form (DD214)
- Lastly, your Alien Registration Card no. if you are not a citizen of the U.S.
How To Re-apply For UI Benefits
Should you find yourself unemployed again, you will have to submit a fresh application to restart your old claim. Remember, your claim does not start until you apply for it. So you may want to consider doing that at the earliest. Follow these steps and you’ll be ok soon.
- Submit a new claim. You can do this via telephone/internet/mail. We recommend using the internet because that is the fastest way to file a claim.
- Wait for a response. Once your claim is taken up, the the State Unemployment Agency will check you remaining benefit balance and examine if you still continue to qualify for the benefits.
I Need Help To File My Claim
If you are disabled or unable to file the claim yourself, you may seek help from a trusted person. It is not mandatory that you have to file your claim yourself. However, no matter how much you trust the person you chose to aid you, we strongly recommend that you be present each time they help you and use your PIN
Also, do keep in mind that you will be held responsible for the actions of your helper. And also you will be subject to penalties and you may even forfeit your benefits if you are NOT PRESENT when a helper aids you.
Extension of Benefits
As you may already know, benefits are usually awarded for a fixed time, typically up to 26 weeks. Once your benefits expire, you will have to reapply for it. The unemployment agency usually sends you a notice informing you that your benefits are about to expire, the notice usually contains information regarding how you can reapply to enjoy continued benefits.
Unfortunately, claims can be denied sometimes. Several reasons could lead to this. The most commonly seen reason for claim denial is when the unemployment agency fails to determine that you lost your job through no error of yours. Or if you have not earned sufficient wages during a base period. Whatever the case is, the agency holds the right to deny your claim if they find you ineligible.
However, if you claim gets denied, you can always request the agency to reconsider your application. To do so, you will have to file an appeal. Directions on how to do so are usually enclosed within the letter you received from the agency stating that your claim has been denied. In most cases, there is a specific time-frame within which you must reapply if you want to send an appeal.
I Don’t Think I Will Qualify
Has reading so much has lead you to believe that you won’t qualify for the benefits? If so, we still strongly recommend that you still proceed with filing your application. This article is only of an informative nature. Only the State Unemployment Agency has the absolute authority to decide if you qualify or not. Apply all the same, we’ll think of the rest later. You can also refer to our Unemployment Q & A section for more information.
Hunt For Jobs
Not Steve Jobs, the ones that pay you for the work you do. You know that you can’t go on depending on your UI benefits forever. Also, it is imperative that you actively search for a new job because it is one of the requirements that you must fulfill in order to qualify for the benefits.
A Word of Advice
We understand that you are going through a very difficult stage. Worrying about it too much is not going to help in any way, in fact it will only lead to adverse effects on you. Try to stay positive, spend time with your loved ones and search for new employment opportunities. Update your social media profiles so that they become more employer- friendly and never give up faith! Good luck guys!
If you are unemployed and based in Georgia, you should check out the resource article published by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution online edition. Here is a summary and refer to article source for all the details
How to apply for unemployment in Georgia:
Georgia Department of Labor Career Centers: Directory by City: Where Atlanta job seekers can apply for unemployment benefits
FAQ for Georgia unemployment benefits
Once registered for unemployment benefits in Georgia, you can claim benefits online
Three requirements for Georgia unemployment benefits (per Georgia Department of Labor):
* Filer must have earned enough money in base period (In Georgia, this is defined as the first four of the last five calendar quarters completed at the time you file your claim) to set up a claim.
* Your unemployment status must be through no fault of your own.
* You must be able to work, be seeking work and make yourself available for work on a weekly basis while collecting unemployment benefits.
What to bring when filing Georgia unemployment benefits:
* Social security card
* Separation notice from employer
* Names and addresses of your employers for the last 18 months, with the dates you worked at each place.
* Proof of immigration status if you are not a citizen of the United States.
* If you want to apply for direct deposit of your unemployment insurance benefits, bring a check with your account number and your bank’s routing number.
* For former Military/Government members only: If you separated from the military in the last 18 months, bring DD214 Member 4. If you worked for the federal government in the last 18 months, bring Standard Form 50 and Standard Form 8. If you do not have Standard Form 50, please bring a W-2 form or pay stubs and your wages will be estimated.
Here is the complete link to the article: