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Unemployment Benefits: Common Mistakes To Avoid While Filing A UI Claim

Updated : March 10th, 2021

The Coronavirus pandemic has taken the U.S. job market by storm. As per reports, the unemployment rose to 4.4 percent, and about 17 million people have filed for unemployment insurance (UI) benefits in March. The UI provides temporary financial help to the unemployed, but not all of them are receiving monetary aid. While some aren’t able to get through the site-crashes and other logistical challenges to file the claim, many others aren’t getting the benefits due to the mistakes committed while filing the claim. So what are the common mistakes to avoid while filing a UI claim? Find out here!

1. Failing To Provide Earning History 

Whether you are a part-time worker, freelancer, full-time employee, while filing a claim, you must mandatorily report your gross wages for each week you have worked. Gross wages are nothing but the total amount earned before any tax deductions. If you fail to report your earnings, your benefits may be rejected, or you may be committing fraud or be prosecuted. 

2. Not Submitting Work Search Records

Though the pandemic has caused many sectors like hotels & restaurants, travel, etc. sectors to shut down, and getting hired seems unlikely, you must keep searching for a job to meet the UI benefits eligibility criteria. If you don’t look for jobs or fail to maintain the required records, your claim may get rejected. Each state will have its requirements for what counts as looking for employment. 

For instance, in New York, the claimants must maintain a written or online work search record and provide it to the labor department, whenever asked for. The document should contain details like numbers of employers contacted, date, address, positions applied, and contact methods. Whereas in California, you must recertify online every 14 days. 

3. Not Providing Required Documents

When you are filing a claim, it is essential to document all the necessary information. In addition to the name, phone number, address, date of employment, employer name, bank account number, you must provide your Social Security number. States like Utah require your driving license as a form of identification, without which your claim will be denied or delayed. 

If you were a federal employee, you have to submit either your Standard Form 50 (SF-50) or Standard Form 8 (SF-8). If you are ex-military, then provide your DD214 form. If you don’t have it, collect a copy through the United States Department of Veterans Affairs’ milConnect website.

If you are not a citizen of the U.S. but are legally authorized to work in the states, then you have to provide your Alien Registration Number. 

4. Filing The Claim In Another Current State 

You must file for UI benefits in the states in which you have worked and not where you are living or some other state. If you have worked in multiple states, then you choose any one state and file a claim. The authorities from the selected state will contact other work-states and collect the necessary information.

If you are currently stuck in another country and are unemployed, the department of labor will not allow you to file for the unemployment insurance benefits. 

5. Failing To Verify You Are Willing To Take Up A Job

To obtain UI benefits, you must continually prove that you are available, able, and ready to accept suitable employment, failing to which your claim will be delayed or denied. 

Also, if the department of labor learns that you have refused to take up a suitable job, you have to attend a hearing. If it is convinced that you have refused to take up a job without a significant reason, your claim will be denied. 

6. Not Responding To The Notice Of Determination

When you file for benefits, an adjudicator will review your claim and decide whether you qualify for your unemployment benefits or not. Once reviewed, you will receive a Notice of Determination describing whether you are eligible for UI benefits or not.

The Notice of Determination states whether your employer is “chargeable” for your claim or not. If the employer is not chargeable, you have to file an appeal within the specific period and attend the hearing. But if you fail to request an appeal by the given deadline, the state will deny your claim. 

Now that you know the mistakes to avoid while filing a UI claim, make sure dodge them. However, if you have already committed any of the above-listed mistakes listed, talk to authorities in your state. But if the claim has been denied, then request an appeal. 



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  1. I had trouble getting my proof of self-employment to upload in secure file exchange and finally got it submitted by 12:06 am , 6 minutes late. What are the possibilities that they will deny it? I have received unemployment from March 2020 to some of Jan and some in Feb 2021. Most of Dec, Jan, Feb, March, & april were stopped for this proof of employment.
    Also, I see proof of Income as a 2nd issue but it is always on there. That was not on my TO DO list.
    I feel for u all on ID.ME…

    Anyone trying to reach UI, call their number, press 2 or 3 (questions abt filing a claim?) and then wait thru the message. At the end of it, u will be connected to a live person! I promise.. don’t push another button.. I’ve done it 4 times and it never failed.

    We lost our home, my ex took my child…. (kept her after a visit and called cps facilitating drama while the cops wouldn’t give her back without paperwork locked up in the court house..shut down for covid) I raised her by myself for 12 years & now she is with a violent alcoholic and parental alienating parent .. ….my dog, my 9-year sweet little best friend, was attacked, passing away 3 days later.. all in this time frame.
    But! It will all be ok. I have faith.

    Be grateful for your life and all that is in it today. What u dwell on daily will be your strength or weakness.
    Good luck to all of u.
    And thank you, Jeff, for responding out here. It is appreciated!
    Davulia S.

  2. I filed over two months ago. I have not received any information. My status says “pending resolution”. I have no way of contacting anyone. My position was eliminated at my job and I submitted the documentations online. I dont know what else I can do.

  3. I have been apply Ohio Pua unemployment since July 5th still pending issues. Upload what they ask for when ever I call says your case is in Adjudication. Very very frustrated, financially I am broke. Health issues. Waiting a long period.Don’t know what I will do ?

    1. Nafisa,

      I can understand your situation. There will be a delay considering the number of applications that are being processed. Please continue chasing the office/check your status online at regular intervals until payments normalize.

    2. Same here since Feb 2021 turned in all the documents still pending issues 3 months now. When you call they tell you to be patient. Pulling my hair out it’s so frustrating.

  4. I was receiving PUA unemployment. they made me file for a new claim in February. Now I am in adjudication even though I gave all the same information from my previous claim. Have been adjudication since February and I call and they say they will put in a ticket to have an Adjudicator call me. Nothing. I am wondering If I can go down to to Maryland Unemployment Office and demand that someone talk with me to release my claim for payment. It’s been 56 days. I read that they have a maximum of 45 days.

    1. Luis,

      Your adjudicator may be inundated with pending cases. Please continue to follow up (if you have the contact details) or consider the option of visiting an office in the vicinity if safe and feasible.

    2. t sounds just like mine only im disqualified yet actie every till sept 4th . they haven’t asked me for anything! i file then its disqualified yet im told im ok and have nothing to do bit wait for an answer? answer to what? they switched my program and all and asked me to provide proof for a claim that wa denied al eady back in 2018! deny me once and then again perhaps? lol idk

  5. My mom had unemployment in Florida. She just recently moved temporally to California with a sister since she needs assistance, and now the website is telling her she cannot do anything because she is register in another state. Can she keep filing unemployment in Florida, even if she is living and register now in another state? how is the process to change the unemployment? I tried calling and there is no answer. Thank you!

    1. Stephanie,

      Please ask your mother to consider transferring the UI benefits from FL to CA (details will be available on either of the websites). If there are benefits weeks left in the account, she will be able to claim them.

    1. Leatha,

      UI benefits are offered to claimants who lose employment involuntarily and be able to and available for work.

  6. I lived in ga in 2019 and move to florida in 2020 and work for the xmas months in nov-dec. I was told to do a combine wage claim. my question is which state do i file the claim in?

  7. I filed for pua in Ohio back in October 2020.My claim has been in ajudacatuon since 11/1/20.So 2 to 6 weeks is a total understatement! When I call.i am told to basically hurry up and wait some more.I have recently been redetermined and my claim is allowed.but I have one pending issue.How long is too long?

    1. Nicole,

      Unfortunately, nobody has an answer. There are perhaps thousands of pending applications. Please consider the option of visiting an office in the vicinity if safe and feasible.

  8. If you claim your weeks for unemployment and for the next 2 months you still have not received your money. Where can you go in volusia county to talk with a live person

      1. HI Jeff,
        I applied back in Dec 5th, 2020 and I haven’t received any correspondence, is there a local office that I can make an appt to make certain my claim is right.

        1. Adam,

          You can consider visiting an office in the vicinity if safe and feasible (details will be available on the Unemployment Office’s website).

  9. On NYS DOL website, my claim is saying current yet the information is for my old claim with 0 days remaining despite receiving 2 weeks of payments on the new claim and I was able to certify last night. I haven’t received anything; no letters or emails.

  10. I was disqualified for UI benefits for not providing an ID and other forms of identification. How do I fix this?

        1. Gary,

          You may not be eligible since unemployment insurance is only extended to those who become unemployed due to involuntary reasons.

    1. Hi Mike, I’m in NYS and was at the end of my BYE on 3/14, I was still certifying but wasn’t getting paid. I found out I had to file a new claim because my other was exhausted. I’m still waiting on approval. Maybe you have to file a new claim. I hope this helps.

  11. They say 2-6 weeks it’s more accurate to say 2-6 months; and when you call many of them are rude and unwilling to assist!

  12. someone needs to look into Sharon L. Anton gillette, wyo. or dickinson, nd she is a fraud and has done so many fraudulent things and please look into her

    1. Annette,

      Please report it to the Fraud Division of the Unemployment Office in your state. You can report on the website.

  13. I worked part time for thee years here in florida. I’m currently not working. I’m also retired and collects social security.
    My question is
    Am I qualified to file for unemployment ?

    1. Ruby,

      To be eligible, you’re required to have sufficient hours and earnings. Please use the “Benefits Calculator” available on this website.

  14. So adjudication takes 8 to 12 weeks. Oh okay, that explains why I havent received payment since July. That surely helps just like the rest of the information that you give. And by the way. What’s the NEW reason you can’t get through to the Call Center.

    1. Maria,
      I have gotten through to the call center (live agent) every time i’ve tried calling within the last 2 weeks. The number to a live agent (follow the prompts carefully) is (667)-207-6520. i have gotten through within 10 to 15 mins with each call i had made!

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