I Lost My Job! What Should I Do?

If you lost your job recently and are crestfallen and confused, here’s a list of things you should do immediately. We understand that it is a difficult situation and we have collected all the information you will need and summarized that into this article. You might be considering the option of signing up for the Unemployment Insurance, but there are a few things you must do before that.

Step 1: Reflect on Your Situation

Reflect on the circumstances that led to you losing your job. Was it because you under-performed or was it simply because your employers decided to let a few employees go for cost cutting purposes. Evaluate all aspects and come to a fair conclusion.

If you are certain that you lost your job due to no fault of your own, then you stand a high chance for qualifying for the unemployment benefits.

Step 2: Insure your Health

Find an alternate way to insure your health. Often your employer provides you with health insurance and if you are no longer working with them, it means that your medical bills are not going to be covered. Even if you are in the pink of health, this is a necessary step. We humans have very little control over matters related to health.

Step 3: Embrace Frugalism

Rework your budget and cut unnecessary expenses. As your primary source of income is gone, you may have to cut back on a few luxuries. Make list of things you spend money on and try to figure out what are the things you can live without. For our female readers, try to cut down on your salon visits, you can survive without weekly clean-ups and manicures but you cannot survive without food and shelter.

Step 4: Hunt for Jobs (Not Steve Jobs, the ones that pay you for your work!)

Look for a new job. Don’t consider resting for a while before you look out for another job. Find the job first and then you can peacefully enjoy your break. Make use of programs organized and sponsored by the State or local agencies to speed up your job search.

Step 5: File for Unemployment

This is the most important step. File for unemployment. Do not waste time thinking if this is necessary. Unless you are certain that you will land another stable job within the next two days, it is highly recommended that you look into applying for unemployment benefits, it will cover your temporary financial needs.

This step needs further elaboration about how you should proceed with registering yourself for unemployment and about what benefits you will receive.

What is Unemployment Insurance or the Dole ?

They are social welfare payments made by the State or other Authorized bodies to unemployed individuals. The amount disbursed depends on various factors that includes earned income, reason for being unemployed etc. They are usually small and are intended to cover the basic necessities. You have to register for unemployment compensation if you want to receive the cover payments and you will also have to prove that you have registered yourself to find another job and that you lost your previous job due to no fault of your own.

The Department of labor along with state partners work to identify various strategies to help deal with the unemployment issues effectively. Here are the things you should know if you want to apply for Unemployment insurance.


  • Usually, the benefits are calculated based on the person’s performance over a recent 52-week period.
  • Benefits are paid for a maximum of 26 weeks in most states.
  • You can avail additional weeks of benefits during crisis periods like times of High Unemployment. Certain states provide benefits for specific purposes too. Speak to a representative from the customer service or claims department of the Labor Department in your state.
  • The money you receive are subject to taxes and the same must be reported to the Federal Income tax department.

You can take a look at the details of Dole insurance available in each state in the USA. You can also use our site to  calculate unemployment benefits amount.


  • You have to be determined to have lost your previous job due to no mistake of your own. There a few other eligibility criteria. It varies with the state.
  • State requirements regarding your wages or time worked during a specific period ( often called as the base period) must be met. The base period is usually the first four out of the last five completed calendar quarters prior to the time that your claim is filed. You can also check your eligibility online.

How to apply?

  • Contact the State Unemployment Insurance agency (affiliated to the State Labor Department) at the earliest post becoming unemployed. You can even do this via a telephone call.
  • While you file, you will be asked to provide certain information like your address and dates of your previous employment. Provide accurate and authentic information to avoid unnecessary delays.
  • It is customary that you file your claim in your native  state. However if your last employment was in a different state, the agent at your local Unemployment Insurance agency will guide you with the same.
  • It takes around 15-20 days post filing your claim for your first benefit cheque to arrive. Certain states have a one week waiting period and the second week is claimed as the first week of payment.

Extended eligibility

  • If you wish to extend the eligibility period, you must file weekly and biweekly claims ( after your eligibility time period ended) and respond to the questions your agency asks you.
  • You will be expected to report to your local Unemployment Insurance Claims office or the One-stop/ Employment service office on the date and time specified by the authorities. Failing to do so may conclude in your claims being denied.
  • You must continue to meet the eligibility criteria as laid down by your state.

Register yourself for work

  • Claimants may be directed to register with the State Employment Service. They shall assist you with finding a new job.
  • If job offers in your field are limited, the staff at the Employment Service will help you take tests and counselling that will determine alternate sectors for you in which you are likely to perform well.
  • Should you believe that you have special needs and other considerations, the staff will refer you to institutions that will help you accordingly.

Grounds for claim denial

  • If you lost your previous job for any reason other than “lack of work”, an enquiry will be conducted to determine if you are genuinely eligible for the Insurance.
  • The enquiry will be conducted by authorized state officials to see if you fall under the criteria laid down by the State or Federal laws.
  • You can file for an appeal if you have been deemed unqualified. If you wish to file appeal, you must do so within a specific time period.

Stay Positive

It can be difficult to stay calm during such times. Try to remain positive, never let your current state dishearten you or shatter your confidence. Do not get discouraged, take steps in the right direction. Update your resume, make your social media profiles more employer-friendly and spend quality time with family and friends to maintain a healthy state of mind. Finding a new job must be your top priority activity. We’re sure something will come up soon, Goodluck!

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  1. I applied for unemployment on 8-1 and was approved. I received my letter of eligibility and debit card about a week ago. I did not file my intitial bi weekly claim because I missed the deadline by 1 day (didn’t realize they would be closed on Saturday). When I logged on it said I would have to reopen a claim because mine had been closed. I filled out the online form to deactivate the claim. My question is this: will I have another waiting week? And will unemployment have to contact my employer all over again to verify my wages and go through the entire process all over again or will they just reopen the claim with a new date window to file?

  2. Lost my job in 10/2018 due to plant closure, collected vacation and severance pay. Opened a claim in 1/2019. Got an on the job training job through career link in 5/2019 worked one week and became very sick and was off for two weeks VA could not find anything wrong but gave me medication for the symptoms and an excuse to return to work, prior to returning got a call from my recruiter at career link telling me the position was filled so i did not return. Reopened my claim, a few weeks later got a letter informing me the employer had appealed and said i did not return, had a hearing and the employer did not show but i lost and got a 2500.00 over payment. Got a temp job through an agency but have only worked 4 days in two weeks. Reopened my claim and was told i need to earn 2604.00 from current employer before it can be opened, did i do something wrong? Still applying for work but am days away from losing everything, need income to pay bills. PLEASE HELP

    1. Rodney,

      Your eligibility to claim UI benefits depends on multiple factors including monetary eligibility. If you’ve been officially told about the shortage of earnings, there’s nothing much one can do. If you’re still confident of winning the appeal, please make a strong case.

      1. I live in KY but my base wages were from earnings in GA when I lived there. I’ve exhausted my benefits in KY. Am I able to now file through GA since my earnings through 10/18 came from there?

        1. Dee,

          As much as I am aware, Unemployment Insurance is a one time cycle. Please call the Unemployment Office in GA for more.

  3. The hours at work have been cut due to lack of business for every department.
    So all full-time positions are now part-time.
    How do I file for partial unemployment?
    The only options I see (in Texas) are for full unemployment.

    1. Eric,

      You should be able to claim partial UI benefits. Please consider applying online until full hours are restored.

    1. William,

      If everything goes well, it should not take more than 7-10 business days (waiting week). Please call the Claims Center for more.

  4. I was employed by a VA company for 5 years, my contract ended yesterday (07/31/19), however, I worked remotely for those 5 years and live in FL, which state do I apply to for my unemployment benefits?

    1. Oscar,

      Please check with your employer if they remitted UI taxes into the system. Contract workers are generally not eligible.

        1. Oscar,

          In that case, please go ahead and apply if your employer remitted UI taxes into the system.

    2. You apply in Virginia…however, I worked seasonally and they used a ‘quarter’ that was empty, so even though my employer paid in, I only got a 1/3 of what I should have received. Figured that out later :/ They will also question WHY you aren’t able and available to work IN Virginia. They froze my account for about a month.

  5. I worked 37 years with the same company in Texas. On July 2nd of 2018, I was let go due to workforce reduction. I signed up for benefits several months later and now have drawn my 26 weeks of benefit. Is there any program currently open in Texas or federally that will extend additional money while job seeking?

    1. Lonnie,

      The E.U.C(Emergency Unemployment Compensation) remains expired. There is no extension available. Please inquire further with the labor authorities in your state by calling them.

  6. I have been an employee of my company for 34 yrs. My position is being eliminated but I have been offered another position for less money. It is a much more physical job that I am not sure I can perform well. I am 75. If I try to fulfill the position and cannot do it, will I still be able to get benefits if I quit? They want me to try it for a couple of weeks to see if I am strong enough and if I can afford the cut in pay.

    1. Lynda,

      I suggest you call the Unemployment Office to find out about eligibility before making a decision on continuation.

      1. I recently lost my job..i was late for work and they took me off the schedule..never told me i was fired..didnt ask for uniforms back. Another cook was andd has been late for work and he didnt get taken off the schedule.can i still get unemployment?

        1. Kandie,

          Please note UI benefits are only offered to claimants who lose employment due to no fault of their own. You can call the Unemployment Office for clarification.

  7. Are there any training benefits or programs that will pay for an advanced degree, such as a PhD which is needed to become more employable?

    1. There are multiple training programs administered by the Labor Department in each state. For more info, please call visit the official website of the Unemployment Office.

  8. I’m about to exhaust my Unemployment benefits. I was laid off from my first job and
    found employment then I lost my job and became unemployed again. I applied for benefits and have have almost exhausted my benefits but have not found employment. Can I file for an extension?

    1. Deanna,

      The E.U.C(Emergency Unemployment Compensation) remains expired. There is no extension available. Please inquire further with the labor authorities in your state by calling them.

  9. After reading your article it’s still not clear to me about requirements surrounding moving to another state and completing/continuing to collect. I have 8 weeks eligibility left, I am moving from MA to FL. The end of your article says: “Since it’s all virtual (online), you may still consider the option of continuing your claims from the base state even if you move to a different one until completion. As a responsible claimant, it’s your duty to inform the base state about your movement to ensure there are no hassles in the near future.”

    So it sounds like even once I am in new state I am eligible to continue to collect from my base state. I can just continue to do my required weekly job search and reporting to and filing in my base state (I do it via phone call-in). No need to complicate things by doing some crazy state transfer of benefits. Benefits also done via direct bank deposit and no need to change anything. Do I even need to tell my base state I am now living in a new state? Why? Thank you.

    1. Paul,

      For the ease of understanding, each state has its specific rules and laws with regard to administering Unemployment Benefits. It might be an obligation for a claimant to inform about the movement. For clarification, please call the Unemployment Office and speak to a representative.

  10. I was recently fired from my work 25-June-2019/due to me not meeting their “standards/ expectations” i submitted my UE claim on 28-June and have not received any pay as of today, 19-July. The status is currently “adjudication in progress,” my question is, should i be worried this will be denied? I read the FAQ on the UE webpage and it said only a couple applications require the adjudication process. How long does this process usually take to get the final answer of whether I’m denied or approved? The website stated it susuallt takes ~25 days for the adjudication process, does this mean once that’s done then i still have to wait another 2-6 weeks for final processing after? THANK YOU SOO MUCH to whomever is able to provide me with some answers/ input.

    ** this is my first time ever being fired or having to file for unemployment so i really have nooooo idea what is standard or normal or whatever. I feel like an idiot with my simple questions but it would bring me so much relief having them answered, truly

    1. Talia,

      I can understand your reason for the anxiety. Adjudication is a fact-finding process where both the claimant and the employer will get an opportunity to present their case. During this process, make sure to produce supporting documents that amplify your stance. For all you know, the adjudication can be a lengthy process.

      Best Wishes!

  11. I was permanently severanced from my job due to a Co. Reorg & received my last severance pay last week. I called UE & was told that I should now do my application online since I will no longer be getting funds & still without a job & that this coming Sunday regardless of knowing if I will or will not get benefits yet that I should still file a weekly claim in case of UE back pay.
    So my question is, do I still have to report 4 jobs applied to within this week, even if I do not know if I will be approved/denied for benefits until possibly next week anyway?

    1. Lynda,

      You should continue to report the job applications as long as you’ve been asked to do so. There will be a “Waiting Period” and the first payment will take about 7-10 days after which they’ll flow much quicker. Please call the Claims Center for clarification.

  12. I tried to transfer from one state to another. When I left Montana I was told there would be no problem transferring. When I arrived in North Carolina I had trouble reaching the area manager by phone. When he finally called me back he said to meet him for lunch to discuss when and where I would be working. He did not show up for lunch. Then he never returned any of my calls. I went PA to visit a friend a few weeks later and tried there. I met with the hiring manager and was told there should not be a problem doing the transfer since I was still in the system. I called the store a few times and they said it was still pending. Then I was terminated without even a phone call. Am I eligible for unemployment and if so do I file in Montana or North Carolina. I still have a Montana drivers license but I am living in NC.

    1. Stacey,

      As long as you were unemployed involuntarily, you should be able to claim UI benefits. Please consider applying.

  13. I have worked for 32+ years and recently have become unable to work due to health reasons, so I have had to resign from my job. I have contacted SS and will be able to apply for disability but it will take awhile to process. Can I apply for unemployment benefits? I live in WV.

    1. Sandra,

      UI benefits are only extended to claimants who lose their employment due to involuntary reasons. Please reach out to the Unemployment Office for more.

  14. I had to quit my job at Walmart in Fairmont West Virginia and moved back to my home state ky, I’ve got a son with drug problems and 3 older sisters that are not doing so well in health cause of their age. I didn’t understand about the transfer part they had at Walmart that I could put a date when I could start back because of my car problems I thought when I left I had to go in like in s few days, I’ve applied here at Walmart in Winchester ky 40391 two times already plus dollar store, speedway, truck stop, bp, a few other places it’s been going on 7 months without a job I live with my son and its getting harder on him paying rent and utilities and food, not to mention our personal hygiene stuff I really need help I have no income coming in to help him and his wife out I get foodstamps and Medicaid I was praying I could qualify for unemployment PLEASE HELP!!!

    1. Vicky,

      I can understand your situation. Unfortunately, UI benefits are only extended to claimants who lose employment due to involuntary reasons. Please call the Unemployment Office for further clarification.

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