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I Lost My Job! What Should I Do?

Updated : February 7th, 2021

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 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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