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I Lost My Job! What Should I Do?

Updated : September 23rd, 2020

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. So I have been getting ue for 6 months and on Oct 21 I had a fact finding issue found and cleared after taking a month, I got put on hold I got nothing no benefits nothing because I am on hold until cleared up and it was another month later in my favor, I’ve been without payment since Oct 21 since then I have been on HOLD, I am beyond pissed, I call every Fri I see the letter I received saying its in my favor that says I am Monetary Eligible-yet I still have 6 payments on hold. I call DEO and I talk, I beg and I get told “we are working on it”, the letter is in my favor I am poor not rich I am poor Why how do you people get away with this

  2. Hello

    I’m 59 years old and was laid off in March 2020 due to Covid.
    In June 2020 I was advised my job was eliminated and there is no chance of me
    Being brought back. I’m collecting UI since March.

    Pondering the thought of taking my early retirement pension as I can’t survive on
    UI any longer. My pension is of course reduced due to my age. Full pension is age 62.

    If I apply for early reduced pension in this situation, does my UI benefit get decreased? I’m in New York.
    I’m still looking for full time work. No luck.

    Thank you so much

  3. i was just layed off from my job, i did collect benefits in pa. my job is seasonal igot unemployment payments in jan. to april i had 26 weeks of unemployment , but only used about 13 weeks, and was called back to work. i received 2 weeks of 600 dollars of stimlus money. my question is now that i reopened my 2020 claim . i,m i still elegibe for any more stimlus payments along with my regular unemployment payments.

  4. I am 65 yrs old in California and being layed off in Dec 2020. If I apply for unemployment benefits and collect a company pension, will the pension reduce the unemployment benefits ? If you answer call unemployment what is the department or do you have a phone number for a help line. I have called and get automated questions that do not apply to my situation.
    Cannot get to a live person.

  5. Several years ago I was part of a reduction in force and was early-retired for pension purposes. I count on this small pension ($2K/mo) to supplement my employment which has been inconsistent this past two years. I am filing for UI in IL and I qualify for it, but they are saying my pension reduces my UI benefit to zero. Is that right?

    1. Mike,

      That is partially right. The pension will have an impact on UI benefits. Please check for relevant info on the Unemployment Office’s website.

  6. I have $219.00 left on my UE and still no work due to covid-19 will i be able to get a extension on my UE and will it cover the last two weeks. I request payment tomorrow.

      1. My benefits have expired, still.unemployed due to over 65, wdiebrtes, high blood pressure and have one kidney, Can I get PUA , Cares Act for any assistance

  7. im working at a place i have been layed off from a lot in my career.i got 30 yrs in there so i can retire now but need another job to make it hoping to stay working and get more hours.If i take a new job and get layed off there I will BE DRAWING 1400 A MONTH FROM THE JOB I WORKED 30 YRS would i be able to draw unemployment if the new job lays me off and would it be reduced because of my retirement money of 1400 month.

  8. My bf was laid off in April he got the the 600 to start with now he is only getting the unemployment and no extra when we hear ppl getting 3 checks totaling 40k that might be lies but still that is bullshit.

  9. I Sharon Bland or Sharon Scott or Sharon Ann Mccraw
    Use my phone to claim two of my boyfriends and my own benefits. Is that ok ?

  10. I’m getting pua on employment and it was supposed to be backdated to May 27th when I wasn’t ableable to start my new job and somehow it’s August 24th they said it would be backdated been sending messages and pua people keep saying they have emailed you guys too but nobody gets back to me who do I need to contact about this thank you

  11. I check my checking account balance every week but I cannot tell if I am getting my 300.00 extra unemployment. Also. How can I tell if I got my back time unemployment .

    1. Thelma,

      I did not understand what you meant. Please reach out to the Unemployment Office for precise answers to all your questions.

  12. I have exhausted my UI and all extensions. Not eligible for Fed Ed. Does EDD open a PUA claim for me. Or do I have to aoole for it. Its been past 30 days since receiving my Fed Ed denial letter.

  13. i have been unemployed for the whole year almost and since i have been trying to distance myself to better my all around health, it took me this long to file for benefits, i was hoping to get back pay all the way to the beginning.

    1. Zach,

      To qualify, the claimant is required to have sufficient earnings/employment during the “Base Period”. Please use the “Benefits Calculator” available on this website for more.

  14. Thank you o much for investigating this. When I received an overpayment statement and my benefits where stopped I felt my heart drop to my stomach. Already being evicted by a slumlord and now no income, i had to start working when i feel very at risk for getting the virus because of pre-existing conditions and the reason for filing in the first place. i am a cosmetologist and considered non-essential. I feel utterley hopeless and helpless in this situation.

  15. I cannot contact anyone in the unemployment offices because the phone hangs up on me in all cases after listening over and over the recorded message. I have called three numbers .

    I have received pandemic unemployment since March 31st. There was a pending adjudication but I never received any questions, letters nor emails about it and I was approved and paid. Now…this is what the website says:
    7 of 7 entries
    Issue Identification Number Employer Name Issue Type Status Date Mailed Level
    0002 7693 59-01
    PUA Pending 11/16/2020 Adjudication
    0002 4773 71-01
    Program Integrity Mailed 11/6/2020 Adjudicati
    Claimant Inbox
    Select the Search button to display your action items. To narrow your search, input issue date range below and select the Search button.
    Issue Date: From: To: 11/6/2020 to 11/16/2020
    • Below are the items that require your attention and that you need to take action on for your claim.
    • Select the Document ID
    I need this money to survive as others do while I am trying to re-establish any contract freelance work I am capable of doing….I report my small jobs as I get them but they do not come close to equaling my unemployment as of yet. Please tell me where I can go to find out what is needed here.

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