You’ve been laid off – what happens next?

Millions of Americans have recently lost their job due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Many of these people are asking themselves, “What now?” Losing your job can be an unsettling, disorienting and difficult time – especially with so many unknowns in our world right now.

Professionals who are laid off from their position need to know the steps of navigating this next chapter in their career. The most important thing to remember is that this is temporary. There are resources out there to support you in this transitional time while you search for your next career opportunity.

Step 1: What does it mean to file for unemployment?

The purpose of unemployment insurance is to provide workers who are unemployed, through no fault of their own, with monetary payments for a specific period (usually six months) or until you find a new job. To be eligible for benefits, you must meet your state's requirements for wages earned and for a specified period. The state will determine your wages earned and assess what your weekly benefit amount will be.

For COVID-19-specific information, check out our Families First Coronavirus Response Act FAQ page.

Step 2: Get all of your information ready for the unemployment claim.

Before you file, check with your state unemployment office to determine the best way to open a claim. Requirements may vary from state to state, but here is a sample of the information you will need to have available when filing for unemployment:

  • Mailing address, including zip code and phone number
  • Social Security number
  • Driver's license number (if you have one)
  • Veteran/military separation date
  • Mother's maiden name (for security/access purposes)
  • Name, address, phone number of your last employer
  • Your employer's Federal Employer Identification Number (from your W2 form or pay stub)
  • Date started and date ended of employment
  • How much you earned
  • Previous employer information, depending on how long you worked for your last employer
  • Typically, employer information for the last two years is requested

Step 3: File your claim.

To initiate the unemployment claim process, you will likely be asked a series of questions to verify your eligibility.

  • Do you want taxes withheld from your unemployment check?
  • Are you owed vacation or holiday pay?
  • What is the reason you left your job? If you quit or there are questions on your termination, the application process may be more complicated.

Once you have filed your initial claim for unemployment benefits, you will be able to check your online account each week to apply for benefits. This online account also allows you to check the status of each claim to see when checks were mailed and to review how much unemployment compensation is left in your account.

If you have specific questions about your state’s unemployment process, take a look at these resources for more information on unemployment insurance, filing a claim, unemployment benefits and rates.

For more information on this topic, or to learn how Baker Tilly search and staffing specialists can help, contact our team.

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