unemployment benefits http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/10420/all en-US Everything You Need to Know About Unemployment Insurance http://www.wisebread.com/everything-you-need-to-know-about-unemployment-insurance <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/everything-you-need-to-know-about-unemployment-insurance" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/job-loss-478634205.jpg" alt="job loss" title="job loss" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="176" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Most of us don't think about the possibility of losing our jobs at a moment's notice. However, that is exactly what happens to thousands of people every day across the United States. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-things-you-need-to-survive-a-job-loss?ref=seealso">What You Need to Survive a Job Loss</a>)</p> <p>If the unthinkable happens to you, it is important to know where to turn for unemployment help. From locating the correct agency to applying for financial assistance to receiving your funds, read on to discover everything you need to know about unemployment.</p> <h2>Who to Contact</h2> <p>The United States Department of Labor (DOL) oversees unemployment assistance for the entire country. Each state has an agency that determines eligibility, administers compensation, and offers training to get displaced employees back into the workforce.</p> <p>Each state calls the agency something different. To find the agency for your state, use this <a href="http://www.servicelocator.org/OWSLinks.asp">locator map from the DOL</a>. This map will link you up with where to file, check on, and answer questions about your unemployment claim.</p> <h2>Determine Eligibility</h2> <p>Unemployment compensation is provided to employees who have lost their jobs due to something outside of their control. This means the employee could not quit their job without a serious reason (such as a medical condition, harassment at the workplace, or workplace violence) and could not be fired for something they did on the job, like stealing from their employer. Each state determines guidelines for eligibility. Contact your state agency for those rules and regulations.</p> <p>Everyone who files for unemployment must have been employed for a certain length of time prior to filing and earned a certain amount of money. For example, in the state of Colorado, the employee must have earned at least $2,500 during a period of 12 months prior to filing a claim.</p> <p>Another portion of the eligibility for unemployment compensation is your ability and desire to find future employment. You must be actively seeking employment or receiving training towards future employment if financial compensation is going to be received. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/job-hunting-tips-for-the-recently-fired-and-some-for-the-rest-of-us-too?ref=seealso">Job Hunting Tips for the Recently Fired</a>)</p> <h2>Filing a Claim</h2> <p>You can begin the application process for unemployment immediately after the loss of your job. In some states, you can file online, over the phone, or by using a mobile app. When you do file, be sure to have information about your employer and your employment history available. You will be asked questions about who your employer was as well as the address and phone number for them. You will need to provide dates for when your employment began and when it ended. Also, be prepared to provide information about your income while you were employed.</p> <p>After filing your claim, it can take two or three weeks before payment is received. Some states require a waiting period of one week before money is issued.</p> <h2>Remaining Eligible</h2> <p>In order to remain eligible for unemployment, you must continue to file the status of your claim with the agency. Every state has set this up differently. You may need to provide an update every week or two weeks. You will be required to answer questions about the process you are going through to find new employment. Some states may require lists of employers who have your resume, some may require you to register with employment agencies, and some may require you to come into their office a certain number of hours each week to conduct your job search.</p> <p>To remain eligible, it is important that you update your status on the day that it is required. Failing to do so can mean a disruption or cancellation of your benefits. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tips-for-thriving-in-long-term-unemployment?ref=seealso">Thriving in Long-Term Unemployment</a>)</p> <h2>Receiving Benefits</h2> <p>Unemployment benefits can be financial payments, insurance, and job training. Each state will determine which you need. If your spouse has insurance that is available to you, then the state will not provide you with unemployment insurance. If you are already highly-skilled, job training may not be available but other resources like resume building and interviewing skills can be an option. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-interview-technique-will-get-you-hired?ref=seealso">This Interview Technique Will Get You Hired</a>)</p> <p>Financial benefits can be in the form of a check, but most states have moved to automatic deposits into a state-controlled debit account. The amount is based on a percentage of your previous year's income and can not go over the state's maximum. Compensation is available for a maximum of 26 weeks unless it is during a time of high unemployment, in which case <a href="http://www.workforcesecurity.doleta.gov/unemploy/extenben.asp">extended benefits</a> are available. Money received is considered taxable income and will need to be claimed on your yearly income taxes.</p> <p>If you have filed a claim for unemployment benefits and were denied, you do have the right to file an appeal. Appeals can be filed with the same agency that you filed your initial claim with and should be done as soon as possible.</p> <p>Whether you are anticipating a layoff months in advance or you find yourself without a job very suddenly, the process of applying for unemployment benefits can feel daunting. However, filing a claim need not be a painful experience. Arm yourself with all the information on your employment and these tips beforehand to ensure the process is as smooth as possible.</p> <p><em>Have you ever made a claim for unemployment benefits? What was the process like for you?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/linsey-knerl">Linsey Knerl</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/everything-you-need-to-know-about-unemployment-insurance">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/laid-off-make-sure-you-get-your-unemployment">Laid Off? You May Have to Fight for Unemployment Benefits</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-first-5-things-you-must-do-after-getting-laid-off">The First 5 Things You Must Do After Getting Laid Off</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-financial-moves-to-make-the-moment-you-get-fired">11 Financial Moves to Make the Moment You Get Fired</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-deal-when-you-work-with-someone-you-hate">8 Ways to Deal When You Work With Someone You Hate</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/meet-meg-favreau-our-senior-editor">Meet Meg Favreau, Our Senior Editor</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career and Income Life Hacks job loss unemployment unemployment benefits Wed, 30 Apr 2014 08:00:22 +0000 Linsey Knerl 1137341 at http://www.wisebread.com Jobless Americans Paying Fees for Unemployment Benefits http://www.wisebread.com/jobless-americans-paying-fees-for-unemployment-benefits <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/jobless-americans-paying-fees-for-unemployment-benefits" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/empty-piggy-bank-iStock_000015508140Small.jpg" alt="empty piggy bank" title="empty piggy bank" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>OK, brace yourself because I'm about to get on my soapbox again. This time, I'm very annoyed that unemployed workers are receiving their benefits on prepaid cards.</p> <p>The problem is that they have to pay fees to use the cards. There are fees for using out-of-network ATMs, withdrawals at a teller window, balance inquiries, talking to a customer service rep, and more. If you'd like to see what fees are applicable in your state, you can see the report here: <a href="http://www.nclc.org/images/pdf/pr-reports/state-by-state-highlights-2013.pdf">2013 State-by-State Highlights of Unemployment Compensation Prepaid Card Programs</a>.</p> <p>I'm sure it's very convenient (and cheap) for state governments to issue unemployment benefits on prepaid cards. But the reason the unemployed need the benefits is because they're hurting for cash. It doesn't seem fair to make them pay fees &mdash; even small fees &mdash; to access this money. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/beware-celebrities-bearing-prepaid-cards">Beware Celebrities Bearing Prepaid Cards</a>)</p> <h2>At Least the Fees Have Gone Down</h2> <p>A recent survey by the National Consumer Law Center (NCLC) showed that the fees aren't nearly as bad as they were in 2011, when the NCLC did their initial survey about this.</p> <p>In 2011, workers were paying a ridiculous amount of fees to access their benefits, including overdraft fees. Now, overdraft fees are gone, and according to the new survey, workers are paying less in fees than they did in 2011. It's good to hear that the prepaid cards have improved, but it's still crazy that the jobless have to pay fees at all.</p> <p>California, according to the NCLC survey, has the best prepaid card. Still, workers there paid nearly $1.8 million in fees in the past year. And that doesn't include ATM surcharges!</p> <h2>Five States Are Breaking the Law</h2> <p>California may have the best prepaid card when it comes to fees, but the state is violating the law by requiring workers to receive benefits via prepaid cards. Kansas, Indiana, Maryland, and Nevada are also breaking the law by requiring that the unemployed receive benefits on prepaid cards. According to the NCLC report, &quot;Workers in five states incur prepaid card fees unnecessarily as those states violate federal law and require use of the prepaid card, without offering the choice of direct deposit to the worker&rsquo;s own account.&quot;</p> <p>At least in California, Kansas, and Maryland, workers can get an automatic transfer from the prepaid cards into their own bank accounts. But only 21% to 25% do this, and I'm guessing it's due to timing issues. If they set up the transfer, it can delay their access to the funds anywhere from one to four days. If you're unemployed, I can imagine you'd need every penny as quickly as possible.</p> <p>I'm wondering why this is allowed to continue. I mean, these five states are very publicly breaking the law. So why isn't something being done? I don't get it.</p> <h2>What's the Answer?</h2> <p>The obvious answer, pointed out in the NCLC report, is to allow direct deposit into the worker's bank account. And for heaven's sake, don't turn it into a tedious exercise. This gives workers the money they need as quickly as possible.</p> <p>To be fair, some states do encourage this as the preferred choice when a worker decides how to receive the benefits. But some states have made it difficult to choose direct deposit as the primary option without jumping through hoops.</p> <p>Here are the recommendations from the NCLC report:</p> <ul> <li>Offer direct deposit to the worker's own account first at the time of application. And make the sign-up easy.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Offer a minimum of one free ATM and teller withdrawal for each deposit.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-annoying-bank-fees-and-how-to-avoid-them">Eliminate fees</a> for balance inquiries, customer service calls, and denied transactions.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Monitor fees and involve workers and advocates to address the costs.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Publicize ways to get fee-free cash access and give information about the location of free ATMs.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Offer complete and accurate fee information on the state website. And display it prominently.</li> </ul> <p>The last two bullet points are crucial, especially for those who don't have bank accounts because the prepaid card is their only option. One of the issues I've always had with prepaid cards is that, too often, the fees aren't easy to find. And certainly, it's up to the consumer to read the fine print, so I'm not absolving people from responsibility. But I do know the legal jargon and lack of clarity makes the fine print difficult to understand.</p> <p>So, what do you think about this? I'd love to hear your thoughts. And yes, even if you disagree with me!</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/beverly-harzog">Beverly Harzog</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jobless-americans-paying-fees-for-unemployment-benefits">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/pay-yourself-first-what-it-means-and-how-to-do-it">Pay Yourself First: What It Means, and How to Do It</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-technology-can-streamline-financial-management">8 Ways Technology Can Streamline Financial Management</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/could-you-save-money-by-subscribing-to-an-addictive-game">Could you save money by subscribing to an addictive game?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-smart-money-moves-to-make-in-the-new-year">8 Smart Money Moves to Make in the New Year</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-money-goals-you-can-still-reach-by-2017">13 Money Goals You Can Still Reach by 2017</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance direct deposit prepaid cards unemployment benefits Mon, 25 Feb 2013 11:36:35 +0000 Beverly Harzog 968063 at http://www.wisebread.com How Will the Obama Tax-Cut Deal Affect You? http://www.wisebread.com/how-will-the-obama-tax-cut-deal-affect-you <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-will-the-obama-tax-cut-deal-affect-you" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/obama_0.jpg" alt="Barack Obama" title="Barack Obama" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="240" height="238" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>On December 17th, 2010, President Obama signed a $858-billion tax-cut package into law. Here are the important points in this package that may affect your personal finances.</p> <h3>Bush Tax Cuts Extended</h3> <p>First of all, the tax cuts put into place by President Bush in 2001 and 2003 are extended for all income levels for two years, until the end of 2012. This means that the lower tax brackets we have enjoyed for the past decade will not change very much. Capital gains and dividends will still be taxed at the current rates, so there is no need to sell all your investments at the end of this year in anticipation of higher capital gains rates. The $1,000-per-child refundable tax credit is also staying for at least two more years instead of reverting to $500 per child. Another important consequence of the Bush tax cuts is that the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-marriage-penalty-of-taxes-in-america-how-does-it-affect-you">marriage penalty</a> was lessened for couples where the husband and wife have similar incomes. Since Obama extended these tax cuts, this means that the marriage penalty will not increase.</p> <h3>Payroll Taxes Reduced</h3> <p>The Social Security taxes paid on wages will be reduced 2% for 2011 only. Basically, workers will pay 4.2% of their wages instead of 6.2% in 2011. The wage ceiling for Social Security taxes is $106,800, so this means that the maximum amount a person could save is $2,136. This is a good opportunity for everyone to contribute the 2% savings to a retirement account since you are given a reprieve from funding someone else's retirement.</p> <h3>Inheritance Tax Comes Back with a Smaller Bite</h3> <p>In 2010 the inheritance tax actually didn't exist due to Bush's tax package. In 2011 it is coming back, but it is much less harsh than the inheritance tax rates in the Clinton era. The Obama plan approved a 35% tax rate on estates worth over $5 million. Basically, estates under $5 million will pay no taxes, and that exempts most estates. If Obama did nothing, then the estate tax rate would have reverted back to 55% for estates over $1 million.</p> <h3>Alternative Minimum Tax Patched Again</h3> <p>The alternative minimum tax is a parallel tax system established in 1982 to guarantee that everyone pays at least some taxes, regardless of deductions. However, the problem with this tax system is that the exemption is not indexed for inflation, so if Congress does not change the law every year, more and more people are affected by the AMT. In this package, the alternative minimum tax patch is continuing into 2011, so millions of middle class families will not have to pay more taxes. The exemption is now $74,450 for married joint filers and $48,450 for single filers.</p> <h3>Unemployment Benefits Extended</h3> <p>The current levels of unemployment benefits will be intact for another 13 months. This doesn't mean that everybody is getting 13 more months of unemployment checks. What this means is that if the federal government decided not to pass this law, then unemployment benefits would stop at 26 weeks. Now that this law has passed, those who have not exhausted all their unemployment benefits will be able to collect the maximum amount of unemployment benefits allowed in their state for another 13 months. However, those who have already collected the maximum 99 weeks of benefits will not get any extension.</p> <p>In summary, this package was passed so that Americans will not feel a huge change in their finances. If Congress and President Obama did nothing, then the Bush tax cuts would have expired by law and everyone would have had to pay more taxes. However, the package pretty much guarantees that taxes will have to be raised in the future because this is basically more deficit spending. It's in the spirit of &quot;consume now and pay the consequences later,&quot; and it seems to be the American way.</p> <p><em>What do you think? How will your finances be impacted by this law?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/xin-lu">Xin Lu</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-will-the-obama-tax-cut-deal-affect-you">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-put-your-2011-payroll-tax-break-to-work">6 Ways to Put Your 2011 Payroll Tax Break to Work</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-indirect-ways-taxes-to-the-rich-may-hurt-you">6 Indirect Ways Taxes to the Rich May Hurt You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-money-with-a-dependent-care-tax-credit-and-fsa">Save Money with a Dependent Care Tax Credit and FSA</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-expiring-bush-tax-cuts-what-s-the-fuss">The Expiring Bush Tax Cuts: What’s the Fuss?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/irs-delays-start-of-tax-filing-for-some-taxpayers-in-2011">IRS Delays Start of Tax Filing for Some Taxpayers in 2011</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Financial News Taxes Alternative Minimum Tax Barack Obama tax cuts unemployment benefits Tue, 21 Dec 2010 14:00:10 +0000 Xin Lu 400313 at http://www.wisebread.com Laid Off? You May Have to Fight for Unemployment Benefits http://www.wisebread.com/laid-off-make-sure-you-get-your-unemployment <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/laid-off-make-sure-you-get-your-unemployment" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/3205285466_e054491140_z.jpg" alt="fist" title="fist" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="214" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you've recently been <a title="Tips for the Recently Laid Off" href="http://www.wisebread.com/lost-my-job-tips-for-the-recently-laid-off">laid off</a>, you may have to <a title="Unemployment: Not for Everyone" href="http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/Weekend/story?id=6928837&amp;page=1">fight for your right to collect unemployment</a> from the government.</p> <p>You probably know that if you are fired, you can't collect unemployment from the government. Although qualifications can vary from state to state, generally, <a title="unemployment factsheet" href="http://workforcesecurity.doleta.gov/unemploy/uifactsheet.asp">only people who are laid off</a> from their jobs will qualify for unemployment benefits. But did you know that, even if you are laid off, your employer can <a title="employers fight unemployment benefits" href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/02/11/AR2009021104311.html">challenge your right to receive benefits</a>?</p> <p>Sneaky employers have always done this. It's not obvious at first why any business would want to prevent an employee caught up in massive job lay-offs from feeding their families until they find another job. After all, the money is coming from the government, right? (See also: <a title="Help! I Lost My Job!" href="http://www.wisebread.com/lost-my-job-tips-for-the-recently-laid-off">Help! I Lost My Job!</a>)</p> <p>Well, yes and no. The money that is used to pay unemployment benefits comes from unemployment insurance fees that employers pay into (similar to other government taxes). Whenever an employer lays off a bunch of workers, and these workers file for unemployment benefits with the government, the employer's unemployment insurance rates go up. It's still cheaper than paying the actual salaries of the laid off employees, but many employers who are trying to cut costs are willing to do anything to prevent rising insurance rates of any kind.</p> <p>The way to do this is to challenge the laid-off workers' rights to collect benefits by claiming that the employee was fired for poor performance, rather than laid off due to the company's financial difficulties. If a worker is let go for performance-based reasons, the employer doesn't have to pay additional unemployment insurance for them. So, companies are increasingly telling the government that laid-off workers were actually fired for negligence, poor performance, or as a recent laid-off employee from Verizon was accused, &quot;detour and frolic.&quot;</p> <p>The bad news is that employer disputes of unemployment benefits claims are up &mdash; the good news is that employers aren't only any more successful in their disputes than normal. They only win roughly 1/3 of their challenges, a figure that has remained consistent since the 1980s.</p> <p>If your employer challenges your right to unemployment benefits, you will likely have to get involved in some sort of mediation, either in court or through a similar process that involves a small hearing. How this works varies from state to state, but <a title="service locator" href="http://www.servicelocator.org/OWSLinks.asp">here's a handy map for finding your state agency</a> that deals with unemployment benefits.</p> <p>You can't do anything to prevent your employer from being a jerk, so if you know you might be caught up in layoffs in the coming months, here is what you can do to prepare for battle:</p> <p>1. <strong>Collect, print, and save all examples of superiors or coworkers praising your work or worth ethic.</strong> Emails, written notes, yearly performance reviews, letters of commendation &mdash; anything to prove that you were a valuable employee will be helpful in making your case to your state unemployment agency. If you can collect information that proves what your position was within your company, be it an employee contract, formal written job offer, or employee roster with job titles. On a similar note, be aware of any potential rebukes that your employer could mention if they should appeal your unemployment claim.</p> <p>2. When you are notified of the layoffs, <strong>do your best to be gracious.</strong> No one likes losing their job, but responding angrily will not help you. It's best to leave without burning any bridges.</p> <p>3. <strong>File for unemployment benefits as soon as you are eligible.</strong> If you are quick enough, you might stay ahead of the pack and get approved for benefits before your employer gets their wits about them.</p> <p>4. When you do get laid off, <strong>ask your employer to state the reasons for your dismissal in writing.</strong> Some employers only provide a verbal apology and a box to pack your stuff in, but it never hurts to ask for a more formal letter of dismissal.</p> <p>5. If you are a part of a massive layoff at a large company, the kind of layoffs that warrant articles in the news media, <strong>clip and keep articles that mention the layoffs.</strong> If you were let go along with a few hundred or thousand other employees, you may have a better chance of proving that your lack of unemployment was not due to any negligence on your behalf, but rather, was a function of a lousy economy.</p> <p>6. <strong>Be honest.</strong> Don't lie about your compensation, work history, or position. Any inconsistencies in your application that your employer can dispute will only hurt your case.</p> <p>7. If you can, <strong>ask your supervisor for a letter of recommendation</strong> either before or immediately after you are let go.</p> <p>8. Even though it's tiresome to hear, <strong>get your resume updated as soon as you can.</strong> Be sure to actively seek employment in a broad range of industries. Most unemployment benefits require that you constantly search for a new job. Keep a copy (electronic or printed) of every job application you submit.</p> <p>9. <strong>Remember &mdash; unemployment benefits really aren't that great, and will run out fairly quickly.</strong> If you CAN find another job with decent pay and benefits, you should consider taking it. After all, finding a new job when you are already employed is easier than finding a new job when you are jobless.</p> <p><em>Have you had to fight for your unemployment benefits when your former employer challenged your filing? What did you do to prove your case?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-karim">Andrea Karim</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/laid-off-make-sure-you-get-your-unemployment">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. 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