The purpose of unemployment insurance is to provide workers, who areunemployed through no fault of their own, with monetary payments for a specific period of time or until the worker finds a new job. Unemployment benefits are provided by state unemployment insurance programs within guidelines established by Federal law. Eligibility for unemployment insurance, benefit amounts and the length of time benefits are available are determined by state law. EligibilityIn order to receive unemployment compensation, workers must meet the requirements for wages earned or time worked during an established (one year) period of time. In addition, workers must be determined to be unemployed through no fault of their own.DisqualificationThe following circumstances may disqualify you from collecting unemployment benefits, depending on state law:Quit without good cause,Fired for misconduct,Resigned because of illness (check on disability benefits),Left to get married,Self-employed,Involved in a labor dispute, Attending School,Unemployment Benefits.Regular benefits are paid for a maximum of 26 weeks in most states. Additional weeks of benefits are be available during times of high unemployment. In many states, the compensation will be half you earnings, up to a maximum amount. For example, in New York State you’re entitled to collect up to a maximum of $405, which is half the state’s average weekly wage. While in Arizona, the highest benefit rate is $205. Benefits are subject to Federal income taxes and must be reported on your Federal income tax return. Extended BenefitsUp to 13 weeks of extended benefits, starting after the 26 weeks of standard benefits are available to eligible unemployed workers in all states. In states with high unemployment, up to 13 additional weeks of benefits will be available after the first extension is used. Check with your State Unemployment Office for information on what benefits you are entitled to. When to File Filing for unemployment should be the first item on your agenda when you’ve been laid-off. It might take two or three weeks to collect a check, so the sooner you file, the faster you’ll get paid. A delay in filing will mean a delay in collecting.How to File Contact your State Unemployment Office for directions on how to file for unemployment compensation. You may be able to file over the phone. In general, to file a claim you will need:Social Security Number,Alien Registration Card if you’re not a US citizen,Mailing address including zip code,Phone number,Names, addresses and dates of employment of all your past employers for the last two years.Getting PaidIt generally takes a few weeks after your claim to receive your first benefit check. Some States, like New York, require a one-week waiting period; therefore, the second week claimed is the first week of payment. Once your claim is approved you should be able to file weekly by phone or mail. When You QuitCan you collect unemployment if you quit your job? It depends. In most cases, if you voluntarily left employment you are not eligible. However, if you left for “good cause” you may be able to collect. “Good cause” would be determined by the state unemployment office and you will be able to make a case for why you are eligible for benefits. If your claim is denied, you should be entitled to a hearing where you can plead your case.State Requirements Registering with the state job service and actively seeking work is a requirement while collecting unemployment. You must be ready, willing, available, and able to work. The Job Service may require job seekers to apply for jobs, submit resumes, and not turn down a position if it meets certain standards.The state Job Service Offices are excellent resources to assist with a job search. Many free services are offered including job listings, career counseling, resume and cover letter writing help, and training. Our job listings by state directory has links to state employment services. Take advantage of the help they can give you – it will make your job search easier.