How Unemployment Works

Unemployment compensation is an insurance program run jointly by the federal and state governments. Employers pay into the program; the amount is based on how many employees they have and how many unemployment claims are filed against them. Employees who are eligible and lose their jobs can apply for benefits.

State law determines many rules about unemployment, such as who is eligible, how claims must be filed, and how much applicants receive. Although these important details vary from state to state, all states use a similar general framework. The articles in this section explain some unemployment basics, including how the process works and how to apply for benefits.

Articles on the Unemployment Process

How Unemployment Works
Find information on each step of the process — and answers to common questions about unemployment benefits.

How Long Does It Take To Receive My Unemployment Benefits?
As long as your application is complete and there are no unexpected glitches, you should start receiving benefits within a few weeks after you file your claim.

Resources on Unemployment

Your Rights in the Workplace
The essential resource on your rights at work — and after you lose or leave your job.

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