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The Pros & Cons of Filing for Unemployment

author image Julie Boehlke
Julie is an avid outdoor enthusiast who loves to camp with friends and family. Julie spends her free time writing, working on her novel and brewing up new recipes of wine—her newest hobby. She enjoys scouring junk shops and antique boutiques in search of rare finds and one of-a-kind treasures. She collects vintage dishes and antiquarian books. Julie spends her days being followed around aimlessly by her most adoring fan—Mushu the pug. She ventures out on weekends to the remote trails and deep north woods of Michigan. Julie also enjoys exploring out of the way nooks and crannies along the great lakes shoreline.
The Pros & Cons of Filing for Unemployment
Man in waiting room filling out job application Photo Credit: Hill Street Studios/Blend Images/Getty Images

If you find yourself without an income due to a job loss, the first thought that may cross your mind is if you qualify for unemployment. While unemployment can be very beneficial in a time of need, there can be some downfalls that could affect you. You have to meet the right amount of requirements and follow the instructions precisely in order for your claim to be processed properly.

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In order to file for unemployment you will need to qualify first. The United States Department of Labor explains that you must have lost your job through no fault of your own. This means you cannot quit or, in some cases, have been fired from your job, unless you can prove your were wrongfully fired. Each state has its own eligibility requirements. You must have worked so many weeks, which is generally at least a quarter of a calendar year, in order to receive benefits. This safeguards you and allows you to receive benefits if you can’t find another job. Your information needs to be verified through the unemployment agency before your benefits are available; the downfall is that it can take up to eight weeks to get your first check.


It is important to file for your unemployment as soon as you get laid off or terminated. Each state makes it convenient by offering you three ways to file: by mail, online and over the phone. Make sure that all the information you report is accurate to the best of your knowledge. Do not lie or manipulate the answers to your questions--this could constitute as fraud and is punishable by imprisonment, according to the Unemployment Handbook website.


There are certain tasks you will need to perform when you file for unemployment, explains CV Tips. Once you file the claim, you will have to register for job training and placement through an unemployment agency. This can be beneficial because they help you develop a career plan to find a new job, and in some cases pay for schooling to advance your career.

Unemployment Benefits

Your unemployment benefits should come in the form of a check or direct deposit. Most unemployment checks are issued on a weekly basis. This allows you to draw on your benefits to substitute your loss of income until you find a new job. Most benefits can be drawn for around 26 weeks on average or until you find a job. The government may extend benefits in times of nationwide economic struggle or high unemployment, reports The United States Department of Labor.


When filing for unemployment you need to consider that there are reasons your claim may be denied. If the state finds you are eligible for benefits based on your explanation for losing your job, but your employer contests you receiving unemployment, your case will have to be reviewed and possibly examined through an unemployment agency court. In the meantime you will still receive your benefits. If the court rules in favor of the employer, you will have to repay all of your benefits back to the state, explains the Massachusetts Department of Revenue.

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