If you’re ever out of a job or otherwise unable to work, three questions might spring to mind: should I file for unemployment? Where do I file for unemployment? And perhaps, mostly importantly, how do I file for unemployment?
Getting answers to these questions can prove a challenging experience, and, as a result, the process of filing for unemployment benefits can seem intimidating.
But it doesn’t have to be.
That’s why in this post, we cover where and how to file for unemployment in every state.
Unemployment insurance (often referred to as “unemployment benefits”) is a joint state-federal program under the U.S. Department of Labor that provides financial assistance to eligible workers. That means that, technically, every state manages their own, separate unemployment program, but each program must also follow basic guidelines established as federal law.
The eligibility requirements for unemployment insurance vary state-to-state, but a worker is generally considered eligible if they:
If you believe you may be eligible based on those general requirements, the next step is to check into the specifics of your state’s unemployment program. Scroll down to check out our state-by-state breakdown of unemployment basics with links to the in-depth information you need.
To file for unemployment in Alabama, simply visit their claims page here and follow instructions. You’ll need your social security number and your most recent employment information, along with a driver’s license or state issued ID card for identity verification.
If you’re unable to file online, you can also file for unemployment in Alabama by telephone. Check out this list for the appropriate number.
If you have further questions, please visit the Alabama Department of Labor’s Unemployment Compensation information page.
You can file for unemployment in Alaska 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by clicking “Unemployment Insurance Benefits” at this link. You’ll need to register a myAlaska account before filing your claim.
If you need assistance regarding an already-filed or in-progress claim, call the claim center closest to your area, as listed on this directory.
To file for unemployment in Arizona online, start by visiting their Unemployment Insurance application page. It’s important to follow their instructions carefully, as Arizona requires that you file weekly claims to continue your benefits after your initial application.
If you have questions or would like to apply by telephone, dial the appropriate number for your area, listed here.
For general unemployment information and updates relevant to COVID-19, follow the links from Arizona’s online directory for Unemployment Insurance Benefits.
You can file for unemployment in Arkansas online by visiting Arkansas’ official claims page, by calling the Arkline interactive voice response system on your telephone, or by visiting your nearest Arkansas Workforce Center in person.
For further unemployment information, please visit the Arkansas Division of Workforce Services official site.
To file for unemployment in California online, by phone, by fax, or even by mail, start the process by visiting the Employment Development Department’s “Filing a Claim” website.
California is working hard to adjust its Unemployment Insurance program to meet the needs of the COVID-19 outbreak, including the expansion of some benefits and encouraging traditionally ineligible 1099 workers to apply. For updates and details, visit their Coronavirus 2019 information page.
For assistance filing unemployment or information on unemployment insurance in California, contact the Employment Development Department.
Please note that Colorado has initiated temporary Colorado Health Emergency Leave with Pay (“Colorado HELP”) rules, requiring that employers in certain industries provide a small amount of additional paid sick leave to compensate for lost wages due to the outbreak of COVID-19. For more information or to see if you might be eligible, please visit the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment’s official site.
To file for unemployment in Connecticut, check out their online claim filing website. Connecticut does not currently offer telephone assistance for unemployment claims.
In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Connecticut Department of Labor is updating a Coronavirus Unemployment Insurance FAQ that details temporary adjustments to the state’s program, like the waiving of work-search requirements for all unemployment claimants.
To file for unemployment in Delaware, you’ll need to start an online claim on their website. Please note that after you file your claim, you’ll also have to register with the state’s claimant portal in order to submit information and documents to the appropriate offices.
You can file for unemployment in Washington, D.C. by visiting their online Unemployment Insurance Service Center for Claimants or by calling them directly at (202) 724-7000. You can find general information at the D.C. Department of Employment Services unemployment directory.
The state of Florida refers to its unemployment program as “Reemployment Assistance Benefits”. To file for unemployment in Florida, start the process through the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity or call them directly at 1(833)352-7759.
For more information on reemployment assistance in Florida, visit their Reemployment Assistance Service Center.
To file for unemployment in Georgia, you can follow a series of instructions for filing on the Department of Labor’s official website or you can their Interactive Voice Response Telephone Number to seek additional information first. General information on unemployment benefits in the state of Georgie can be found here.
You can file for unemployment in Hawaii by registering with the state’s online portal, but please note that the portal restricts the hours within which a claim can actually be submitted.
For general unemployment information, visit the state of Hawaii’s Unemployment Insurance website.
The Idaho Department of Labor also provides a handy directory of information of resources on their Unemployment Benefits home page.
You can file for unemployment in Illinois online, by telephone, or in person at your nearest Illinois Department of Employment Security office.
However, at the time of this writing, all physical IDES offices are closed due to the outbreak of COVID-19. Additionally, Illinois has recently adopted emergency rules to extend unemployment insurance to some individuals whose unemployment might be attributable to the outbreak. Check their Coronavirus FAQ page to see if the new regulations might affect you.
You can only file for unemployment in Indiana via the state’s Claimant Self-Service (CSS) Portal, but the Department of Workforce Development also offers extensive information resources through its Indiana Unemployment directory.
Indiana is also providing updates to its unemployment insurance program relevant to the novel coronavirus on the DWD’s COVID-19 Information page.
To file for unemployment in Iowa, you’ll need to log-in to their Unemployment Benefits On-line Application System during specified hours.
However, the Iowa Department of Workforce Development provides general information through their Unemployment Insurance Benefits home page at all times.
In order to keep unemployed workers up-to-date with any changes made to the program in response to COVID-19, the Iowa DWD has released a handy Coronavirus Unemployment Insurance FAQ.
You can access general information and file for unemployment in Kansas by internet or telephone by accessing the Kansas Department of Labor’s Unemployment Benefits home page.
In recognition of the impact of the coronavirus on its workforce, the Kansas Department of Labor has also created a COVID-19 Response Resources web page that they will continue to update with relevant information as it becomes available.
Workers can file for unemployment in Kentucky either online or via telephone, both during restricted hours only.
In-person applications can be made at select Kentucky Career Center locations. You can find addresses for those offices as well as general unemployment information on the Kentucky Career Center’s “If You Are Unemployed” page.
To file for unemployment in Louisiana, you’ll have to register with and work through the state’s HiRE program online portal or call them directly at (866) 783-5567.
Additional unemployment and reemployment information can be found on the Louisiana Workforce Commission’s home page, and updates relevant to the coronavirus outbreak can be found on their COVID-19 “Information By Division” page.
Alternatively, workers in Main can file by an automatic telephone service at 1 (800) 593-7660. General information on unemployment can be found in the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Unemployment Compensation directory.
The state of Maine has also released a COVID-19 Unemployment Insurance FAQ to help unemployed workers understand emergency legislation made in response to the novel coronavirus outbreak.
You can file for unemployment by completing Maryland Department of Labor’s BEACON Unemployment Insurance Application online or via telephone by dialing the appropriate unemployment insurance call center for your area.
Further information can be found on the Department of Labor’s Division of Unemployment Insurance home page.
Maryland is also running a Frequently Asked Questions page for worker inquiries related to COVID-19.
Workers can file for unemployment in Massachusetts by either logging into the state’s online Unemployment Insurance portal or via telephone by reaching their TeleClaim Center at (617) 626-6800.
Links to further unemployment information can be found on Massachusetts' Department of Unemployment Assistance home page, including a page dedicated to updates about unemployment benefits and coronavirus.
To file for unemployment in Michigan, workers can access the Michigan Web Account Manager for Unemployment Insurance or call 1 (866) 500-0017.
General information can be found via links at the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity’s unemployment insurance home page.
Further information for unemployment insurance applicants can be found at the Minnesota Unemployment Insurance home page. Minnesota is also keeping an updated information resource for COVID-19 and Unemployment Benefits.
You can file for unemployment in Mississippi by calling (601) 855-3133, (888) 844-3577, or by accessing the Mississippi Department of Employment Security’s Online Services System.
General information on unemployment insurance claims can be found on the MDES claims information directory.
Further information can be found through the Missouri Department of Labor & Industrial Relations), which is also running an updated page devoted to relevant COVID-19 Information.
To file for unemployment in Montana, you’ll have to access the Montana Works online portal or by calling their Claims Processing Center at (406) 444-2545.
General unemployment information can be found on the Montana Department of Labor & Industry’s Unemployment Insurance Division home page.
Additionally, the Department of Labor & Industry is maintaining a COVID-19 Resource Guide to guide employers and employees through any emergency adjustments to employment systems.
In order to file for unemployment in Nebraska, you’ll first have to register an account on Nebraska’s reemployment website, NEworks. After you’ve registered, you can log into the system and file a claim under the Unemployment Services menu.
For further information, the Nebraska Department of Labor provides a detailed FAQ on filing an application.
In response to the novel coronavirus outbreak, Nebraska is loosening unemployment insurance eligibility requirements and running a COVID-19 information telephone line. It can be reached at (402) 552-6645.
You can file for unemployment in Nevada by accessing their online system and registering as a new claimant. If you have questions, you can speak to a claim representative by telephone in Northern Nevada at (775) 684-0350 or in Southern Nevada at (702) 486-0350.
To file for unemployment in New Hampshire, log-in to the New Hampshire Employment Security’s online portal. You can also reach out with questions to the Unemployment Assistance Hotline at (603) 271-7700. Due to the unprecedented volume of claims impacting their system as a result of COVID-19, applicants are assigned a block of time in which to file their claim based on the first letter of the last name.
Generally, workers also have the option to file in person, but all offices are currently closed due to the coronavirus outbreak.
For more in-depth information on unemployment in New Jersey, check out this helpful link before you apply.
The easiest way to file for unemployment in New Mexico is to register an account with the New Mexico Workforce Connection Online System and file your initial claim online.
Claimants may also file via telephone by dialing (877) 664-6984. After following the automated prompts, your call will be transferred to a live Customer Service Agent, who will complete your claim. The Unemployment Insurance Operations Center is open 8:00 am – 4:30 pm, Mondays through Fridays.
In response to the outbreak of COVID-19, New Mexico is maintaining a list of updates to its unemployment benefits as well as some information specifically regarding eligibility for workers affected by COVID-19.
To file for unemployment in New York, you’ll need to use your NY.gov ID to sign in and file your claim online with the New York Department of Labor.
For more information on the application process, check out this step-by-step guide to the process.
In response to the outbreak of COVID-19, the state of New York is waiving the 7-day waiting period for unemployment insurance benefits for workers affected by closures or quarantines. Additionally, if you are filing a new unemployment insurance claim, you may be restricted to filing on specific days of the week as determined by the first letter of your last name.
You can file for unemployment in North Carolina online 24/7. Get started by creating an account with the North Carolina Department of Commerce. Your account also provides direct access to the Claimant Self-Service Portal, where you can get information about your claim at any time.
You can also file a claim over the phone by calling the Customer Call Center at (888) 737-0259, Mondays through Fridays, between the hours of 8:00 am and 4:30 pm.
Further information before you apply can be found at this helpful link.
Changes to North Carolina’s unemployment insurance program due to COVID-19 can be found here.
To file for unemployment in North Dakota, you can either file your claim online or file it by telephone using their automated system at (701) 328-4995. The telephone system is live Monday through Friday, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm CT.
Before you file, be sure to read the relevant information regarding unemployment eligibility as well as the changes to eligibility as a result of COVID-19.
You can file for unemployment in Ohio either online by registering an account with your social security number or by telephone at (877) 644-6562. Workers can learn more about their eligibility by checking out Ohio’s unemployment policy.
If you experience any difficulties with their online system filing an initial or weekly claim, you can always use Oklahoma’s Interactive Voice Response System at (405) 525-1500 or (800) 555-1554.
You can file for unemployment in Oregon through their Online Claim System or by calling the Unemployment Insurance Center at (877) 345-3484.
General information regarding unemployment insurance can be found directly on the state of Oregon’s website.
To file for unemployment insurance in Pennsylvania, check out their secure unemployment insurance website. You can start your claim by scrolling to the bottom of the page and clicking the “File Claim” button.
You can also file over the phone using Pennsylvania’s statewide toll-free number at (800) 313-7284. The state of Pennsylvania also offers a videophone filing option for individuals who use American Sign Language (ASL). This service can be reached at (717) 704-8474 every Wednesday from 12:00 pm to 4:00 pm.
Pennsylvania is providing updates on unemployment insurance changes related to COVID-19 here.
For information regarding COVID-19 and unemployment, you can read the latest updates on the Departamento del Trabajo y Recursos Humanos website.
To file for unemployment in Rhode Island, you can file online using their Claims System or call them directly at (401) 243-9100.
For more information on eligibility and benefits, the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training maintains a helpful FAQ page.
In Rhode Island, COVID-19 unemployment insurance claims are processed faster and can be more generous than TDI/TCI, if you are out of work due to the COVID-19 outbreak. If you are impacted by the coronavirus, be sure to check out this information.
South Carolina is providing updates on unemployment insurance changes due to COVID-19 here.
You can file for unemployment in South Dakota by creating an online account or by calling at (605) 626-3179 between 8:00 am and 4:20 pm CT.
For further information, you can download their full assistance claim brochure.
For updates on unemployment insurance changes related to COVID-19, check out this page.
You can file for unemployment in Tennessee by filing your claim online or by reaching out to their telephone support for unemployment insurance filing at (844) 224-5818.
The Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development is so using this number to answer questions from employers and employees affected by the outbreak of COVID-19.
To file for unemployment in Texas, file your claim online through their Unemployment Benefits Services page or call the TWC Tele-Center at (800) 939-6631. The number is available from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm CT, Monday through Friday.
Workers may also dial the Tele-Center if their employment has been affected by COVID-19.
To file for unemployment in the U.S. Virgin Islands, you’ll have to apply in-person at the appropriate local office.
You can find claims assistance by calling the appropriate telephone number by region:
For more information on unemployment insurance in the U.S. Virgin Islands, check out this overview.
To file for unemployment in Utah, you’ll first have to go through their Preliminary Monetary Determination using your social security number and employment history. You can then file an initial claim online here.
The state of Utah has put together information and updates regarding COVID-19 and unemployment insurance. According to their website, if you are impacted by the outbreak, you should apply for unemployment insurance.
Workers can file for unemployment in Vermont either through the state’s online unemployment portal or by calling their Insurance Claims Center at (877) 214-3330. Vermont is providing updates on COVID-19 as changes are being to the handling of unemployment insurance claims here.
You can file for unemployment in Virginia online or by telephone at (866) 832-2363. The phone line is available from 8:15 am to 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday.
Before you begin filing your claim, be sure to check the state’s unemployment guidelines.
If you’re looking for information related to COVID-19 and its effects on unemployment insurance, check out the unemployment insurance Coronavirus Q&A.
To file for unemployment in Washington, either log into their SecureAccess Washington (SAW) online portal or call directly at (800) 318-6022.
For general information on unemployment as well as updates related to the outbreak of COVID-19 in Washington, check out this directory of unemployment benefits links.
To file for unemployment in West Virginia, you must file your initial claim online through the WorkForce West Virginia Unemployment Compensation Division Web Application. Further inquiries can be made at your local WorkForce West Virginia office, but initial claims will NOT be accepted in-person.
For general information, please visit the WorkForce West Virginia unemployment directory.
You can file for unemployment in Wisconsin by either filing for benefits online or by calling the appropriate phone number. Please note that hours are restricted for both online and telephone services.
For general unemployment information, check out the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development’s unemployment insurance information directory.
For information pertaining directly to unemployment insurance and the effects of COVID-19, check out the DWD’s Coronavirus General Information page.
You can file for unemployment in Wyoming by accessing the state’s online unemployment insurance portal.
Alternatively, you can file a claim via telephone by calling (307) 473-3789, for in-state services, and (866) 729-7799, for out-of-state services.
General unemployment insurance can be found on the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services’ unemployment insurance directory.
If you’re filing for unemployment, the process doesn’t have to feel intimidating. Nearly every state operates multiple sources for providing up-to-date information to workers.
If you have tough questions, rest assured that your state government has the resources to answer them.
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