How to File for Unemployment in Every State

24 March 2020 | Loring Weisenberger

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.

What is Unemployment Insurance?

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:

  • Are unemployed through no fault of their own.
  • Meet work and wage requirements.
  • Meet any additional state requirements.

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.

Complete Guide: How to File For Unemployment in Every State

Click On Your State

Alabama Alaska Arizona Arkansas California Colorado Connecticut Delware Florida Georgia
Hawaii Idaho Illinois Indiana Iowa Kansas Kentucky Louisiana Maine Maryland
Massachusetts Michigan Minnesota Mississippi Missouri Montana Nebraska Nevada New Hampshire New Jersey
New Mexico New York North Carolina North Dakota Ohio Oklahoma Oregon Pennsylvania Rhode Island South Carolina
South Dakota Tennessee Texas Utah Vermont Virginia Washington West Virginia Wisconsin Wyoming

How to File for Unemployment in Alabama

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.

How to File For Unemployment in Alaska

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.

You can also find general unemployment information for Alaska here, and updates to unemployment related to the COVID-19 outbreak here.

How to File for Unemployment in Arizona

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.

How to File for Unemployment in Arkansas

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.

How to File for Unemployment in California

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 more general information on unemployment in California, visit the Employment Development Department’s directory here.

How to File for Unemployment in Colorado

You can file for unemployment in Colorado by filing a claim online or by calling one of their dedicated call centers.

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.

How to File for Unemployment in Connecticut

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.

How to File for Unemployment in Delaware

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.

For your reference, the Delaware Department of Labor also currently provides general unemployment information, as well as a convenient COVID-19 Unemployment Insurance FAQ.

How to File for Unemployment in The District of Columbia

You can file of 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 fine general information at the D.C. Department of Employment Services unemployment directory.

How to File for Unemployment in Florida

The state of Florida refers to its Unemployment Insurance program as “Reemployment Assistance Insurance”. To file for unemployment in Florida, start the process through CONNECT, Florida’s Online Reemployment Assistance System or call them directly at 1 (800) 204-2418.

For more information on reemployment assistance in Florida, visit their Reemployment Assistance Service Center.

How to File for Unemployment in Georgia

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.

How to File for Unemployment in Hawaii

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.

How to File for Unemployment in Idaho

To file for Unemployment in Idaho, you can either visit the state’s online claimant portal or call the Department of Labor directly.

The Idaho Department of Labor also provides a handy directory of information of resources on their Unemployment Benefits home page.

How to File for Unemployment in Illinois

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.

How to File for Unemployment in Indiana

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.

How to File for Unemployment in Iowa

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.

How to File for Unemployment in Kansas

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.

How to File for Unemployment in Kentucky

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.

How to File for Unemployment in Louisiana

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.

How to File for Unemployment in Maine

In order to file for unemployment in Maine online, workers will have to first create a ReEmployME account, then file a claim through the Maine Department of Labor’s online portal.

Alternatively, workers in Main can file by an automatic telephone service at 1 (800) 593-7660. General information on unemployment can be found on 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.

How to File for Unemployment in Maryland

You can file for unemployment in Maryland online by accessing the state’s Unemployment Insurance Initial Claim System 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.

How to File for Unemployment in Massachusetts

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 Maine’s Department of Unemployment Assistance home page, including a page dedicated to updates about unemployment benefits and coronavirus.

How to File for Unemployment in Michigan

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.

How to File for Unemployment in Minnesota

To file for unemployment in Minnesota, you can file a claim online or you can file a claim by telephone between the hours of 6:00 am and 8:00 pm Central Time, Sundays through Fridays.

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.

How to File for Unemployment in Mississippi

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.

How to File for Unemployment in Missouri

You can file for unemployment in Missouri by logging into Missouri’s Online Unemployment System or by calling the phone number appropriate to your region.

Further information can be found through the ]Missouri Department of Labor & Industrial Relations](https://labor.mo.gov/unemployed-workers), which is also running an updated page devoted to relevant COVID-19 Information.

How to File for Unemployment in Montana

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.

How to File for Unemployment in Nebraska

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 unemployment insurance benefits.

In response to the novel coronavirus outbreak, Nebraska is loosening and unemployment insurance eligibility requirements and running a COVID-19 information telephone line. It can be reached at (402) 552-6645.

How to File for Unemployment in Nevada

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.

For further information, check out the Nevada Claimant’s Handbook or check out their Unemployment Insurance FAQ.

How to File for Unemployment in New Hampshire

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.

How to File for Unemployment in New Jersey

You can file for unemployment in New Jersey by starting with their step-by-step guide to online filing. Workers also have the option to apply by phone.

For more in-depth information on unemployment in New Jersey, check out this helpful link before you apply.

How to File for Unemployment in New Mexico

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.

How to File for Unemployment in New York

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.

How to File for Unemployment in North Carolina

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.

How to File for Unemployment in North Dakota

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.

How to File for Unemployment in Ohio

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.

Ohio is also providing updates on unemployment insurance changes related to COVID-19.

How to File for Unemployment in Oklahoma

To file for unemployment in Oklahoma, it is recommended that you file online using their Claimant Access Link. Before you begin, useful information can be found here.

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.

How to File for Unemployment in Oregon

You can file for unemployment in Oregon through their Online Claims 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.

How to File for Unemployment in Pennsylvania

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.

How to File for Unemployment in Puerto Rico

You can file for unemployment in Puerto Rico online, by calling (787) 945-7900, or by visiting your nearest local office.

For information regarding COVID-19 and unemployment, you can read the latest updates on the Departamento del Trabajo y Recursos Humanos website.

How to File for Unemployment in Rhode Island

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.

How to File for Unemployment in South Carolina

You can file for unemployment in South Carolina by applying for benefits online. To help you navigate the process, South Carolina provides these guidelines for using their portal.

South Carolina is providing updates on unemployment insurance changes due to COVID-19 here.

How to File for Unemployment in South Dakota

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.

How to File for Unemployment in Tennessee

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.

How to File for Unemployment in Texas

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.

How to File for Unemployment in the U.S. Virgin Islands

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 St. Croix, dial (340) 773-1440
  • For all other islands, dial (340) 776-3700

For more information on unemployment insurance in the U.S. Virgin Islands, check out this overview.

How to File for Unemployment in Utah

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.

How to File for Unemployment in Vermont

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 claim here.

How to File for Unemployment in Virginia

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 insuranceCoronavirus Q&A.

How to File for Unemployment in Washington

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 outbreak of COVID-19 in Washington, check out this directory of unemployment benefits links.

How to File for Unemployment in West Virginia

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.

How to File for Unemployment in Wisconsin

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 Devlopment’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.

How to File for Unemployment in Wyoming

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.

Wrapping Up

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.

Want to read more about United States labor laws? Then check out our post on the complete list of overtime laws by state.

Loring Weisenberger

Loring is a writer, director and graduate of Chapman University’s MFA program in film production. Loring earned his production chops as an independent producer and assistant director, working across multiple formats for companies as diverse as Issa Rae’s Color Creative TV, Blackpills, Havas Worldwide, BuzzFeed and many more.

The Best Production
Payroll Company

Pay your cast and crew quickly and compliantly.

Wrapbook calculates timecards, witholds taxes, handles unions, and processes payments in user-friendly app.

Learn More
Film Payroll