Friday, December 10, 2010

How to Sign Up for Alabama Unemployment Benefits

The sudden loss of a job can devastate a family or individual. That is why all states, including Alabama, have programs of unemployment compensation. Unemployment is funded through taxes paid by employers and provides partial replacement of lost wages (usually for six months) to workers in need of a new jobs or is waiting to be recalled from a temporary layoff. If you need to sign up for unemployment in Alabama, the following steps will guide you through the process.

Check to see if you may be eligible to sign up for unemployment in Alabama. There are two main criteria for eligibility. First, you must have a substantial amount of income for 2 of the 4 quarters of your “base period.” The base period is the year ending on the last day of the quarter preceding the most recently completed quarter (thus, if you file in July, your base period is the year ending March 31). Second, you must be either laid off or involuntarily out of work. If you quit you must show you had just cause. If you were fired, your employer has the burden of proof to show they had justified reason. You can get further details by using the link under Resources at the end of this article.

Gather the documents and information you need to file for unemployment. In addition to your Social Security number, you need a valid driver’s license or state ID card. If you are not a US citizen, you also have to provide your work authorization number. Persons leaving military service need to provide the Member 4 copy of their DD-214. Finally, you have to have the name, address, and telephone number of your last employer as well as the starting and ending dates of your employment.

Sign up for unemployment in Alabama either online or by telephone. It is important to do this quickly because your benefits will start from the time you file, not the date you became unemployed. In the case of a temporary layoff, request that your employer file for you. Otherwise, use the link below to go to the Alabama Department of Industrial Relations page. Click on “How to file” and then on the link for the online registration. If you prefer, you can file by telephone using their toll-free number (1-866-234-5382). You will get an automated interactive system that twill ask you several questions in order to connect you with the appropriate Customer Service representative.

Check in each week to certify you are still unemployed and claim your benefits. You can do this either online or by telephone. Instructions are provided when your claim is approved. You are required to report any earnings you have each week (even if you won’t actually be paid until later).

Follow the requirements to remain eligible to receive unemployment compensation. You have to be willing and able to accept a suitable job if offered one. The Department of Industrial Relations requires that you be actively seeking work and may ask for documentation of job applications you have made.

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