Your unemployment application starts your claim for benefits. But in most states, you will need to submit a weekly certification for every week that you want benefits. You can typically do this by phone or online, through a portal set up by the state unemployment agency.
To receive unemployment benefits, you must be ready and willing to work and actively looking for a job. Each state has its own rules for how rigorous your work search must be. Most states require you to perform at least three or four work search activities each week. This includes a variety of tasks, including:
- applying for an open position
- interviewing for an open position
- meeting with a job placement agency
- attending a professional networking event or job fair, and
- meeting with your state’s unemployment agency career center.
In some states, searching for job opportunities without actually submitting an application—for example, searching through job posting websites or reaching out to contacts through LinkedIn—don’t qualify as valid work search activities. In other states, these activities qualify as legitimate work search activities but cannot account for all of your required work activities.
When you submit your request for benefits every week, you will need to verify your work search efforts. For example, if you applied for a job, you should write down the employer’s name and contact information, the date of the application, the position applied for, and how you applied. The state unemployment agency may contact the potential employer to verify that you applied for the position.
Go back to main Unemployment Compensation FAQ page