When you initially apply for unemployment benefits in your state, you are given a benefits year in which you can claim unemployment compensation. You are also given a weekly benefit amount and total award amount. The benefits year is a 12-month period and the benefits amount is based on your previous employment. Once you exhaust that award amount, you move onto a continuance or extension of your unemployment benefits. You don't have to do anything for this move, as each state's unemployment office processes the transfer from regular period to continuance period.
File your weekly benefits claim as usual. You can do this using a paper claims form, an online form or by calling in to file your claim.
Wait for your current benefits to exhaust. Typically, you can see the remaining balance for your claim on your benefits payment statement. Each time you receive a benefits payment, the balance lowers. Eventually that balance reaches zero.
Look for a letter from your state unemployment office regarding an unemployment extension. You will only receive this when you have exhausted the balance on your claim. After you receive the extension notice, you can begin filing unemployment compensation claims again.
File your unemployment continuance claims in the same manner as you have been filing your weekly benefits claims. You will notice that your balance has reset from zero to a new amount as you are on a continuance claim, which is also called an extension.