How to Apply for Unemployment for Loss of Work Hours

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Unemployment benefits help people who are laid off support themselves while they search for a new job. In most states, people who still are employed may qualify for partial unemployment benefits if their employers drastically cut their work hours due to lack of work. Apply for partial unemployment using the same application you would use for regular unemployment and attach a letter from your employer stating that you are partially unemployed.

  • Ask your employer for a written statement regarding his decision to cut your work hours. The written statement must include how many hours the company considers full time and how many hours per week you work. The statement should also state that your employer cut your hours because of lack of available work.

  • Apply for unemployment. In many states, you can apply for unemployment online at the labor or work force department's website. If you do not have Internet access, you can get an application by visiting your local unemployment office. Fill in the unemployment application completely. Provide your legal name, Social Security number and employer's name and address. Note on the application that you are applying for partial unemployment.

  • Send or fax a copy of your employer's written statement to your local unemployment office.

  • Check your mail for the unemployment office's reply. You should get an answer within two to three weeks. In some cases, the unemployment office may schedule a telephone interview with you to determine your employment status. Attend this telephone appointment and answer all questions honestly. Once your unemployment is approved, you must wait a week to begin getting benefits in most states.

  • Fill out your unemployment certification every week. List how much money you made from your job that week so that the unemployment office can calculate your benefits for that week. If you are required to look for new work, do so each week. You may get partial unemployment benefits for up to 26 weeks in most states.

Tips & Warnings

  • Partial unemployment laws differ slightly from state to state. Ask your unemployment representative about your rights if you become partially unemployed.
  • Always list all money you made from your job each week. If the unemployment office overpays you because you omitted information, you may have to pay the money back and can also be arrested for unemployment insurance fraud.

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