Unemployment benefits, sometimes referred to as unemployment insurance, are cash payments made to individuals who has been thrown out of a job. These benefits are only provided to people who have lost a job through no fault of their own, such as through termination due to layoffs. Unemployment benefits are only available for a set amount of time. If a person had not found a job when benefits run out, he may be forced to take a lower-paying job.
As of May 2011, benefits are available to individuals in most states for a maximum of 99 weeks. Most states provide benefits for the first 26 weeks of unemployment, while the federal government provides benefits for an additional 73 weeks. A person must be searching for a job during this time. However, he is not required to take a job in which he earns significantly less than his current job.
End of Benefits
When benefits run out, a person is no longer allowed to receive payments from the state unemployment agency. Generally, he will not be able to reapply until after he has taken a new job and received additional income. If the person is able to secure a new job, then after a certain period of time, he would be eligible for benefits again, were he to be laid off.
Once benefits run out, a person may have no source of income. At this point, he may be forced to attempt to re-enter the workforce at a job in which he made much less money than he previously did. However, some individuals may find that they are unable to get a job, even at a lower level of pay. In such a case, the individual may be forced to receive financial help from relatives, charities or the government.
Other Sources of Aid
There are a number of sources of aid available to people who have little or no income. Some chronically unemployed people may seek out donations of money, food or other essentials for charitable organizations, such as churches or social services groups. In addition, both the state and federal government may be able to provide some financial assistance. For example, food stamps are available to people with little income to help them purchase meals.