Do I File for Unemployment As Soon As I Am Laid Off?


If you are laid off for reasons beyond your control, such as due to structural downsizing, there is a good chance that you qualify for unemployment benefits. To receive these benefits, apply to the state agency that administers them. Generally, you should apply for benefits as soon as he has been fired, as there is nothing to gain from waiting.

Filing for Benefits

Before you can be paid while unemployed, you must submit an application to the state agency that administers benefits. This application will explain to the agency the reason you were terminated, your previous salary and current income. The agency will then render a decision about eligibility. The sooner you submits your application, the sooner the agency can render a decision.

Filing Immediately

The main advantage to filing immediately is that you can receive benefits sooner. Once approved, an agency will provide benefits retroactive to the date the application was filed. However, it will not provide benefits retroactive to the date on which the person was fired. So, failing to file immediately after being fired can cause you to lose a significant amount of money in benefits.

Wait Period

Some states, such as New York, do not allow residents to receive benefits for the first week in which they are unemployed. This means residents of these states only receive benefits for one of the first two weeks in which they are unemployed. If you are in a waiting-period state, the sooner you file for benefits, the sooner you get this unpaid week out of the way.


There are almost no advantages to waiting to file for unemployment benefits. The only situation in which you would wish to wait to file for benefits would be if you were still receiving severance pay. If you were receiving too much income, you would not be eligible for benefits. However, if you are not receiving severance, or it was paid in one lump sum, you should file for benefits immediately.

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