Calculate Your Unemployment Benefits

If you're looking at unemployment benefits, it's good to know how they work. Whether you just lost your job or think you might soon, understanding these benefits can help you feel more secure. Every state has different rules about unemployment. They look at things like how long you worked and how much you made to figure out how much money you can get. States also have different rules about how long you can get benefits and what you need to do to keep them. Knowing these rules can help you plan better while you look for a new job. It's a way to make sure you have what you need during times when work is hard to find. Making sense of this can give you control over your budget while you're between jobs.

How to Use the Calculator

  1. Select Your State: Use the dropdown menu to choose the state where you were employed and will be filing for unemployment benefits. This is important because benefit amounts and eligibility criteria vary from state to state.
  2. Enter Income Information: In the field provided, input your income during the last or highest-paid base period (quarterly). This is usually the total gross income you earned before taxes during the highest-paid quarter of the base period for your claim.
  3. Input Dependents: If you have any dependents that you can claim, enter the number in the designated field. Some states increase the benefit amount based on the number of dependents.
  4. Calculate Benefit: Once all information has been entered, click the “Calculate Benefit” button to get an estimate of your potential unemployment benefits.

For a guide to unemployment benefits, check out our article here that goes over the basics to unemployment.

Please remember, this calculator offers only a rough estimate based on the salary details you input and does not confirm eligibility or any exact benefit amounts for unemployment benefits. Various factors influence eligibility and the size of benefits, so the actual amount you might receive weekly could differ from the estimate provided. For an official determination of your eligibility and benefit amount, you must file a claim with your state's unemployment insurance program.

Applying for unemployment benefits might appear overwhelming, but this guide aims to clarify the process. We will help you understand the steps involved like, who qualifies for benefits, gathering the necessary documentation, applying, maintaining eligibility, and appealing decisions. We hope this provides a clear path to accessing the support you're entitled to during periods of unemployment. With the right information, you can confidently approach the unemployment benefits system and ensure that you receive all the assistance you qualify for during your job search.


To be eligible for unemployment benefits, an individual must meet specific criteria set by their state's unemployment insurance program. Typically, these include having lost a job through no fault of their own, meeting work and earnings requirements, and being ready and available to work. Part-time workers who have been laid off may also be eligible for benefits, but the rules can vary widely from state to state. Check out our article here to learn more about qualifying for unemployment.

What Documents Do I Need?

Applicants must provide various documents when applying for unemployment benefits. These often include a government-issued ID, Social Security card, the addresses and dates of their former employment, W-2 forms or pay stubs, and, in some cases, their most recent tax return. Providing accurate information is crucial, as it can affect both eligibility and the amount of benefits one can receive.

How to Apply

The application process for unemployment benefits can typically be done online, by phone, or in person at a local unemployment office, depending on the state. The online option tends to be the fastest and most convenient, allowing users to submit their information through a secure state website. It's important to file for unemployment as soon as possible after losing a job to avoid delays in receiving benefits. For more information about applying for unemployment, read our article here for an in depth guide.

What Do I Do After I Apply?

After the application is submitted, it is reviewed by the unemployment agency. The applicant may be asked to provide additional information or attend a phone or in-person interview to clarify their situation. Once approved, it usually takes two to three weeks to start receiving benefits. The first week after the claim is filed is often referred to as a “waiting week” and is not compensated in many states.

To keep receiving unemployment benefits, recipients are required to file weekly or bi-weekly claims confirming their unemployment status and reporting any income earned. They must also be actively seeking work and ready to accept suitable employment. States may require proof of job search efforts, such as a list of employers contacted for work.

How Do I File For An Appeal?

If benefits are denied, the claimant has the right to appeal. This must be done within an established timeframe after receiving the denial, which varies by state. The appeal process often involves a hearing where the claimant can present their case, sometimes with the assistance of a lawyer. It is critical to continue filing weekly claims even while an appeal is pending, as this may allow the claimant to receive back pay if the appeal is successful.

Throughout the process, it is important for claimants to maintain accurate records, adhere to deadlines, and understand their rights and responsibilities. Unemployment agencies provide resources and assistance to help individuals navigate the system and understand their benefits.


How long can I receive unemployment benefits?
The duration of unemployment benefits can vary by state but typically ranges from 12 to 26 weeks. Extended benefits may be available during times of high unemployment or under specific state regulations.

Do part-time workers qualify?
In many cases, yes! But it's likely you'll receive a reduced amount compared to full-time workers.

What if I was fired?
Eligibility can be dicey here. If you were let go due to layoffs or lack of work, you're generally in the clear. But if it was for misconduct, you might not be eligible.

Can I refuse a job and still receive benefits?
Typically, no. If the job is suitable and you turn it down, you could lose your benefits.