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If you’re dealing with unemployment, it’s a stressful situation. One way to ease the burden is to apply for unemployment. This can help to lessen some of the financial strain while you search for a new job. Where do you begin with the process, you can collect? Here’s what to know.

Find out whether you’re eligible.

Not everyone is eligible for unemployment. If you quit your job, you’re not eligible, even if was due to maternity leave or going back to school. Also, if you were fired due to misconduct, you’re not eligible either.

Instead, you must meet certain guidelines according to the U.S. Department of Labor. These include 1) being unemployed by no fault of your own, such as by a company downsizing, and 2) by meeting state requirements for wages and time off.

Understand how unemployment gets calculated.

Unemployment is meant to provide some relief, not replace your whole paycheck. In Arizona, your weekly benefit is calculated based only on wages earned from employers who paid into the state’s unemployment tax system. This weekly benefit is 4% of the wages paid in the highest quarter of the base period, with a maximum weekly benefit of $320.

Benefits can get delayed.

There are several reasons why your benefits could be delayed. For instance, say you applied, but you’re still receiving severance pay from your last employer. This would be one cause of a delay. Another cause? If there’s suddenly a big influx of applications when you applied. Best-case scenario, it can take several weeks to get approved and begin collecting, so apply for unemployment as soon as you’re laid off.

Benefits are taxable.

Come tax time, you’ll need to pay federal taxes on the benefits you collected. Knowing this ahead of time will help you plan and avoid any unnecessary surprises. Keep in mind, unemployment is meant as a safety net and a way to get through a short-term period of unemployment.

Need professional help finding your next job?

Turn to one of Phoenix’s leading staffing agencies, PrideStaff. We can help you get your foot in the door with employers who are a fit for you. We can also help you deal with obstacles, like employment gaps, so you find an opportunity that’s a match for your background and goals. Contact us today to get started.

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