Unemployment insurance is a temporary source of income. If an eligible person loses his job, he will be able to receive weekly payments thanks to money that was paid to his unemployment fund by his employer, via payroll taxes, while he was still gainfully employed. If eligible, a person can receive unemployment insurance once all of the proper paperwork is filed. This type of insurance is not retroactive, so it would not be in one's best interest to procrastinate. You're paid only from the day you file.
In most cases, a worker is eligible for unemployment insurance immediately upon being terminated from his place of employment. The termination has to be the decision of the employer, however. If an employee quits or resigns of his own accord, he is ineligible for unemployment unless there were extenuating circumstances. These circumstances will have to be proven before the insurance can be paid. In addition, a person who had been employed for less than three months before being terminated is also ineligible. If an employee was fired because of misconduct or damage to company property, he might also be considered ineligible.
There are other situations in which a person is ineligible for unemployment insurance. For instance, someone who is self employed can't collect unemployment, nor can someone who is not a citizen and wasn't legally employed. If your hours have been cut, you may be eligible for partial unemployment. Also, if you lost your job because of damage to your place of employment by fire or forces of nature such as a flood or hurricane, you might be eligible, even if you didn't work the requisite three months.
It used to be that those wishing to receive unemployment insurance payments had to put in a weekly or monthly appearance at the unemployment office not only to file the proper papers, but to prove they were seeking employment. Now this can be done over the phone or even online. Check your state's guidelines to see if you need to appear in person to collect the insurance.
If your employment has been terminated, check with your local Department of Labor to learn how to apply for unemployment insurance. Thanks to the wonders of technology, your state may be set up so you can handle all unemployment matters over the phone or computer. This will save time so you can begin looking for a job right away and become an active member of the workforce once again.