A Quick Guide for Navigating Unemployment


If you find yourself dealing with unemployment due to the Coronavirus, we wanted to share helpful information about the complex process of unemployment. Processes are ever-changing due to the nature of the pandemic, but we understand that this period of time is difficult for many of our alumni.

Thanks to some career and employment resource websites here are some of the basics of what you need to know. However, we recommend you also go to state employment websites to get into the specifics of their process to determine your eligibility and how to apply for unemployment.

(Source: Career Contessa)


Unemployment is when a person who is actively seeking employment is unable to find work. Actively seeking employment means that you are in an active search for a new job and are willing and able to work. People are commonly unemployed because of company layoffs. Benefits are available to eligible workers who become unemployed through no fault of their own and meet eligibility requirements through the U.S. Department of Labor’s unemployment insurance program. This means that if you voluntarily quit your job without good cause, you’re likely not eligible to receive benefits.

Unemployment insurance is a joint state-federal program that provides financial relief to eligible workers. All states must follow the guidelines established by federal law, but each state administers its own unemployment insurance program. Eligibility requirements, the application process, and benefits received vary by state.


Unemployment benefits are available to provide temporary financial assistance to people who are currently out of work but are actively seeking employment. Each state determines what your specific benefits will look like. Most programs will not replace your entire paycheck from your previous employer and typically payout for no more than 26 weeks.

Every state uses its own formula to calculate the amount you will receive. All states use your previous earnings from your most recent employer to calculate your benefits, usually over a current 52-week period. This means the amount each person receives will vary, and is only intended to partially replace your income. Each state has a maximum and minimum benefit amount so benefits will vary.

Don’t forget that unemployment benefits are subject to federal income tax and must be reported on your federal income tax return. You may elect to have the tax withheld by your state unemployment agency.


It’s up to each state to determine their eligibility guidelines for unemployment insurance benefits. According to the Department of Labor, you typically qualify for state benefits if you:

(1) Are unemployed through no fault of your own
(2) Meet work and wage requirements
(3) Meet any additional state requirements


To provide financial assistance sooner to those who have lost their job as a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the federal government has allowed state governments to amend their law relating to COVID-19.

Join the Jobseekers Resource Group on UCLA ONE to get ongoing updates and connect with other Bruins also looking for their next opportunity.


First, you need to file a claim with the unemployment insurance program in the state where you worked. The process of filing a claim varies by state. Typically, you can submit your claim online, over the phone or in person.

As soon as possible after you become unemployed, you should contact your state’s unemployment insurance program. Each state will provide additional information regarding how to file your claim if you worked in a state other than the one where you live or if you worked in multiple states. Second, make sure you have all the appropriate information ready when you apply. When filing a claim, you'll be asked for information regarding your former employment, including dates of employment and your previous employer’s address. If you do not have this information readily available, it could delay your claim.

Once you file your claim with your state’s unemployment program, it generally takes two to three weeks to receive your first benefit check.

Our team members are not experts on how unemployment works; however, government agencies are there to serve you. The ideal place to begin understanding how unemployment will look for you is the Department of Labor. From there, you’ll be directed to your local state website to learn about the specific laws in your state.



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