How to Supplement Your Unemployment Benefits

Many people believe that the unemployment office is the only source of support for workers who have recently lost their jobs.

However, this is not true.

There are many different programs individuals can enroll in to help them receive support during their unemployment periods. Some of these come from the unemployment insurance (UI) office while others do not. 

Everyone may not have to apply for unemployment due to loss of a job, but everyone needs help from time to time in life. Depending on your needs, you may qualify for certain types of assistance.

Read below to learn about the different benefits you can obtain beyond the ones typically available through your UI office.

1. Find Out If Your Unemployment Office Is Offering Extended Benefits


During times of high unemployment in a given area, the unemployment office may offer extended benefits. This is done in order to further support unemployed workers through this widespread hardship.

Extended benefits typically last for 13 weeks past the original 26 weeks of standard unemployment. However, this varies by state and by circumstance.

Furthermore, remember that just because you receive UI doesn’t mean you qualify for extended benefits. In fact, you cannot apply for extra weeks of support until you have exhausted your regular unemployment benefits.

Even if you have used up all of your UI benefits, you still must check with your provider to see if you meet eligibility requirements to take advantage of the extension. When available, extended benefits can offer that extra financial cushion you may need if you still haven’t found a job and your current benefits are set to expire.


2. How to Collect Unemployment Benefits and Receive Job Training Services


When applying for unemployment and submitting weekly claims, you need to prove that you’re completing reemployment-related activities.

Different government initiatives can help.

For example, you can encounter potential benefits in the form of federally-sponsored training, educational and job placement programs.

For example, there is the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), which offers funding for the training of laid-off workers.

There’s also the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA), which serves people who lost a job due to a decrease in production relative to an increase in overseas imports can provide unique forms of aid that goes beyond immediate finances.

Furthermore, the unemployment office can link you to job platforms that cater specifically to farm workers, Native Americans, elderly workers, refugees and vocational rehabilitation candidates.

Most job placement or educational training programs that you can apply for through unemployment come at little to no cost.

The following states even offer self-employment assistance programs through which you can receive funds to start you own business:

  • Delaware
  • Mississippi
  • New Hampshire
  • New York
  • Oregon


3. How to Report Your Unemployment Benefits for Tax Purposes


While reporting unemployment claims as part of your gross income for tax purposes may at first not seem obvious or necessary, missing this step can ultimately cost you a lot of money.

This is because failing to report your UI benefits on your tax documents will eventually cause you to pay penalty fees.

Keep this in mind when you receive UI benefits.

Likewise, nearly all funds received through unemployment programs must be reported to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) as part of your earned income for the year.

If you have specific questions about whether you need to report your benefits, contact the IRS directly.

Additionally, remember that some types of unemployment benefits require estimated tax payments to be made quarterly.

This means that you’ll need to pay taxes every three months.

Withholding federal tax remains at your discretion.

Check with the IRS if you have immediate questions about whether unemployment funds you have received are taxable.

While this may not seem like the most pleasant task, keep in mind that it will help you in the long run.

In fact, making sure you have the tax component of your benefits in line throughout your enrollment will save you time, stress and money later.


4. How to Look Beyond Your Unemployment Office for Benefits


When you go to apply for unemployment, your UI office can help you obtain financial resources to help you while you’re out of work.

However, there are benefits you may be eligible for beyond this type of assistance. For example, you may be able to obtain:

  • Short-term and long-term disability – If you are disabled, you may be eligible to supplement your income through your former employer or a private policy you have purchased. Federal programs for disability insurance also exist.
  • Worker’s compensation – If you are out of work because you have been harmed on the job, you may be eligible to receive support for medical expenses and lost wages. Your former employer will be able to provide you with additional information about this.
  • COBRA coverage – If you or your family needs to continue the insurance coverage that you had while you were working, you may be able to receive COBRA coverage. “COBRA” stands for the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985.
  • Wrongful discharge or termination of employment – State laws vary widely on this matter. However, you could qualify to receive an extension of health coverage or even options of legal recourse if you are found to have been wrongfully terminated from your previous job.
  • Welfare – The nation’s welfare program is officially referred to as the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. Depending on your situation, you could qualify for this financial benefit.

Furthermore, remember that special laws surrounding applying for unemployment protect certain types of governmental workers and skilled tradesmen.

If you work for the government in the private sector or are employed by the state or local government, state worker’s compensation programs remain available exclusively to you if you have been hurt on the job.

Federal employees enjoy the same protections, as do harbor workers, coal miners and longshoremen.

Unemployment claims filed by any of these special interest groups go through a different process and may require a varied set of unique enrollment documents.

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