How Soon Can I File For Unemployment

You should file for unemployment in the first week that you lose your job or have your hours reduced. The base period for unemployment benefits is typically one year, and it's the first four of the last five quarters of the year. Waiting too long to file could result in being paid less per week or not qualifying for any benefits. The exact rules and computations vary by state, so it's best to consult your own government website to learn the particulars.

To file for unemployment compensation, you need to file a claim with the unemployment insurance program in the state where you worked. Depending on the state, claims may be filed in person, by telephone, or online. You should contact your state's unemployment insurance program as soon as possible after becoming unemployed.