Over half of Americans who are out of work are not receiving unemployment benefits.
For some of those not receiving benefits, there is an understandable explanation. They may have been ineligible to receive benefits, or their benefits may have expired. For many people, however, the reason they are not collecting benefits simply because they do not apply.
If you are about to get laid off, have recently been lost your job, or even if you have be out of work for months, there are many good reasons why you should apply. Below are four good reasons to apply for unemployment insurance:
- A financial buffer. At an average of more than $300 per week, unemployment checks can add up. Think about the funds as covering a certain portion of your expenses. If your unemployment benefits manage to cover your rent or mortgage – great. If the money also covers the cost of your food – terrific. While the amount you collect will be less than you earned while working, be thankful for the money. It will help protect your personal finances, and lessen the amount of spending required on credit or from savings.
- The window will close. If you do not apply for benefits within a year of losing your job, you run the risk of no longer meeting the eligibility requirements in your state. This applies even if you meet all of the other eligibility criteria.
- Flexibility to find a job you like. Unemployment statistics show that, on average, it takes almost five months for people to find a new job. Without unemployment benefits, financial circumstances may require that you take the first job opportunity that presents itself. By receiving unemployment compensation while you you are seeking work, you will have more flexibility to think about different career possibilities and choose the job that is right for you.
- No shame. Do not allow yourself feel bad about applying for unemployment benefits. The unemployment insurance system is funded through employer payroll taxes. Employers are required to pay a percentage of your income to support the unemployment pool in your state. In essence, this is money that would have been paid to you.