Apply for Benefits: What You Should Know Before Applying
[Background image: Picture of Carly, a Customer Service Representative]
Hi, I'm Carly, a Customer Service Representative for the Minnesota Unemployment Insurance Program.
In this video, I will answer some common questions about applying for benefits, like...
- How does unemployment insurance work?
- Who should apply and when?
- How do I apply?
- And what happens next?
To be eligible for unemployment benefits, you must have worked in "covered" employment during some part of the last 18 months; you must have been laid off or lost your last job through no fault of your own; and you need to meet weekly eligibility requirements.
Generally speaking, your weekly unemployment benefits will be about half of your gross weekly wages when you were working.
The first step to finding out if you're eligible is to complete the application. The application is a bit like a job application.
You tell us about your recent employment history so we can determine whether or not you are eligible.
We'll then ask your employer for similar information, and we will compare your answers when your employer responds.
[Screen text: Who should apply?]
You should apply for benefits if you find yourself unemployed and have worked in Minnesota or for a federal agency, or if you've recently left the military and have not yet found a job.
Most people who apply for benefits do so because they were laid off from their last job. However, benefits may also be available if you were discharged or quit.
It all depends on the reasons you left your last job. The application process is how you tell us you're unemployed and why you left your last job.
[Screen text: When to apply]
You should always apply for benefits as soon as you lose your job or your hours have been greatly reduced. Here's why...
When you apply for benefits you create a "benefit account." By law, your benefit account starts the Sunday of the week you apply.
You cannot request benefits for any week that occurs before the start of your benefit account. So do not delay your application, or you may lose one or more weeks of benefits.
When you're ready to apply, it's a good idea to gather information you'll need to complete your application. You will need...
Your contact information, such as your mailing address and phone numbers,
your Social Security number and drivers' license number, Your work history over the last 18 months, including pay rates and the reason you left, and if you'd like direct deposit rather than a debit card, your banking information.
It might also be handy to have a piece of paper and a pen or pencil to take a few notes.
When you're ready to apply, you can do so online or by phone. Here are a few things to keep in mind no matter how you apply...
Enter your name, Social Security number, date of birth and drivers' license information carefully. This information will be used to verify your identity.
You'll be asked to create a password and an answer to your security question. Select a password that's easy for you to remember and that only you know.
Now, let's look at how to apply by phone.
[Narrator speaks] To start your application, call our automated phone system.
Enter your Social Security number and then choose apply for benefits.
The telephone prompts will guide you through the application process. After you enter your basic information, a Customer Service Representative will join the call to complete your application.
To ensure that a Customer Service Representative is available, start your application before 4:00 P.M.
Customer Service Representatives are available Monday through Friday, between 8:00 A.M. and 4:30 P.M.
[Background image: Applicant Self-Service System Login page]
Now let's look at how to apply online. The online application is available Monday through Friday, 6:00 A.M. to 6:00 P.M.
It usually takes about 15 minutes to complete the application, but it may take longer if we need more information.
You should plan to start your application by 5:30 P.M. so you can complete it by 6 P.M.
[Background images: Screenshots of the www.uimn.org home page, Applicant Landing page, and Applicant Self-Service System Login page are displayed as mentioned in narration.]
The easiest way to get started is to go to www.uimn.org, click Applicants, and then click Apply for Benefits.
This takes you to the login page where you'll start the application process.
After you complete the application, you'll use the same login page to make your weekly benefit request and to access your unemployment benefit account.
[Background image: Applicant Self-Service System Login page]
If you've never had an account before, just enter your Social Security number in the New Applicants box, and then click START.
If you've had an account in the last few years, use the Existing Applicants box instead. Enter your Social Security number and Password, and then click Login.
If you had an account, but cannot remember your password, don't guess. You may lock yourself out of your account.
Instead, just click the box labeled "Forgot your password," and you'll be taken though the steps to reset your password.
[Background images: Applicant Self-Service System Types of Employment page and Employment Information page display]
Once you log in, the application will guide you through the questions. Read each question carefully and answer the best you can. The questions are designed to help YOU tell US about your past employment.
Be complete in your answers, but plan to complete each page in less than 30 minutes to avoid being automatically logged out.
[Background images: Applicant Self-Service System Review and Edit Content page and the Benefit Application Confirmation page are displayed as mentioned in narration.]
The last part of the application allows you to review all the questions we've asked, along with your answers, before you submit it.
It's a good idea to scan through the questions and answers just to make sure you haven't made any mistakes.
Once you're satisfied with your answers, click the button labeled Submit the Unemployment Benefit Application.
You'll be taken to a Confirmation page that shows your potential weekly and maximum benefit amounts, as well as when you are scheduled to make your first weekly benefit request.
After you complete the application process, several things will happen. The first is that you will have an account that you can access directly using your Social Security number and the password you just created.
You'll use your account to: Request benefits every week you are unemployed and check the remaining balance on your account.
If you access your account online, you can also keep your contact information updated, and answer any additional questions we might have.
[Background images: Password notice letter, Determination of Benefit Account letter, Information Handbook, and the Request for Information letter are displayed as mentioned in narration.]
A few days after you complete your application, you'll receive several items in the mail:
Your Password Notice will remind you of the password you created and also let you know when you should start requesting benefits. Typically you start making weekly requests for benefits the week after you first apply.
The Determination of Benefit Account is your official notification of your account effective date and the weekly amount you will receive for any week that you're eligible for benefits.
It also tells you the maximum amount you can receive during a one year period.
You'll receive a handbook that summarizes the information you need to know. You are responsible for the information contained in the handbook.
Finally, if we need any additional information to complete your application or determine your eligibility, we'll send you a request for information.
I hope you've found this video helpful in understanding the application process. Here are some reminders:
- Apply as soon as you become unemployed or your hours are greatly reduced.
- Read and answer all questions carefully.
- Keep your password and security question safe.
- Check the website, www.uimn.org or call if you have questions.
[Screen text: Apply Online Now | Apply by automated phone: 651-296-3644 (Twin Cities area), 1-877-898-9090 (Greater Minnesota), 1-866-814-1252 (TTY for the hearing impaired) | Links for more information: Information Handbook, How to Request Benefit Payment, Using Your Password, Video Library]