Filing for unemployment? Here’s how to get started.
  • Millions of Americans are filing for unemployment because of coronavirus-related layoffs.
  • You can apply for unemployment benefits if you’ve been laid off, furloughed, your hours have been reduced to zero, or if you’re a part-time employee.
  • Here’s a simple guide to filing for unemployment benefits.
  • View more episodes of Business Insider Today on Facebook.

Millions of Americans are losing their jobs as the coronavirus pandemic continues to force mass layoffs.

Last week alone, nearly 3.3 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits — a number many officials expect to rise in the coming weeks.

Follow this guide to find out if you’re eligible for unemployment and how to file.

Find out if you’re eligible

For an overview on whether you’re eligible to apply for unemployment, visit the Department of Labor’s website, which lists all the requirements. You can apply for benefits if you have been laid off, furloughed, your hours have been reduced to zero, or even if you’re a part-time employee.

Fill out the unemployment assistance application

Unemployment claims are processed at the state level. You can find your state’s specific unemployment website listed here.

The application can be filled out in person, over the phone or online. You may need to create an online account and provide some basic information like your driver’s license, social security number, and details on your previous job.

Before the coronavirus, laid off workers had to wait for a week before applying for unemployment. But that requirement has been waived, so now you can apply right away. 

How long does it take to get a payment and how much is it?

After you submit your application it typically takes two to three weeks to get your first payment. Most states pay benefits for 26 weeks, or about six months. The amount of money you get in that unemployment check varies from state to state. So for example, the maximum Massachusetts pays is $795 a week- the highest of any state. Mississippi workers on the other hand receive the lowest unemployment checks at 235 dollars a week.

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