How To Fulfill the "Seeking New Employment" Requirement
Applying for US Unemployment Insurance
One of the most confusing parts about applying for unemployment in the United States is meeting the requirements to seek new employment. While all fifty states have some version of this requirement, it can be hard to figure out exactly what you are supposed to in order to keep receiving unemployment compensation. While it's important to make sure you understand your state's exact requirements, there are some general guidelines that everyone should follow.
The requirement to seek new employment was put into place in order to ensure that everyone who was receiving unemployment compensation was looking for a new job. Unemployment insurance is not designed to support people who have decided to retire, take time off, start a business, or go back to school full-time. It is only meant to pay out to people who are actively looking for a new job.
In order to make sure that everyone who is receiving an unemployment compensation check is actually looking for a new job, each state has implemented a different way to confirm that beneficiaries are actually seeking employment. The exact method varies, but it's not uncommon to be required to submit a set number of applications and/or attend a set number of job interviews each week. In Florida, for example, unemployment compensation beneficiaries are required to apply for at least three jobs each week. Other states require people receiving benefits to speak to at least one potential employer a week.
In order to confirm that beneficiaries are actually applying for any available job, it is recommended that anyone who is receiving unemployment compensation keep a log or journal of the jobs they have applied for. Of course, this is good advice for anyone who is in the middle of a job search. Record the company name, type of job, contact information, and any other relevant information for each job. Many people prefer to keep a computer record or a spiral notebook with a separate page for each job they apply to.
In addition to providing an easily accessible record of what you have applied for in the event that you are audited by the unemployment commission in your state, this record will also allow you to keep track of everywhere that you have applied. By keeping this record, you'll be able to find the names of company contacts when you are called for an interview, and you'll also be able to avoid duplicate applications.
In addition to this record of jobs that you have applied for, it is also important to keep very accurate financial records while you are on unemployment. While there are no restrictions on how much you have in savings, many states have rules about how you are allowed to earn money while receiving checks. If you earn money from part-time employment or a side business, keep good records and report it as necessary.