After you file your initial unemployment claim, which is like an application for benefits, you are then expected to file weekly claims to receive payments. The weekly claims certification process continues as long as you receive unemployment benefits. In fact, if you stop filing weekly claims, your state closes your unemployment claim, on the assumption that you found a new job. If you accidentally miss filing a weekly claim, you can still make it up by filing on a makeup day, doubling up on the next claim or contacting the state for backdating of the claim.
Weekly claims certifications take place when you call into the state claims line or log into its website to answer questions about your eligibility for the week or weeks prior. Eligibility refers to each separate week, even in the states that have you certify biweekly. Those states ask you certify for each week separately. The certification provides eligibility information to the state and requests payment. Whether you don’t file your weekly claims certification intentionally or just forgot, the result is the same. You don’t get paid for that time.
In states where you have an assigned day to certify for your next payment of benefits, your state may offer makeup days for missed claims. For example, if your state divides its certifications into Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays based on the first letter of your last name, Thursdays and Fridays are usually makeup days. Anyone can certify on those days to receive payments on the next pay date.
Doubling Up Next Time
Some states don’t assign certification days. Instead, they just tell you to certify for the previous week or weeks any time after the completion of the week (on Saturday) through a selected window of time. It’s usually one or two weeks. When you access the weekly claim system, it shows up to four weeks, which you can certify one at a time. So if you missed the last window, you can certify for any missed weeks the next time.
Contacting the State
If you miss the makeup day and have forgotten to double up on your next certification, you can contact the state for further help. Call the claims line and select the option to speak to a live claims representative. Remember that the beginning of the week is usually the busiest time for the claims line, so there may be long wait times. Also, there are limitations in what a representative can help you claim in back unemployment, based on state law. The sooner you contact the state, the better your chance of receiving that back compensation.
Michaele Curtis began writing professionally in 2001. As a freelance writer for the Centers for Disease Control, Nationwide Insurance and AT&T Interactive, her work has appeared in "Insurance Today," "Mobiles and PDAs" and "Curve Magazine." Curtis holds a Bachelor of Arts in communication from Louisiana State University.