Are you asking yourself, “How do I get my unemployment back pay?” You’re not alone – many Americans around the country have unclaimed unemployment benefits because they weren’t aware they qualified for assistance. Many don’t even know these benefits exist. The unemployment program is controlled by each state, but most require you to apply for benefits when you first become unemployed. If you didn’t know you qualified, you probably never applied.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t get your money. If you think you are owed retroactive unemployment from your state or the federal government, learn how you can find it with the tips provided below.
Each state has its own unemployment insurance program, which pays money to people who are laid off through no fault of their own. When federal benefits are issued or extended, these state programs are responsible for paying those as well. These same programs often issue retroactive unemployment for people who never applied for compensation when they first became unemployed.
You can see if you have unclaimed unemployment benefits, or might be owed retroactive benefits, in two ways:
- Through your state’s Department of Labor
- Through a multi-state database
Unclaimed unemployment money is money that should have been paid to you by the state but never was. As such, the first way to see if you might be owed money is to start with your state. Most states’ Departments of Labor (DOLs) have online portals for filing for unemployment.
To check if you have unclaimed unemployment, you may need to create an account with your state’s DOL and file for benefits. The system will typically ask you to provide some information about your unemployment, like:
- The date you were laid off
- The amount you were paid weekly
- The reason you were laid off
If your state determines that you met the qualifications for unemployment, you may begin receiving back pay. If not, you might consider contacting the DOL for further instruction.
Another way to see how to get unemployment back pay is to use an online search tool that helps you locate unclaimed assets, like money and property. Some states may report unemployment benefits that have not been cashed. Multi-state database search tools find these reports through state websites and can help you see if you have any missing unemployment checks.