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How do you qualify for unemployment insurance

how do you qualify for unemployment insurance

Frequently Asked Questions From Claimants Concerning Benefits

Unemployment insurance (UI) is a program designed to provide temporary financial assistance to workers who are unemployed through no fault of their own and who meet the requirements of the Louisiana Employment Security Law. UI benefits are paid as a matter of past employment and legal entitlement, and not on the basis of need.

In Louisiana, employers pay all the costs of unemployment insurance through a payroll tax or reimbursable program. Employees do not pay any part of their wages to finance the Unemployment Insurance Program.

The law sets qualifying requirements in three main areas: your past wages, your job separation, and ongoing availability and work search requirements. You must meet all of the following qualifying requirements in order to receive benefits.

Past Wages You must have earned enough wages in your base period. The base period is the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters before you filed your claim. Reason for separation from your last work You must be unemployed or partially unemployed through no fault of your own in order to receive benefits. Ongoing availability and work search You must be physically able and available to work. You must also be actively seeking work. If you are temporarily laid off and have a definite return-to-work date, your work search requirements may be waived.

For more detailed information refer to the Benefit Rights Information (PDF) (en Espaсol ).

To file a claim for unemployment insurance, you may contact the UI Call Center @ 1-866-783-5567 or you may file online.

Before filing a claim, you will need the following information:

  • Your social security number.
  • Names, addresses, job-site locations and telephone numbers of any employers for whom you worked during the last 18 months.
  • Name and local number of union hall (if applicable).
  • Alien registration number (if applicable).
  • The member-4 copy of your DD214 (if you served in the military during the last 18 months)
  • Your SF-8 and SF-50 (if you worked for a federal employer during the last 18 months). However, do not delay filing if you cannot locate your federal documents.

No matter in which state you may have worked, or in which state you may now live, you can file your UI claim in the Job Center closest to your current place of residence. Personnel in that office will assist you in determining against which state you should file. There is a Job Center or a State Employment Office in nearly every large town in the United States. Click here to find an office near you.

The minimum weekly benefit amount of UI in Louisiana is $10.00. The maximum is currently $247. Your weekly benefit amount could be anywhere in this range, depending upon the total amount of wages paid to you during your base period. The total amount of unemployment insurance benefits payable to you would be equal to 26 times your weekly benefit amount.

You should file your weekly claims by phoning the Interactive Voice Response System, Easy Call. For Easy Call information and phone numbers, click here (PDF).

In most cases, payments of UI benefits will be made through the use of Debit Cards or Direct Deposit. Shortly after you file your claim, you will receive a debit card in the mail. It will have instructions on how to activate the card. If you wish to have your weekly UI payments directly deposited into your personal bank account, complete the Direct Deposit Form found under “Downloads” on this site and follow instructions for forwarding to the Louisiana Workforce Commission.

It may be 3 or 4 days after you file your weekly claim before the benefits are available through the debit card. You may inquire about the balance on the card, without charge, by contacting the customer service center listed on the card. If you have problems with the debit card, contact Chase Bank at 1-866-795-5926.

During periods of high unemployment, the Extended Unemployment Compensation Act of 1970 provides for additional unemployment insurance benefits to claimants. When this occurs, potentially eligible claimants will be notified by the Louisiana Workforce Commission and through the local news media.

The Trade Readjustment Act provides benefits to workers who are displaced by increased imports of articles or products in competition with those produced by the affected workers. To qualify for TRA, a person must be an adversely affected worker covered under

a petition certified by the United States Department of Labor — and the worker must meet certain separation, wage and employment qualifications. TRA benefits are payable only after the exhaustion of all other UI claims.

If you have NOT YET filed for regular Unemployement Insurance benefits, your TRA application will be taken at the time you apply for regular UI. You must answer "Yes" to the question: "Did you become unemployed or partially unemployed as a direct result of foreign trade competiton covered by a Certified Trade Petition?" You may apply online at or via phone at 866-783-5567.

If you HAVE ALREADY APPLIED for regular UI Benefits you should call the Call Center at 866-783-5567 and ask to file a TRA Claim for benefits.

To file for weekly TRA payments, you must complete and mail the form LWC 858A or LWC 858B to the TRA Payment Unit each week. For instructions and forms that you can print and mail, click here.

To pay back an overpayment, you may send a check or money order to:

Collections Unit

P. O. Box 44063

Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70804

Be sure to include your social security number on the check or money order. Make the check or money order payable to: Louisiana Workforce Commission. Remember, do not send cash through the mail.

If the President of the United States declares a disaster in your area, payment of Disaster Unemployment Assistance may be authorized. Persons who become unemployed as a result of the disaster, and who do not qualify for regular UI benefits, may file for DUA. Should a disaster be declared in your area, your local news media will provide information on how to obtain this assistance.

For more detailed information refer to the Disaster Unemployment Assistance Information (PDF).

Welfare benefits, Aid to Families with Dependent Children and Food Stamps are not handled by this agency. They are handled by the Louisiana Department of Social Services, Office of Family Support. Consult your telephone directory for further assistance.

Questions concerning child support deductions taken from UI benefit checks should be directed to the Support Enforcement Office. a division of the Office of Family Support.

Any UI benefits you receive are taxable income. You will be issued Form 1099G at the end of January showing the amount of benefits paid to you, as well as any federal income tax withheld at the time the benefits were paid. The amount on the 1099G is not reduced by any repayments you may have made for overpaid benefits. Therefore, if you repaid any benefits, you must maintain your record of payment, such as reimbursement receipts or canceled check notices to make adjustments to your taxable income and as documentation for the federal Internal Revenue Service and State Tax Office when you file your tax returns.

If you do not receive a Form 1099G because you have moved since you last claimed benefits, or if you need a duplicate Form 1099G from a previous year, you may contact the U.I. Call Center at 1-866-783-5567 for assistance or send us a written request. If you send a written request, be sure to include you social security number, name, current mailing address, and the year for which you need the 1099G.

Mail your request to:

Louisiana Workforce Commission

UI Custodian of Records

Room 390

P. O. Box 44094

Baton Rouge, LA 70804-9094

For additional information, call (225) 342-3018.

The programs listed below provide free legal aid to eligible low-income persons in Louisiana. To find out if you are eligible and if the program can help, contact the program nearest you.
  • Acadiana Legal Services Corporation,

Based in Lafayette, Telephone 337-237-4320, 800-256-1175 (parishes of Acadia, Allen, Avoyelles, Beauregard, Calcasieu, Cameron, Evangeline, Iberia, Jefferson Davis, Lafayette, Rapides, St. Landry, St. Martin, St. Mary, Vermilion).

  • Southeast Louisiana Legal Services, Baton Rouge, Phone (225) 448-0080, 715 St. Ferdinand Street, Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70802 .
  • New Orleans Legal Assistance, (an office of Southeast Louisiana Legal Services) Telephone 504-529-1000, 877-521-6242.
  • Southeast Louisiana Legal Services,

    Based in Hammond, with offices in Covington, Marrero, and New Orleans. Telephone 985-345-2130, 800-349-0886 (parishes of Jefferson, Livingston, Plaquemines, Orleans, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. Helena, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, Washington).

  • More free and low-cost legal aid programs can be found on-line, at

    Category: Insurance

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