How Unemployment Works

Unemployment compensation is an insurance program run jointly by the federal and state governments. Employers pay into the program; the amount is based on how many employees they have and how many unemployment claims are filed against them. Employees who are eligible and lose their jobs can apply for benefits.  

State law determines many rules about unemployment, such as who is eligible, how claims must be filed, and how much applicants receive. Although these important details vary from state to state, all states use a similar general framework. The articles in this section explain some unemployment basics, including how the process works and how to apply for benefits.