The economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has led to millions being laid off, and record numbers of people filing for unemployment.

If you’re one of the 10 million+ unemployed Americans, you’re probably wondering: When will my unemployment check come?

Here are some questions you’re probably asking — make sure to scroll down to see your state’s specific information.

 

Am I eligible for unemployment?

Thanks to some tweaks to unemployment law made by Covid-19 legislation, more people qualify for unemployment than before. You qualify if you:

  • Have been laid off by your employer
  • Have been furloughed by your employer (temporary layoff)
  • Are self-employed and have lost work
  • Are a “gig worker” like an Uber/Lyft driver, or an independent contractor, suddenly out of work
  • Are unemployed and only seeking part-time work
  • Cannot reach your place of work as a result of COVID-19
  • Quit your job “as a direct result of COVID-19”

 

When can I apply for unemployment?

Once your job ends and you apply, you have to wait a week before making a claim. As soon as your job has ended, you’re no longer working, so you can apply for unemployment insurance through your state department of labor.

If you’re still owed severance or a final paycheck, you have to report that income, which would likely reduce the amount of unemployment you’d get in the short term.

All states require a non-paid valid “Waiting Week” period before payments are processed.

 

 

How much unemployment will I get?

That’s tricky, because every state handles unemployment differently — but also, states calculate benefit checks based on your last year of wages.

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities said state unemployment checks averaged $387/week per person in February, ranging from a $215/month average in Mississippi to $550/month in Massachusetts.

For up to four months, unemployed workers will get $300 a week added to their checks, thanks to the recent stimulus bill, bumping the average weekly check to nearly $700.

All unemployment benefits you receive are subject to state and federal income taxes, although the recently passed American Rescue Plan gives people up to a $10,200 federal tax break on those benefits.

 

How long will I get unemployment?

Some of that depends on you. You have to fulfill weekly obligations to apply for work and report those contacts to your state department of labor.

Assuming you continue to qualify, you can receive unemployment benefits for up to 39 weeks (nearly 10 months). The coronavirus relief bill added 13 weeks (about 3 months) to the previous unemployment limit of 26 weeks.

Check your state unemployment office to see if there are any expanded benefits in your area.

The third coronavirus aid package passed by Congress extends Pandemic Unemployment Assistance benefits through Sept. 6, 2021.

 

How likely am I to receive unemployment?

But just because you apply, it doesn’t mean you’ll be approved. Each state handles claims differently, and approval rates vary. For example, while more than 50% of laid-off workers get unemployment checks in New Jersey, only 10.5% do in North Carolina, according to the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.

 

Unemployment Benefits by State: When to Expect Your Check

Alabama

  • First payment: Payment will arrive two to three weeks after your initial claim
  • Payment options: Direct deposit or the AL Vantage Prepaid Benefits Card
  • More information: Alabama Department of Labor

 

Alaska

 

Arizona

 

Arkansas

  • First payment: Payment will arrive two to three weeks after your initial claim.
  • Payment options: Applicants will be automatically enrolled in the Debit Card program once they become eligible to receive their first unemployment insurance benefit payment. Applicants may change payment methods to direct deposit after approval.
  • More information: Arkansas Division of Workforce Services

 

California

  • First payment: Payment will arrive two to three weeks after your initial claim.
  • Payment options: Visa-branded EDD Debit Card. Customers can choose the option of a direct deposit transfer of their funds from their card to their personal checking or savings account once their EDD Debit CardSM is received and activated.
  • More information: State of California Employment Development Department

 

Colorado

 

Connecticut

  • First payment: Payment will arrive two to three weeks after your initial claim.
  • Payment options: Direct deposit card or debit card
  • More information: Connecticut Department of Labor

 

Delaware

  • First payment: Delaware makes every effort to pay within 14 days after your initial claim.
  • Payment options: Direct deposit
  • More information: Deleware Department of Labor

 

Florida

  • First payment: Payment will arrive two to three weeks after your initial claim.
  • Payment options: The Florida Debit Card will be issued by mail after the first payment on your claim is made via debit card. Direct deposit is available after your first payment.
  • More information: Florida Unemployment Insurance Program

 

 

Georgia

  • First payment: Payment will arrive four to six weeks after your initial claim. (You can check your status here.)
  • Payment options: Direct deposit or Way2Go Debit MasterCard. Payments by paper checks are no longer issued.
  • More information: Georgia Department of Labor

 

Hawaii

 

Idaho

  • First payment: Payment will be available about two and a half weeks after your initial claim.
  • Payment options: Direct deposit
  • More information: Idaho Department of Labor

 

Illinois

 

Indiana

  • First payment: Payment is received within three weeks if there are no issues with your claim for benefits.
  • Payment options: Direct deposit or Key2Benefits prepaid Mastercard
  • More information: Indiana Department of Workforce Development

 

Iowa

  • First payment: Payment will arrive two to three weeks after your initial claim.
  • Payment options: Direct deposit or debit card
  • More information: Iowa Workforce Development

 

Kansas

  • First payment: Payment will arrive two to three weeks after your initial claim.
  • Payment options: Direct deposit or Bank of America Debit Card
  • More information: Kansas Department of Labor

 

Kentucky

  • First payment: Payment will arrive two to three weeks after your initial claim.
  • Payment options: Direct deposit or Kentucky Unemployment Insurance Debit Card
  • More information: Kentucky Career Center

 

Louisiana

  • First payment: Payment will arrive two to three weeks after your initial claim.
  • Payment options: Debit card or direct deposit
  • More information: Louisiana Works

 

Maine

 

Maryland

  • First payment: It will take about three weeks to receive your first payment after your initial claim.
  • Payment options: Bank of America Benefits Debit Card
  • More information: Maryland Department of Labor

 

Massachusetts

  • First payment: Payment will arrive three to four weeks after your initial claim.
  • Payment options: Automatic enrollment to a debit card unless you sign up for direct deposit to a checking or savings account
  • More information: Massachusetts Department of Labor

 

Michigan

 

Minnesota

  • First payment: It will take about three weeks to receive your first payment after your initial claim.
  • Payment options: Direct deposit or U.S. Bank ReliaCard Visa
  • More information: Minnesota Unemployment Insurance

 

Mississippi

 

Missouri

 

Montana

 

Nebraska

  • First payment: Payment will arrive three to four weeks after your initial claim.
  • Payment options: Direct deposit or debit card
  • More information: Nebraska Department of Labor

 

Nevada

 

New Hampshire

 

New Jersey

 

New Mexico

  • First payment: Payment will arrive two to three weeks after your initial claim.
  • Payment options: Direct deposit and debit card
  • More information: New Mexico Workforce Connection

 

New York

  • First payment: It takes about three to six weeks from the time you file New York unemployment claims to when you receive your first payment due to processing and reviewing of your New York unemployment application.
  • Payment options: Direct deposit or Key@Benefits card
  • More information: New York State Department of Labor

 

North Carolina

 

North Dakota

  • First payment: Payment will arrive two to three weeks after your initial claim.
  • Payment options: Way2Go Mastercard or direct deposit
  • More information: North Dakota State Government

 

Ohio

  • First payment: Once your application has been processed, you’ll receive a determination. The determination will state whether you qualify for benefits. Payment will arrive three to four weeks after your initial claim.
  • Payment options: Direct deposit and debit card
  • More information: Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services

 

Oklahoma

 

Oregon

  • First payment: If you meet all the eligibility requirements and file your claim each week, you should receive your first payment about three weeks after you apply for benefits.
  • Payment options: U.S. Banks ReliaCard(R) Visa or direct deposit
  • More information: State of Oregon Employment Department

 

Pennsylvania

 

Rhode Island

 

South Carolina

 

South Dakota

 

Tennessee

  • First payment: On the fourth consecutive week, you’ll receive a double payment; it will be a combination of your waiting week and fourth week of benefits.
  • Payment options: Way2Go debit card or direct deposit
  • More information: Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development

 

Texas

  • First payment: If you’re eligible, they’ll issue your first payment approximately four weeks after you apply for benefits.
  • Payment options: TWC-contracted bank debit card or direct deposit
  • More information: Texas Workforce Commission

 

Utah

  • First payment: If you meet all the eligibility requirements and file your claim each week, you should receive your first payment about three weeks after you apply for benefits.
  • Payment options: Direct deposit or a U.S. Bank ReliaCard
  • More information: Utah Department of Workforce Services

 

Vermont

  • First payment: If there are no issues requiring the fact-finding process, payments will begin approximately two weeks after your initial contact to the Department
  • Payment options: Check or direct deposit
  • More information: Vermont Department of Labor

 

Virginia

  • Initial payment: When you file an initial claim, you can expect your first payment within 14 calendar days after you file your weekly request for payment of benefits.
  • Payment options: Direct deposit or debit card
  • More information: Virginia Employment Commission

 

Washington

 

West Virginia

  • Initial payment: Payment will arrive two to three weeks after your initial claim.
  • Payment options: Direct deposit or a state-issued debit card
  • More information: WorkForce West Virginia

 

Wisconsin

 

Wyoming

  • Initial payment: Payment will arrive two to three weeks after your initial claim.
  • Payment options: Direct deposit or U.S. Bank ReliaCard debit card
  • More information: Wyoming Workforce

 

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When Will You Get Your Unemployment Check?