In Alabama, people who are out of work and need financial assistance may be able to obtain financial assistance by applying for Unemployment Compensation benefits.The Alabama Department of Labor provides these benefits to help out Alabama residents while they seek new employment.

How to Qualify for Unemployment

There are requirements you have to meet to be eligible for unemployment in Alabama. For instance, you must be able and willing to work. You should also be looking for work and being unemployed should not be your fault. If you quit your job, then you have to prove that you left the job for a good reason that is connected to your job. If you were fired, then it is up to your employer to prove that you were fired for a reason connected to your job.

You do need to have worked for at least 2 quarters of your base to qualify for unemployment. A base period is the first 4 quarters (12 months) of the last five finished quarters from the day you file your claim. For example, if you filed in October 1st, 2015, then your base period is from July 1st, 2014 ending June 30th, 2015. The total amount you make during that base period has to be 1 and ½ times higher than your highest quarter earning. Your two highest quarters also must have an average of at least $1157.01.

Fortunately, you do not have to have a specific kind of job or list your dependents on your application to qualify for unemployment. There is also no time limit that you have to be unemployed to apply for benefits. You can and should apply as soon as you lose your job.

How to Apply for Unemployment

In Alabama, you can apply for Unemployment Compensation benefits either online or over the phone. If you want to begin the application process over the phone, then you will need to call the Initial Claims Line at 1-866-234-5382. Alternatively, you can click here to apply online.

To file your claim, you will need the name and address of your last place of employment and the dates you worked there. You also have to give your social security number, your licensed or state ID number, and your mother’s maiden name. If you are leaving the military, you will be asked to show your member 4 copy of your DD214. If you are not a citizen, then you will be required to provide your work authorization number.

How Long Does Unemployment Last?

Unemployment Compensation benefits can last for a maximum of 26 weeks. During that time you have to file a weekly certificate by phone or online. For each week, you will be required to answer questions on a form. You also have to be involved in fact-finding interviews, profile interviews, and eligibility interviews, as well as be registered with the Employment Service. 

You are required to actively look for a job every week, and you cannot refuse a reasonable job. If you get a call from the Alabama Career Center or One Stop Career Center about a job referral, you have to go to the appointment or risk losing or delaying your benefits.

What Can I Do If I Run Out of Unemployment?

After the 26 weeks of initial financial assistance are up, can apply for Trade Readjustment Allowance (TRA) Benefits if you need more money. TRA Benefits are a weekly allowance to help those who have exhausted their unemployment benefits. To get TRA benefits, you have to meet all the requirements for eligibility. The requirements are that you have to be completely out of work, meet all the requirements for unemployment and used all your unemployment, worked at your last job for at least 26 weeks making at least $30 per week in a 52-week period, and be in approved training or have a waiver for training.

Aside from helping you find a new job you find a job, you can also ask the staff at the career centers to help you enroll in a training program. The training programs may help you develop another skill you can use to find a different kind of job.

What If My Unemployment Claim Was Denied?

Just because your claim for unemployment benefits was initially denied does not mean you are out of options. If you are denied unemployment benefits, you have 15 days from the date on the denial that is sent to your mailing address to appeal that decision. When you send in your appeal request you will be scheduled to have a telephone hearing with the hearing officer from the Hearing and Appeals Division of the Department of Labor. You can provide evidence and have witnesses during your hearing.

If the hearing board confirms the denial, you have 15 days to appeal that decision with the Board of Appeals. Any appeals that are made after the Board of Appeals makes its decision must be made in a civil court. If the Board of Appeals also denies your claim, then you have 30 days to appeal in court.

Where Can I Find the Right Lawyer?

It is important to have an Alabama employment lawyer to help you file your unemployment claim. This can be even more important if your claim is denied and you have to appeal it.