If you are an Alaska resident and find yourself out of work, Alaska’s Department of Labor and Workforce Development may be able to provide you with financial assistance in the form of unemployment insurance benefits. You can file for unemployment insurance benefits as soon as your lose your job or have your hours cut to less than full-time. It is advised that you apply as soon as possible because Alaska will not retroactively pay benefits for any weeks during which you are unemployed but did not apply for benefits.

How to Qualify for Unemployment

To qualify for unemployment benefits in Alaska, you first must have earned money by covered employment during the base period. Covered employment is any employment for an employer who is obligated to pay taxes under Alaska’s unemployment insurance law.

Also, during 2 of those quarters in your base period, you need to have earned at least $2,500. To remain eligible for unemployment, you have to be ready and able to work, reporting every week and registering for work when available. You also cannot be responsible for losing your job. So, if you were fired it, cannot be for bad behavior, and, if you quit, it has to be for a good reason.

You can list dependents on your application, whether they are your natural child, stepchild, adopted child, or legal ward. Listing dependents may be to your advantage because you can receive an extra $24 per child for up to 3 children every week. In order to qualify for the extra money, your dependents have to be under 18, live with you, and have received over 50% of their support from you.

How to Apply for Unemployment

You can apply for unemployment benefits online or by phone via VICTOR, which is the phone-based automated filing system. To apply, you need your social security number or if you are not a citizen your alien registration number and work permit type. You will be required to provide the name, address, and phone number of your last job, the time you worked at your last job, and the amount you made. Also, you will need to include any other income you received during your last week such as severance or bonus pay. If you were a federal employee, the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development will ask for your standard form SF8 and SF50, and possibly a Leave and Earnings Statement (LES). If you worked for the military, you will be asked to provide a copy of the DD214 member 4.

If you have applied for unemployment before and let your claim lapse, you may be able to obtain unemployment benefits by simply reopening your old claim. However, you only have the option to restart a preexisting claim if you stopped your biweekly claims, you moved out of Alaska or to another part of the state, or if you were moving around looking for work for more than 4 weeks. If you applied online, you can use your same log-in information to reopen your case or start a new unemployment claim.

How Long Does Unemployment Last?

Your unemployment pay lasts between 16-26 weeks. The benefit amount that you will receive will vary depending on how much you earned in the past. You will receive at least $56 per week and at most $370 per week.

Once you have unemployment benefits, it is your responsibility to register for work if you are told to do so by the state workforce agency. You have to look for a suitable full-time job. Also, you must report every week about any work contacts you have made. Finally, you are required to report all activity and any earnings you have every single week.

What Can I Do If I Run Out of Unemployment?

There is a program called “Extended Benefits,” which provides more unemployment benefits past 26 weeks. However, these benefits are only available during periods of high unemployment in Alaska. Historically, these benefits have been available to Alaska residents from January or February to June or July.

In order to qualify for Extended Benefits, you must not be eligible for a new unemployment claim anywhere, your unemployment benefits must have ended either during or after the week that Extended Benefit became available, and you must certain work registration requirements. For example, you have to post your resume on the Alaska Labor Exchange System. There are also Reemployment Services that can help you return to work, and they also offer training and support.

What Should I Know If My Claim Is Denied?

If your benefits have been denied or restricted you can appeal the decision. You have 30 days to appeal to the Appeal Tribunal where you will have a hearing with a hearing officer. At the hearing, you can show evidence and present witnesses. If you are still denied, then you can appeal that decision with the Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development. Finally, if you still do not have a favorable decision, then you can appeal the decision in civil court.

Where Can I Find the Right Lawyer?

It can be helpful to reach out to a lawyer in Alaska to aid you with your unemployment claim. A lawyer can be even more helpful if you are denied and need to appeal the decision. The appeal process can be difficult and may involve going all the way up to an actual civil court.