How to Calculate Your Unemployment Benefits
Are You Eligible for Unemployment?
First, make sure you are eligible for unemployment. While it varies based on your state, you generally need two things to qualify. First, you need to have lost your job through no fault of your own. It typically means you are ineligible if you quit—although there are exceptions, like if you quit because of impossible work conditions. If you are fired for cause, you also are likely ineligible.
How Much Will Your Benefits Be?
Once you file for unemployment and are approved, you will begin to receive benefits. Your benefits might come in the form of a check, but more often they will come in the form of a debit card or direct deposit to your bank account. It varies by state. You typically can file weekly online, by email, or by phone.
Finding a Benefits Calculator
There are two types of unemployment calculators. One tells you how much money you are entitled to collect, and another tells you how many weeks your benefits will last.
CARES Act Unemployment Calculator
The federal CARES Act has expanded and enhanced unemployment compensation. Zippia has an unemployment calculator that estimates how much unemployed workers can expect to receive under the stimulus. Note that the calculator includes the extra $600 per week in supplemental benfits, which will be paid through July 31, 2020
When You’ll Get Paid
Most states pay benefits on a weekly or biweekly basis. There may be a lag before you receive your first check. For details on when to expect payment, check the unemployment website for your state.
Taxes on Unemployment
Unemployment benefits are considered taxable income, and the unemployment compensation you receive must be reported when you file your federal and state tax returns.3
Both state unemployment benefits and federally funded extended benefits are considered income and must be reported when you file your federal and state tax returns.
Tax Reporting Requirements
If you received unemployment compensation during the year, you should receive Form 1099-G, which is a report of income received from a government source, showing the amount you were paid. Any unemployment compensation received must be included in your income and should be reported in the appropriate sections of your federal and state tax returns.3
Avoid Unemployment Scams
Some websites say they will figure out your unemployment benefits or file a claim for you. However, the only place you can get a definitive answer or file for benefits is on your state unemployment website. Avoid getting scammed, and do not give personal information to a third-party website.