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The Reasons Unemployment Claims Are Put On Hold

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Unemployment claims are put on hold due to missing documentation, claimant ineligibility or a shortage of state workers to handle the claims. Double digit national unemployment rates have resulted in millions of American workers filing claims to receive unemployment insurance benefits. This compensation can mean the difference between having food on the table and making the mortgage payment versus going hungry and entering the foreclosure process. Although some reasons for holds on unemployment claims are no fault of the applicant, taking the utmost of care in filing your unemployment claim can help prevent any problems or delays in receiving your benefits.

Missing Documentation

If you fail to provide necessary documentation on an unemployment insurance claim, your claim may be put on hold. Requirements for documenting your claim include proof of U.S. citizenship, your Social Security number, your work and wage history, and the reason for your job loss claim, such as the closure of your previous place of employment. In addition, state employment agencies require documentation such as pay stubs and your employer's address and phone number. According to the AARP, unemployed workers should also provide copies of any documentation provided by their employer, such as last day of work to verify unemployment, as well as any severance or other benefits paid to them.

In some cases, your former employer might challenge your unemployment insurance claim, which can also result in a hold while the state agency investigates the claim. Holds on unemployment claims might also occur as a result of simple errors, such as if the applicant forgets to sign or date claims documents or provides an incorrect date of birth on the forms.

Claimant Ineligibility

Unemployment insurance claims are sometimes put on hold as a result of the state worker's concerns about the claimant's eligibility for compensation. The state unemployment department might put a claim on hold, or even deny benefits, if the claimant is self-employed, paid "under the table," or did not meet the state's minimum requirements for length of employment or number of hours worked in a specified time period. Individuals who receive a pension, either through Social Security or through a private employer, might have a claim put on hold while the state agency conducts an investigation on the amount of earnings received by the claimant. According to the AARP, if at first a claim is denied, filing an appeal might also result in a hold or a further delay in receiving your unemployment insurance compensation.

Lack of State Workers to Handle Claims

Due to the ongoing economic problems since the 2020 pandemic, state agencies have had to deal with record numbers of unemployment claims. According to political reporter Steve Terrell, the large number of claims is often a reason benefits are delayed or put on hold as there are simply too many applications for benefits for each application to be processed in a timely manner.

Meanwhile, many state government agencies have been forced to furlough or lay staff off, or leave staff vacancies unfilled, according to Los Angeles Times former business reporter Marc Lifsher. This reduction in the number of staff available to process claims is another reason why claims are put on hold or their processing is delayed. In addition, applicants seeking assistance with filing their applications either over the phone or in person are often unable to get through to a live person due to long waiting times or high volumes of requests, which can further delay an unemployment claim.


Jessica Lietz has been writing about health-related topics since 2009. She has several years of experience in genetics research, survey design, analysis and epidemiology, working on both infectious and chronic diseases. Lietz holds a Master of Public Health in epidemiology from The Ohio State University.

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