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How to Check the Status of My Benefits

With 9.6% of Americans unemployed as of October 2010, according to government statistics, the country is going through tough times. If you've just applied for unemployment benefits, be it for the first time or through an extension program your state offers, you likely want to know if or when you'll receive unemployment benefits. The procedure for checking your status will differ slightly depending on where you live, but shouldn't take you more than a few minutes.

Log on to your state's unemployment benefits website if you've set up an account. If you applied for benefits online, you likely established an account at the same time. Peruse any emails the state sent you around the time you applied for your login information. Once you've logged in to the website, look for text that says "Check Benefit Status" or something similar and click it.

Call your state's unemployment customer service hot line and check the status of your application by phone. Due to the volume of calls states are receiving as a result of high unemployment, your state may direct you to an automated status checker, which will give you simple answers of "Yes," "No" or "Claim in Progress," without explanation.

Speak to a representative from your state's unemployment commission if you need further explanation about the status of your benefits. Listen to the agency's "phone tree" until you receive the option to speak with a representative. Be patient when on hold, keeping in mind that call loads may be high, depending on your state's unemployment situation.

Keep an eye on your mailbox. Although some unemployment claims processes have become electronic in recent years, you will still receive official notification in paper form. If you have any questions about the determination you receive via mail, call the number listed on the document.


Robert Schrader is a writer, photographer, world traveler and creator of the award-winning blog Leave Your Daily Hell. When he's not out globetrotting, you can find him in beautiful Austin, TX, where he lives with his partner.