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If you are fired from a job, you might think that you will not be eligible for unemployment benefits. The fact is that you probably can receive full benefits. The burden of proving that your misconduct on the job resulted in your unemployment lies with your employer. This means that if the employer cannot prove that your actions caused you to get fired, you can legally collect unemployment compensation.
Apply for unemployment with your state unemployment office as soon as you are fired. You cannot claim retroactive benefits, which means if you wait three weeks to file, you can never get benefits for those weeks. The U.S. Department of Labor website (see Resources) has links to the unemployment office websites for each state. Applications for benefits can be filed online, in person or over the phone.
Collect any evidence you can get to support your position that your firing was not your fault. Do this while you wait for your unemployment application to be processed by the state's unemployment office. Evidence can include office memos, emails and statements from co-workers.
Check your mail regularly for your awards determination letter from your state unemployment office. The letter will let you know if you have been awarded benefits. If you are not granted benefits, you can appeal the decision and present your evidence from Step 2. Appeal instructions are usually listed on the letter. If you are approved for unemployment, you will be told your award amount and the weekly payment you can collect.
Even if you have been approved for benefits, hold on to your evidence from Step 2 in case the employer challenges the award later. If that happens and the employer wins, you will have to repay any benefits that you received.