While no state allows unemployment claimants to collect retroactively during the time before their claims opened, situations exist where claimants can and do collect retroactive unemployment during certain periods. These periods usually consist of weeks during which time the unemployment office investigates the accuracy of claim information. Other possibilities where claimants may meet eligibility requirements for receiving retroactive unemployment occur during times of high national unemployment when the federal government sometimes extends existing benefits.
Open an initial claim. You must begin a claim in order to collect unemployment compensation. Your claim begins the week that you initially file, so even if you have doubts about your eligibility, file a claim. As long as you provide accurate information and do not create a fraudulent claim, the worst thing that can happen is a denial of your claim. Opening an initial claim requires you to fill out a form online, over the phone, or to return or fax paper documentation of your income from work to your state's unemployment office. To increase the likelihood that you receive retroactive unemployment for the current week, file a claim right away.
Continue weekly filing. In the case that your state's unemployment agency investigates the authenticity of your claim or takes several weeks for processing, always file your weekly claim by phone or over the Internet. The same holds true if you believe in the likelihood of a federal unemployment extension. If the agency approves your claim or the government grants an extension that covers the weeks you have already claimed, you will then receive retroactive unemployment compensation for those weeks.
Meet and follow all requirements put forth by your state's agency. Get a copy of your state's unemployment handbook or find one online. Search for work as required and document your search in case the office audits you. Report accurately any additional income you receive, and follow all other demands put forth by your state to receive unemployment benefits. Not following those conditions could prevent you from receiving any retroactive unemployment compensation and may even result in a fraud claim against you, which requires you to repay any unemployment money received.
Ensure the accuracy of your mailing address and/or direct deposit banking information, and receive your money. Unemployment offices do not accept responsibility for lost checks or incorrect banking or mailing information you provide. If your state's records contain the correct information for you, you need not do anything other than file your claims each week. The office will notify you of your claim's approval or of any benefit extensions. If you meet eligibility requirements, any retroactive unemployment money due to you will be automatically sent to you or deposited into your account.
Call or visit your state's unemployment office and speak to a representative if questions arise our you find something unclear about your state's unemployment benefit requirements.