DEFINITION of 'Unemployment Claim'

A request made by an individual to the state government to receive temporary payments after having been laid off from a job. The United States Department of Labor keeps track of the number of weekly unemployment claims. It provides both seasonally adjusted and seasonally unadjusted claims numbers and also lists which states had an increase or decrease of 1,000 or more claims. These data are reported in the media as an indication of national and state economic health.

Also known as an "unemployment insurance claim" or an "unemployment compensation claim".

BREAKING DOWN 'Unemployment Claim'

Unemployment claims are paid from state funds that are collected from employers in the form of an unemployment insurance tax. In order to encourage workers to get another job, unemployment benefits are payable for a limited number of weeks and are designed to pay less than a worker would make at a job. To file an unemployment claim, a worker must meet certain criteria. For example, workers receiving unemployment benefits must be actively seeking employment (and be able to prove it) and they must have been laid off rather than having quit or been fired.

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