Alabama Unemployment Guide

Filing for Unemployment :

Unemployed Alabama workers can file an unemployment claim online or toll free 1-866-234-5382 (7am - 5pm, Mon. - Fri.) to the Alabama Initial Claims Line. An automated attendant will ask a number of questions before referring you to a live Customer Service Representative to finish the application process. The Alabama Department of Industrial Relations recommends using a landline to protect against dropped calls from cell phones.

Your employer may have arranged to have filing completed at your place of employment, if you are on temporary layoff and will be returning to the same company. Check with your employer to see if this applies to you.

File your claim right away – don't delay. Your claim starts the Sunday preceding your filing date, based on when you filed online or called. Your unemployment claim is valid for 1 year (365 days) from the date your claim starts. You should expect up to 26 weeks of eligibility depending on your base period earnings.

Make sure to have on hand your Social Security Number, your work history for the last 18 months (business names, addresses, telephone numbers, and dates of employment) and your bank routing number and checking/savings account number if you desire direct deposit. You will need a driver's license or state ID card number and your mother's maiden name for identity validation. If you have just been discharged from the military, make sure to have the member 4 copy of your DD214 form. If you are not a US citizen, make sure to have your valid work authorization number.

Filing Your Weekly Claim:

You should expect between $45 (minimum) and $265 (maximum) per week. The actual amount is calculated from your actual earnings. Shortly after your claim is filed, you'll receive a monetary determination form that outlines base period wages as reported to the state, total and weekly amount to expect. You'll need to file a weekly certification of benefits online or by calling the number given to you during the initial unemployment application process. You'll need your social security number or previously established username, and the 4-digit PIN you created in your initial claim.

If you certify before 5:00pm and there are no problems, delays, unresolved issues, or missing information, your claim should be processed for payment the next business day. Your bank may take up to 48 hours to process the payment to your AL Vantage debit card or direct deposit to your checking account. If your payment is delayed longer than this time frame, call the Call Center Inquiry Line at 1-800-361-4524 (7am - 5pm, Mon. - Fri.). Alabama processes all unemployment claims though direct deposit or through an AL Vantage Debit card that will be issued if you select this option. Access your account information here.

Waiting Week – Waiting Week is an unpaid week after the 13th payment week of UC benefits. Don't expect to receive benefits on the 14th payable week. However, you will need to file a certification for that period to keep future benefits active. If you remain unemployed past the waiting week and continue to meet filing and eligibility requirements, payments will continue after the waiting week - you may claim additional weeks until you exhaust regular UC benefits after 26 weeks.

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Unemployment Benefits:

Health benefits may be available under the Health Coverage Tax Credit, crediting 72.5% of qualified health care premiums. You may be eligible for the Health Coverage Tax Credit (HCTC) if:

  1. You meet one of the following candidate requirements:
    • Your company was Trade Certified and you receive Trade Adjustment Assistance benefits (TAA) - Click here for details.
    • You received pension payments from the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation and are 55 years or older
    • You are the spouse or dependent of someone who fell into one of the categories above at the time of Medicare enrollment, death, or divorce.
  2. You meet the general requirements.
  3. You are enrolled in a qualified health plan.

Apply for HCTC health benefits using this HCTC Application Form(PDF).

Reemployment Trade Adjustment Assistance (RTAA) benefits may be eligible to workers at least 50 years of age, who have not earned more than $50,000 per year in reemployment wages, and are reemployed full time. The RTAA benefit can be up to $10,000 during a two-year period. Eligible employees can apply for the RTAA benefit by filling out form ETA9042 online (PDF).
Filing for extensions:
Workers who have depleted regular Unemployment Compensation after 26 weeks may be eligible for extensions through Trade Readjustment Allowance (TRA) benefits. Typically, this is the same weekly amount as the initial Unemployment Compensation benefit. Contact the Call Center Inquiry Line at 1-800-361-4524 (7am - 5pm, Mon. - Fri.) to apply for TRA or for questions. You are eligible for TRA if you:
  1. Were laid off within the benefit time frame
  2. Used all Unemployment Compensation Benefits
  3. Are employed for at least 26 weeks by separating employer, and paid minimum of $30/week during the 52 weeks prior to separation date.
  4. Enrolled in government approved training (or training waived)

Important deadlines:

Within 26 weeks of certification or 26 weeks of the most recent qualifying separation, whichever is later, workers must be enrolled in approved training or have a valid waiver to receive TRA.
For more question, see the FAQ sheet developed by the Alabama Department of Industrial Relations. See an additional FAQ sheet listed here.

Be careful to fill the information on forms completely and correctly to avoid problems and delays.

Call the Center Inquiry Line at 1-800-361-4524 (7am - 5pm, Mon. - Fri.) if you have any problems you can't easily resolve, or if your payment has been delayed.

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