What Is an Unemployment Award Letter?

An unemployment award letter is a document sent to individuals who have applied for unemployment benefits and have been found eligible. The award is the maximum amount of money the individual is entitled to and is divided over specific period of weeks. The award amount is based on the individual’s highest earnings over an 18-month period.

Unemployed individuals who are eligible for benefits are required to certify either weekly or bi-weekly in order to receive payment. Many states have implemented user friendly computer and telephone programs that allow recipients to certify online and over the phone. Virtual certification minimizes paperwork and claimants typically receive their benefits in a timely fashion.

Another way that states are saving time is with electronic benefit debit cards. California, Maryland, Alaska and Wisconsin are among the many states that deposit weekly and bi-weekly claimant payments on pre-paid Visa debit cards. Claimants can easily withdraw their funds from ATM machines and banking centers, as well as use their cards to make purchases and pay bills.

Weekly benefit amounts vary by state. According to the California Employment Development Department, the maximum weekly benefit amount in California is $450. As of 2014, the maximum weekly benefit in Minnesota is $585. In Florida, the maximum weekly benefit amount is $275.