Alaska’s Department of Labor & Workforce Development offers unemployment insurance benefits to those who have lost their jobs. If you have lost your job through no fault of your own, such as through a layoff, you should be eligible to receive benefits immediately. If you were fired or quit your job, you may not immediately qualify for unemployment compensation. (You should still apply, though.)
In most cases, in order to qualify for unemployment benefits, you will need to have earned at least $2500 over a 6-month (2 calendar quarter) period in the last 15 months, and these wages must have been earned from an employer required to pay Unemployment Insurance taxes in the state of Alaska.
If you qualify for unemployment, you will get anywhere from $56 to $370 per week in benefits, depending on your recent work history. The formula for determining your exact amount is complicated — you can download this Unemployment Insurance Claimant Handbook for more detail on exactly how your payment is calculated.
Unemployment payments can last from 16 weeks to 26 weeks, again depending on your recent compensation history at your job or jobs.
Getting unemployment benefits is not a one-time process, however. Even after you are approved for payments, you must:
- Continue to seek suitable full-time employment AND report bi-weekly (every two weeks) on your job search attempts, including how you interacted with specific employers (by phone, in-person application, etc.).
- Register for work opportunities through the Alaska Labor Exchange System (ALEXsys)
- Report any work earnings for the week.
- To apply for unemployment benefits online, go to https://my.alaska.gov/Portal/Portal.aspx and sign in (if you’ve used the system before) or register for a new online account. From there you will be able to apply for unemployment.
- You can also apply by phone, though this is a more complicated option. You can call one of the following UI Claim Center phone numbers: 907-269-4700 (in the Anchorage area), 907-451-2871 (Fairbanks), 907-465-5552 (Juneau), or 888-252-2557 from other areas of the state.
Assuming you are approved, your first payment should come within 2 weeks. Payments can be direct deposited to your bank account or you can sign up to have benefits loaded onto a special debit card specifically for unemployment benefits.
Remember to file your bi-weekly claims either online at https://my.alaska.gov/ (look for the “Unemployment Insurance Benefits” link) or by phone using the VICTOR system. Phone numbers are 907-277-0693 in the Anchorage area, 907-451-6126 (Fairbanks), 907-586-4650 (Juneau), or 888-222-9989 in remote areas. If you do not file your claims, your payments may be delayed or not paid at all!