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Federal HR Policies Affecting Schedule A Appointment

Unemployment Insurance


The Federal-State unemployment insurance system was initiated in the Social Security Act of 1935. Unemployment compensation was designed to provide benefits to most workers out of work due to no fault of their own for periods between jobs.  By payments to laid-off workers, it ensures that at least a significant proportion expenses (food, shelter and clothing) can be obtained while a searching for work. Except in a few states, where there are small employee payments, the system is financed by an employer payroll tax.


Cooperative Extension Service employees with Federal benefits are paid by the state university/college that has a agreement with USDA. Their unemployment insurance benefits are paid by the state and not by the state for their Federal benefits. The information on these former Federal appointees cannot be obtained from the National Finance Center (NFC), USDA, since these employees are not paid by the NFC and the forms and processes used by USDA/NFC are different from the state process, procedures, and forms.

To be eligible to receive unemployment benefits in most states the applicant:

  • Must meet the state requirements for wages earned or time worked during a one year period prior to the claim.
  • Must have become unemployed (or only partially employed) through no fault of their own.
  • Must be able to work. That is physically and mentally capable of working every day of the week for which they are claiming benefits.
  • Must be available for work. They are ready to start a job immediately.  They have transportation available and do not have to remain home to care for dependents.  They must be available for work every day of the week.
  • Must actively seek work.  They must seek work and do everything reasonable to secure work.


Most states pay a minimum of 26 weeks (a few longer).  In periods of very high unemployment, states may extend it for longer periods of time.  These extended periods are funded from State and Federal sources.

How to Apply for Benefits

Almost all wage and salary workers are covered by the Federal-State unemployment system.  State agencies take applications and administer payments.  States, as agents of the Federal Government also pay benefits to ex-service members with recent active service, benefits to former civilian Federal employees, and workers who lose their jobs as a result of the nations trade policies or due to a natural disaster.

Each state has their own unemployment insurance program. To file a claim, the applicant should contact the local office of the agency that administers the unemployment insurance program in the state as soon as possible after the last day of work.  A local number should be listed in the state government section of the local telephone directory under such titles as: Unemployment Insurance, Unemployment Compensation, Employment Security or Employment Service.

When filing a claim, the applicant should take the following items with them to their local unemployment office:

  • Social Security card;
  • wage records;
  • W-2 forms;
  • any other proof of earnings for the past 52 weeks;
  • record of employment


For further information and questions, contact the local Unemployment Insurance office.

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