How do I get proof of income if i'm on unemployment?

In some cases, you may be asked to provide proof of income in order to qualify for benefits, rent an apartment or obtain social services such as Medicaid and food stamps. When you work at a job, you would typically provide copies of your paystubs, tax returns or bank statements to prove your income. If you are currently unemployed and collecting unemployment, however, you may be wondering how you can show proof of income. Although you may not be working, you do have several options when it comes to showing how much you currently receive for unemployment benefits.

Maintain a record of all unemployment checks you receive while collecting unemployment. In most cases, you can simply keep a copy of the paper check stub, just as you would for traditional payroll checks. Make copies of your unemployment check stubs, and retain the originals for your records in the event you are asked to produce evidence of your unemployment checks. If you receive unemployment compensation through ETF, or electronic transfer, instead of paper checks, you may need to access an online statement of your benefits in order to show the amounts you receive on a weekly, biweekly or monthly basis.

Request a copy of your award letter as soon as you are approved for unemployment benefits. In most cases, you will be provided with an award letter if you are approved for any type of government benefits, including Social Security, disability and unemployment. The award letter should indicate how much your benefit amount will be, how often you will receive payments, and how long your benefit period will last. If an award letter is not sent to you automatically, contact your unemployment administration office, and request that an award letter be sent to you for your records. An award letter or income verification letter written by an official from the issuing office may be adequate to prove your unemployment income.

Wait for your W-2 to arrive at the end of the year, if you are not required to produce proof of income immediately. Unemployment income is generally considered taxable income. Since you are expected to report unemployment income on your tax returns at the end of the year, you may receive a W-2 tax form from the unemployment office in charge of issuing your unemployment payments. You may use a copy of your unemployment W-2, or your completed tax return in order to provide proof of the previous year's unemployment income.


Since unemployment is not considered long-term income, it may not help you qualify for a mortgage, non-subsidised apartments, car loans, credit cards or consumer loans.

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About the Author

Sara Melone is a mother of three and a graduate of UNH. With prior careers in insurance and finance, photography, as well as certifications in fitness and nutrition, Melone draws directly from past experience and varying interests. She contributes with equal passion to birth journals, investment blogs, and self-help websites.

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