Unemployment Insurance (UI) taxes are paid by employers, not employees, so you haven’t “contributed” to it at all, much less your “entire life” as you stated. Having said that, I feel for you and if you need any assistance, I’m a former career counselor and will answer any question you might have if you FReepmail me.
According to my husband’s previous paycheck stubs (out of work for a year and a half now, except for the whopping 70 hours he worked in July! He is/was a union tile setter.) unemployment insurance tax is deducted. The employee pays in and so does the employer. There is a limit on how much is deducted for the employee per year (NJ), no idea how much the employer has to pay in.
I think that depends on the state. In some states, (Ohio, e.g.) the employer pays for unemployment insurance while in others, the employee buys his own insurance (as it should be IMHO).
And the employer pays these monies......how? Take your time. Give up? Ok, I'll help. Every hourly wage, salary, bouns and benefit dollar I've earned since age 13 and continuing for the 23 years plus I've consistently held a job has been discounted by the cost the employer pays. Just as the same is discounted by the employer's half of social security. So yes, I have paid. So have you, so has everyone else.