Unemployment Insurance Relief During COVID-19 Outbreak

How Do I Qualify For Unemployment Due To Covid 19

How Long Do I Have To Work To Qualify for Unemployment?

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While all states follow unemployment insurance guidelines set by federal law, each state is free to establish the eligibility requirements for unemployment benefits in their state. Because each state has different laws about the eligibility requirement for unemployment benefits, the amount of time required to qualify will depend on the laws of your state. This article will summarize the amount of time that UI claimants must work to qualify for benefits.

Unemployment insurance (UI) helps millions of American workers each year support themselves and their families. While all states follow guidelines set by federal law, each state is free to establish the eligibility requirements for unemployment benefits in their state. Most states have an agency dedicated to operating their unemployment insurance programs.

States require claimants to have worked for a minimum period of time to be eligible for unemployment benefits. Because each state has different laws about the eligibility requirement for unemployment benefits, the amount of time required to qualify will depend on the laws of your state. This article will summarize the amount of time that UI claimants must work to qualify for benefits.

How States Determine Unemployment Eligibility

Unemployment benefits are funded by payroll taxes on employers rather than taxes on individual citizens. They’re also funded by the Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA), a mandatory governmental insurance system. States base employer contributions on the amount of wages paid by an employer, the amount the employer has already contributed to the state unemployment fund, and the amount of compensation that discharged employees have received from the state unemployment fund.

Each state administers its own separate unemployment insurance program using federal guidelines and standards. The secretary of labor must approve each state program. Federal and state laws are used to determine which claimants are eligible for compensation, the amount of compensation, and the period of time that compensation is paid.

In the past, unemployment compensation has only been available to wage earners who work for other individuals or business entities. Independent contractors and self-employed individuals were ineligible for these benefits. Federal and state COVID-19 relief legislation has expanded benefit eligibility, temporarily, to include independent contractors and self-employed individuals.

States evaluate claims for regular unemployment benefits based on past wages, job separation(s), and other requirements for eligibility that are ongoing. Applicants must provide important personal information, such as their Social Security number, as well as their contact information, like a phone number and mailing address.

In addition to meeting all eligibility requirements when filing a claim, applicants must also meet requirements when certifying for UI benefits. Certifying is the process of informing the unemployment office that you’re still unemployed and eligible to continue receiving benefits by answering basic questions every two weeks.

How Do I Apply?

To receive unemployment insurance benefits, you need to file a claim with the unemployment insurance program in the state where you worked. Depending on the state, claims may be filed in person, by telephone, or online.

I am an independent contractor. Am I eligible for unemployment benefits under the CARES Act?

You may be eligible for unemployment benefits, depending on your personal circumstances and how your state chooses to implement the CARES Act. States are permitted to provide Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) to individuals who are self-employed, seeking part-time employment, or who otherwise would not qualify for regular unemployment compensation. To qualify for PUA benefits, you must not be eligible for regular unemployment benefits and be unemployed, partially unemployed, or unable or unavailable to work because of certain health or economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The PUA program provides up to 39 weeks of benefits, which are available retroactively starting with weeks of unemployment beginning on or after January 27, 2020, and ending on or before December 31, 2020. The amount of benefits paid out will vary by state and are calculated based on the weekly benefit amounts (WBA) provided under a state’s unemployment insurance laws. Under the CARES Act, the WBA may be supplemented by the additional unemployment assistance provided under the Act.

I am about to exhaust my regular unemployment compensation benefits. What kinds of relief does the CARES Act provide for me?

Under the CARES Act states are permitted to extend unemployment benefits by up to 13 weeks under the new Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program. PEUC benefits are available for weeks of unemployment beginning after your state implements the new program and ending with weeks of unemployment ending on or before December 31, 2020. The program covers most individuals who have exhausted all rights to regular unemployment compensation under state or federal law and who are able to work, available for work, and actively seeking work as defined by state law. Importantly, the CARES Act gives states flexibility in determining whether you are “actively seeking work” if you are unable to search for work because of COVID-19, including because of illness, quarantine, or movement restrictions.

In addition, if you have exhausted the 13 weeks of additional benefits available under the PEUC program, you may be eligible to continue receiving benefits under the PUA program. PUA benefits are available for a period of unemployment of up to 39 weeks, meaning that if you have exhausted regular UC and PEUC benefits in fewer than 39 weeks, you may be eligible to receive assistance under PUA for the remaining weeks within PUA’s 39 week period.

My regular unemployment compensation benefits do not provide adequate support given the unprecedented economic challenges caused by the COVID-19 outbreak. Can I expect to receive additional relief?

Yes, depending on how your state chooses to implement the CARES Act. The new law creates the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program (FPUC), which provides an additional $600 per week to individuals who are collecting regular UC (including Unemployment Compensation for Federal Employees (UCFE) and Unemployment Compensation for Ex-Servicemembers (UCX), PEUC, PUA, Extended Benefits (EB), Short Time Compensation (STC), Trade Readjustment Allowances (TRA), Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA), and payments under the Self Employment Assistance (SEA) program). This benefit is available for weeks of unemployment beginning after the date on which your state entered into an agreement with the U.S. Department of Labor and ending with weeks of unemployment ending on or before July 31, 2020.

I run a nonprofit organization and am a reimbursing employer under my state’s unemployment insurance program. Due to the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, I am worried that I may be unable to timely reimburse the state for unemployment benefits it provides to my employees. What should I do?

Contact your state unemployment insurance office to learn what options may be available for delaying reimbursement payments. The CARES Act allows states to provide maximum flexibility to reimbursing employers as it relates to timely payments in lieu of contributions and assessment of penalties and interest. The U.S. Department of Labor will soon be issuing guidance on how states should implement this provision.

Am I Eligible for Regular Unemployment Compensation?

My employer has remained open because it is essential. I’m not sick, nor is anyone in my household sick. I do not have children or care for someone who cannot care for themselves. However, I’m afraid of getting coronavirus from customers coming to the store, so I quit and filed for unemployment. Can I obtain benefits under the CARES Act?

My employer will let me work from home with pay. However, because my children are out of school and my spouse is working, I need to care for them and it is too difficult to work from home. Under Section 2102(a)(3)(A)(ii)(I)(dd) of the CARES Act, I self-certify that I need my kids to be at school in order for me to be able to work. Do I qualify for PUA?

I’m partially employed because I’m a student and work part time doing ride-sharing. Can I certify that I cannot work and get PUA under the CARES Act?

I was furloughed by my employer, but they have now reopened and asked me to return to my job. Can I remain on unemployment?

No. As a general matter, individuals receiving regular unemployment compensation must act upon any referral to suitable employment and must accept any offer of suitable employment. Barring unusual circumstances, a request that a furloughed employee return to his or her job very likely constitutes an offer of suitable employment that the employee must accept.

What Is An Offer Of Suitable Employment And How Is It Connected To Unemployment Insurance Eligibility

Most state unemployment insurance laws include language defining suitable employment. Typically, suitable employment is connected to the previous jobs wage level, type of work, and the claimants skills.

Refusing an offer of suitable employment without good cause will often disqualify individuals from continued eligibility for unemployment compensation.

For example, if an individuals former employer calls the individual back to work after having temporarily laid the individual off for reasons related to COVID-19, the individual would very likely have to accept the offer to return to work, or jeopardize his or her eligibility for unemployment insurance benefits, absent some extenuating circumstance, such as if the individual tested positive for COVID-19. The job an individual held before the spread of COVID-19 will constitute, in the vast majority of cases, suitable employment for purposes of unemployment insurance eligibility.

Florida unemployment eligibility and payments depend on when you have become out of work, and when you file your claim. If you quit your job, you are not automatically denied state of Florida unemployment benefits. But you must show good cause for why you did quit, such as harassment or job conflicts.

Types Of Disability Policies

COVID-19 UPDATE: Because the coronavirus pandemic has left so many Americans jobless, the federal government has given states more flexibility in granting unemployment benefits. If you have questions about whether youre eligible for unemployment benefits read our COVID-19 Unemployment Benefits and Insurance FAQ and check out Florida’s claimant handbook.

This can be a difficult question to answer, as it can vary based on your location. Unemployment benefits are managed at the state level, which means that every state can set its own requirements for qualification. That said, you can qualify for unemployment in MOST states if you meet the following criteria:

Its important to note that many of these requirements must be maintained in order to continue receiving weekly or monthly Unemployment Insurance benefits. In other words, if you find work or become unavailable to take on new work, you will no longer be able to get unemployment benefits. Therefore, you will need to recertify your unemployment qualifications with your states unemployment office on a regular basis to continue getting a check.



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