Do I qualify for unemployment? How to apply for benefits if you’ve lost work due to the coronavirus outbreak

woman using phone in kitchen

Each state has its own requirements to qualify for unemployment benefits, but in most cases you must have been laid off through no fault of your own.
Self-employed workers and independent contractors typically do not qualify for unemployment benefits.
Uber and Instacart are offering some help to workers who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or are in quarantine.
personal finance coverage.

In order to qualify for unemployment benefits, you must meet a few requirements. It’s important to note that each state has its own eligibility requirements.

To qualify, you must be laid off through no fault of your own. This will be true for most workers affected by coronavirus-related layoffs and reductions in work. If you are fired or you quit voluntarily, you may not be eligible for unemployment benefits.

Typically, you must be available to work and actively seeking employment to qualify for unemployment insurance. Additionally, you must meet certain wage and work requirements to qualify, which can vary by state.

If you are self-employed or an independent contractor, you likely won’t qualify for unemployment insurance.

If you are a gig worker, you may not qualify. However, Uber and Instacart are offering some assistance if you meet specific guidelines, such as being diagnosed with COVID-19 or being in quarantine.

Below are the steps you can take to file an unemployment claim.

Where we’re at now

Each state has its own unemployment program. Given the onset of COVID-19, the federal government has expanded unemployment insurance to cover more people through the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

According to, you qualify if:

An employer temporarily ceases operations due to COVID-19, preventing employees from coming to work;
An individual is quarantined with the expectation of returning to work after the quarantine is over; and
An individual leaves employment due to a risk of exposure or infection or to care for a family member

So if you’ve been laid off from your restaurant or bartending job or have stopped working to mitigate risk or care for another, you may qualify for unemployment.

Step 1: Gather information and documentation

If you’ve lost your job, you want to apply for unemployment insurance right away. To streamline the process, gather your information and documentation ahead of time. You will need to provide information such as:

Full name
Birth date
Social Security Number
Employment history for 18 months
Names and addresses for employers for the past 18 months
Previous income
Why job ended
Bank account info to receive benefits

You will want to have your driver’s license, Social Security card, and any pay stubs or W-2s handy. If you have any documentation related to your layoff, have that nearby as well.

Step 2: Go to and find your specific state info

The website is sponsored by the US Department of Labor and is a great resource for dealing with unemployment. You can go here and find unemployment benefits specific to your state.

Step 3: Select a state

Underneath “Find Employment Benefits” and Location, see the drop-down menu for Select a State and choose …read more

Source:: Business Insider


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