The US has seen a historic spike in people applying for unemployment benefits as the coronavirus pandemic upends the economy.
This week’s jobless report brought total filings over a 19-week period to more than 54 million, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Here’s how to file for unemployment insurance benefits, whether you’re laid off, furloughed, or your hours are severely reduced.
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The economic turmoil caused by the coronavirus pandemic has resulted in mass layoffs and a historic spike in people applying for unemployment benefits across the US. This week’s jobless report of 1.43 million new claims brought total filings over a 19-week period to more than 54 million, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Since March 27, when the Cares Act passed, Americans have been receiving $600 per week in enhanced unemployment benefits. But the enhanced benefit expires Friday, and Congress passed no measure to extend it.
Democrats wanted to extend it for another year, while the Trump administration proposed extending it by one week, an offer Democrats rejected. While the extended benefit is no longer an option, regular unemployment benefits still are.
Here’s how to file for unemployment insurance benefits, whether you’re laid off, furloughed, or have had your hours severely reduced.
How to determine whether you’re eligible for unemployment insurance
Unemployment insurance is a program that’s jointly run by the state and federal government, so while the application procedure can vary by state, the overall process and eligibility requirements are more or less the same.
As the US Department of Labor outlines on its website, you will typically qualify for benefits if you:
“Are unemployed through no fault of your own. In most states, this means you have to have separated from your last job due to a lack of available work.”
“Meet work and wage requirements. You must meet your state’s requirements for wages earned or time worked during an established period of time referred to as a “base period.” (In most states, this is usually the first four out of the last five completed calendar quarters before the time that your claim is filed.)”
“Meet any additional state requirements. Find details of your own state’s program.”
The Department of Labor has issued guidance to states to allow more flexibility with unemployment insurance during the coronavirus outbreak. That includes allowing states to pay benefits for workers who are quarantined and cannot go to work or workers who leave a job due to a risk of exposure or to care for a family member.
Some restaurants and hotels have put their workers on zero hour schedules and told them they’re not eligible to file for unemployment benefits because they’re not technically laid off. But if you had zero earnings in the prior week and your employer didn’t offer you any hours, you’re likely eligible, according to Andrew Stettner, a senior fellow at The Century Foundation.
“The question isn’t whether you’re employed, it’s whether you’re working,” Stettner told …read more
Source:: Business Insider