As the CoVID-19 Coronavirus has been making its way around the world, companies have been forced to close their doors and shutdown, furlough or lay off employees and patiently wait for the pandemic to slow down to reopen. Before the pandemic the unemployment rate had reached the lowest it’s ever been in years. However, unemployment claims have now totaled more than 22 million in the past month and a half, much higher than what the U.S. has experienced since the Great Depression. Many economists are calling these statistics historical numbers that the economy could have never foreshadowed.
With everything that is going on in the world today, it is important to understand how unemployment benefits work in case you ever find yourself in a position that you need them. The first thing to note is that you have to file a claim in the state(s) where you worked to receive unemployment insurance payments.
Thankfully, policymakers at the Federal and State levels have been moving to act quickly on decisions regarding unemployment eligibility for Americans. According to the Department of Labor” The CARES Act, signed by President Trump on March 27, 2020, allows for the right to expand unemployment insurance to independent contractors and other employees who are usually unable to obtain unemployment benefits.”
Many of the requirements that may have prevented you from filing an unemployment claim before have been eased or lifted due to the virus. Depending on your personal circumstances, and how your state wants to apply the CARES Act, you can qualify for unemployment benefits. Further, states are also offering Pandemic Unemployment Assistance known as PUA. This assistance is meant to assist self-employed people, seeking part-time employment, or who may not normally qualify for unemployment insurance. You cannot be qualified for normal unemployment insurance to qualify for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance compensation.
Although restrictions have been lifted to make applying and obtaining unemployment easier for Americans who need it, you will still have to go through an application process and prove you need the assistance. Before applying, it is suggested to gather all of your important documents regarding employment and any proof that you were laid off, fired, or that your pay or hours were cut. This can help in a quicker turnaround time for them to make a decision in your case.
If and when you are approved, you will be required to be in communication with your states unemployment office each week. Most states will require you to file a certificate on a weekly basis stating that you are still unemployed and that you are actively seeking employment.
If you are suddenly laid off or have your wages cut due to the pandemic and do not know where to start to keep your finances in line, reach out to SJK Wealth Management and we will guide you. These are very difficult times for everyone, but we are here to help.