Pandemic unemployment assistance and $600 in federal pandemic unemployment compensation available for eligible workers

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The CARES Act gives states the option of extending unemployment compensation to independent contractors và other workers who are ordinarily ineligible for unemployment benefits. Please contact your state’s unemployment insurance office at the trang web or phone number provided below lớn learn more about the availability of these benefits where you live.

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Background

On March 18, 2020, President Trump signed into law the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), which provided additional flexibility for state unemployment insurance agencies và additional administrative funding lớn respond khổng lồ the COVID-19 pandemic. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, và Economic Security (CARES) Act was signed into law on March 27. It expands states’ ability lớn provide unemployment insurance for many workers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, including for workers who are not ordinarily eligible for unemployment benefits. For more information, please refer to lớn the resources available below.


How vị 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.

Generally, you should file your claim with the state where you worked. If you worked in a state other than the one where you now live or if you worked in multiple states, the state unemployment insurance agency where you now live can provide information about how to file your claim with other states.When you tệp tin a claim, you will be asked for certain information, such as addresses & dates of your former employment. To lớn make sure your claim is not delayed, be sure to lớn give complete & correct information.

Guidance

Fact Sheets

News Releases

Frequently Asked Questions

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

The PUA program provides up lớn 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 & 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 khổng lồ 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 lớn 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 & ending with weeks of unemployment ending on or before December 31, 2020. The program covers most individuals who have exhausted all rights to lớn regular unemployment compensation under state or federal law and who are able khổng lồ work, available for work, & 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 tìm kiếm 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 khổng lồ 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 và PEUC benefits in fewer than 39 weeks, you may be eligible khổng lồ receive assistance under PUA for the remaining weeks within PUA’s 39 week period.

My regular unemployment compensation benefits vì chưng not provide adequate tư vấn given the unprecedented economic challenges caused by the COVID-19 outbreak. Can I expect lớn receive additional relief?

Yes, depending on how your state chooses lớn implement the CARES Act. The new law creates the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program (FPUC), which provides an additional $600 per week khổng lồ individuals who are collecting regular UC (including Unemployment Compensation for Federal Employees (UCFE) & 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 & ending with weeks of unemployment ending on or before July 31, 2020.

I run a nonprofit organization và 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 lớn my employees. What should I do?

Contact your state unemployment insurance office lớn learn what options may be available for delaying reimbursement payments. The CARES Act allows states to lớn provide maximum flexibility to lớn reimbursing employers as it relates lớn timely payments in lieu of contributions and assessment of penalties và 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?

Each state sets its own unemployment insurance benefits eligibility guidelines, but you usually qualify if you:

Are unemployed through no fault of your own. In most states, this means you have to lớn have separated from your last job due to a lack of available work.Meet work và wage requirements. You must meet your state’s requirements for wages earned or time worked during an established period of time referred lớn 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.)

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

No. Under the CARES Act, you may be eligible for benefits if you meet one of the circumstances listed in the Act, but none include the scenario described. On these facts, you are not eligible for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) because you vì chưng not meet any of the qualifying circumstances.

There are, however, circumstances under the CARES Act in which specific, credible health concerns could require an individual khổng lồ quit his or her job & thereby make the individual eligible for PUA. For example, an individual may be eligible for PUA if he or she was diagnosed with COVID-19 by a qualified medical professional, and although the individual no longer has COVID-19, the illness caused health complications that render the individual objectively unable to lớn perform his or her essential job functions, with or without a reasonable accommodation. However, voluntarily deciding lớn quit your job out of a general concern about exposure lớn COVID-19 does not make you eligible for PUA. If you believe your employer’s response lớn the possible spread of COVID-19 creates a serious safety hazard or if you think your employer is not following OSHA standards, you can file a complaint with the Occupational Safety & Health Administration.

As a general matter, you are likely to lớn be eligible for PUA due lớn concerns about exposure to the coronavirus only if you have been advised by a healthcare provider to lớn self-quarantine as a result of such concerns. For instance, an individual whose immune system is compromised by virtue of a serious health condition, và who is therefore advised by a healthcare provider lớn self-quarantine in order to lớn avoid the greater-than-average health risks that the individual might face if he or she were khổng lồ become infected by the coronavirus will be eligible for PUA if all other eligibility requirements are met.

My employer will let me work from trang chủ with pay. However, because my children are out of school and my spouse is working, I need to lớn care for them và it is too difficult lớn 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 lớn be at school in order for me khổng lồ be able khổng lồ work. Vì chưng I qualify for PUA?

You may qualify. The CARES Act does provide PUA lớn an individual who is the “primary caregiver” of a child who is at trang chủ due to a forced school closure that directly results from the COVID-19 public health emergency. However, to qualify as a primary caregiver, your provision of care lớn the child must require such ongoing & constant attention that it is not possible for you to lớn perform your customary work functions at home. For example, if your employer allows you lớn telework và you are caring for a more mature child who is able lớn care for him or herself for much of the day, you likely would not qualify for PUA because you are still able lớn work.

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In addition, you should bear in mind that the CARES Act provides PUA only when a child is home because of a school closure that is a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency. A school is not closed as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency, for purposes of 2102(a)(3)(A)(ii)(I)(dd), after the date the school year was originally scheduled khổng lồ end. That means that, once the school year is over, parents should rely on their customary summer arrangements for caring for their children, và will not, absent some other qualifying circumstances, be eligible to receive PUA. If, however, the facility that they rely on khổng lồ provide summer care for the child is also closed as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency, they may continue to lớn qualify for PUA. Similarly, if there is some other reason under which they qualify for PUA, they will continue lớn be eligible to receive benefits.

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

You may be eligible for PUA, depending on your personal circumstances. A gig economy worker, such as a driver for a ride-sharing service, is eligible for PUA provided that he or she is unemployed, partially employed, or unable or unavailable lớn work for one or more of the qualifying reasons provided for by the CARES Act. For example, a driver for a ride-sharing service may be forced to lớn quit his or her job if he or she was diagnosed with COVID-19 by a qualified medical professional, and although the driver no longer has COVID-19, the illness caused health complications that render the driver objectively unable lớn perform his or her essential job functions, with or without a reasonable accommodation. Similarly, under an additional eligibility criterion established by the Secretary of Labor pursuant khổng lồ 2102(a)(3)(A)(ii)(I)(kk), a driver who receives an IRS khung 1099 from the ride-sharing service may qualify for PUA benefits if he or she has been forced to lớn suspend operations as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency, such as if an emergency state or municipal order restricting movement makes continued operations unsustainable. Relatedly, widespread social distancing undertaken in response khổng lồ guidance from federal, state, or local governments may so severely reduce customer demand for a driver’s services as to lớn force him or her to suspend operations, và thus make the driver eligible for PUA.

I was furloughed by my employer, but they have now reopened and asked me lớn 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 lớn suitable employment và 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.

While eligibility for PUA does not turn on whether an individual is actively seeking work, it does require that the individual be unemployed, partially employed, or unable or unavailable to lớn work due lớn certain circumstances that are a direct result of COVID-19 or the COVID-19 public health emergency. In the situation outlined here, an employee who had been furloughed because his or her employer has closed the place of employment would potentially be eligible for PUA while the employer remained closed, assuming the closure was a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency and other qualifying conditions are satisfied. However, as soon as the business reopens & the employee is recalled for work, as in the example above, eligibility for PUA would cease unless the individual could identify some other qualifying circumstance outlined in the CARES Act.

One of my workers quit because he said he would prefer lớn receive the unemployment compensation benefits under the CARES Act. Is he eligible for unemployment? If not, what can I do?

No, typically that employee would not be eligible for regular unemployment compensation or PUA. Eligibility for regular unemployment compensation varies by state but generally does not include those who voluntarily leave employment. Similarly, lớn receive PUA, an individual must be ineligible for regular unemployment compensation or extended benefits under state or federal law, or pandemic emergency unemployment compensation, & satisfy one of the eligibility criteria enumerated in the CARES Act, as explained in Unemployment Insurance Program Letter 16-20. There are multiple qualifying circumstances related lớn COVID-19 that can make an individual eligible for PUA, including if the individual quits his or her job as a direct result of COVID-19. Quitting to access unemployment benefits is not one of them. Individuals who quit their jobs khổng lồ access higher benefits, và are untruthful in their UI application about their reason for quitting, will be considered lớn have committed fraud.

If desired, employers can contest unemployment insurance claims through their state unemployment insurance agency’s process.

If I am eligible for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, vày I need khổng lồ first apply for unemployment insurance?

States must have a process for determining that Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) applicants are ineligible for regular unemployment benefits, which may not include filing a regular claim as a first step. States are not required khổng lồ take và adjudicate a full claim for regular unemployment insurance benefits to lớn meet this requirement. While states are not prohibited from taking a full claim, lớn facilitate expedited claims processing the U.S. Department of Labor has discouraged states from doing so. Individuals should apply using the state’s PUA application process and, in states that have not yet established that process, must wait until it is established.

What is an offer of suitable employment và 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 job’s wage level, type of work, và the claimant’s skills.

Refusing an offer of suitable employment (as defined in state law) without good cause will often disqualify individuals from continued eligibility for unemployment compensation.

For example, if an individual’s former employer calls the individual back lớn work after having temporarily laid the individual off for reasons related to COVID-19, the individual would very likely have to lớn accept the offer to return to lớn 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.

What can an employer bởi if it believes an unemployment insurance claimant has refused an offer of suitable employment?

Nearly all states have processes for employers lớn submit documentation that an offer of suitable employment was refused by an unemployment insurance claimant. Please contact your state unemployment insurance agency for additional information.

What can the claimant vị if he or she believes a job offer is not for suitable employment?

If a state raises an issue of failure to accept suitable employment, the state unemployment insurance agency must provide the claimant with an opportunity lớn provide his or her side of the story & to rebut any evidence provided khổng lồ the state before making a final determination.

Most state laws allow for refusal of suitable employment for good cause, which is defined in state law. Criteria for good cause may include, but are not limited to, the degree of risk khổng lồ an individual’s health, safety, & morals; the individual’s physical fitness, prior training, experience, & earnings; the length of unemployment and prospects for securing local work in a customary occupation; and the distance of the available work from the individual’s residence.

Claimants may file an appeal if they disagree with a state’s determination regarding suitable work. Please tương tác your state unemployment insurance agency for additional information.