Unemployment Benefits and COVID-19
The $2 trillion stimulus package recently signed by President Trump greatly expands unemployment benefits for laid off workers. Unemployment benefits will increase by $600 per week on top of the currently provided payments. The stimulus package also broadens the numbers of individuals eligible for these benefits.
Who is eligible for unemployment benefits?
Unemployment insurance is administered at the state level. While specific plans vary by state, Americans are generally eligible if they have been laid off from their jobs. The new plan has been expanded to include the self-employed, independent contractors as well as part time employees.
According to the PA Office of Unemployment Compensation, you might be eligible if:
- Your employer temporarily closes or goes out of business because of COVID-19
- Your employer reduces your hours because of COVID-19
- You have been told not to work because your employer feels you might get or spread COVID-19
- You have been told to quarantine or self-isolate, or live/work in a county under government-recommended mitigation
What if I or a family member is diagnosed with coronavirus?
The inability to works based on the following conditions qualifies individuals for benefits:
- Currently diagnosed with coronavirus, experiencing coronavirus symptoms, or seeking a diagnosis
- Responsible for caring for a household member who has been diagnosed with coronavirus
What if I am reliant on services provided by a school or daycare facility that has been closed due to coronavirus?
If you are unable to work because a school or other facility that cares for a child or other family member is closed due to coronavirus, you are eligible for unemployment benefits.
Under the expanded guidelines, who is still ineligible for benefits?
- Anyone receiving any form of paid leave benefits
- Employees who are able to work from home
- New entrants to the workforce who have not yet secured a job
How long will the benefits last?
- Duration of benefits varies by state. For benefit duration in PA click here.
- This stimulus package provides an additional 13 weeks of benefits
- The additional $600/week, included as a part of the recently approved Stimulus Plan, will last for up to 4 months, and covering weeks of employment ending July 31
How do I apply?
You need to apply directly to your state’s unemployment office. In PA, apply through the PA Office of Unemployment Compensation.
Am I eligible for these enhanced benefits if I am already collecting unemployment insurance?
Yes, you are still eligible for these additional pandemic related benefits. If you have any questions, please contact our experienced attorneys.
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