State and local governments vary in the programs and offerings to help those financially impacted by the coronavirus.
Unemployment insurance is a joint state-federal program that provides cash benefits to eligible workers.
Each state administers a separate unemployment insurance program, but all states follow the same guidelines established by federal law.
Unemployment Insurance Relief During COVID-19 Outbreak
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 and additional administrative funding to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
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. Use the link below to find how to file for your state.
The CARES Act
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was signed into law on March 27. It expands states’ ability to provide unemployment insurance for many workers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, including for workers who are not ordinarily eligible for unemployment benefits.
The recently passed CARES Act allows states to extend benefits to self-employed and gig workers , and to provide an extra $600 per week as well as an additional 13 weeks of benefits.
You may be eligible for unemployment benefits, depending on your personal circumstances and how your state chooses to implement the CARES Act.
States are permitted to provide Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) to individuals who are self-employed, seeking part-time employment, or who otherwise would not qualify for regular unemployment compensation.
To qualify for PUA benefits, you must not be eligible for regular unemployment benefits and be unemployed, partially unemployed, or unable or unavailable to work because of certain health or economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Benefits for older adults
Older adults may be impacted by the coronavirus and quarantine procedures in different ways than the general public.
There may be government benefits available to older adults who need financial help.
Visit benefitscheckup.org for more information and to see if you qualify for any state or local assistance.
Additional relief for small businesses
The CARES Act provided $349 billion for the paycheck protection program, but based on requests, much more will be required and much faster to provide the necessary lifeline to workers and small business owners.
The typical small business cannot survive a month without incoming revenue, according to research by the JPMorgan Chase Institute.
Compounding the problem, the Small Business Administration was not equipped to handle the surge in requests and is struggling to scale it’s systems and processes.
President Trump announced on Tuesday that he will be asking Congress to provide an additional $250 billion for the paycheck protection.
So it is likely that more help will be on the way, but unfortunately not fast enough for millions of laid off workers and struggling businesses.