Getting laid off can be a tough pill to swallow, and during the Coronavirus pandemic, it can be even tougher. While you might feel disappointed or discouraged, it's important to remember that this is not forever, and there are systems in place to support you.
Understandably, navigating responsibilities and obligations like paying bills and feeding your family without an income, can be overwhelming - especially during a difficult time where new opportunities aren't around every corner.
The upside is that unemployment benefits may be available to help. We have pulled together a few things you need to know about unemployment benefits, including if you're eligible, how to file a claim and how to collect.
When you lose your job, you may be entitled to collect unemployment benefits. These are a percentage of your wages through a joint state-federal program called Unemployment Insurance (UI.) If eligible, UI provides temporary financial aid while you are job searching.
Determining whether or not you're eligible to collect unemployment benefits is the first step. It depends on several factors, including:
Generally, you must be out of work through no fault of your own. This means that if you were laid off due to the Coronavirus, for example, you may be eligible for unemployment. If you were fired for conducting unlawful behavior in the workplace or you voluntarily quit, however, you may not qualify.
To collect unemployment benefits, you must be able to prove that
If during unemployment, you're injured or tending to other responsibilities that may prevent you from accepting a job offer, you may be ineligible to receive benefits.
Coronavirus Update: It's important to note that eligibility has been extended to those who are unemployed, partially unemployed or unable to work due to COVID-19 and do not qualify for traditional benefits.
You can contact your state's Division of Unemployment Insurance to learn your state-specific rules and regulations as well as apply.
This can take time, so patience is key! Each state has its own process, but in general, they require you to file electronically or over the phone and provide the following:
You'll want to make sure that you have all of the necessary materials on hand first before you try to file an unemployment claim.
If applicable, you may need to share
Once you have all of your materials ready, visit your state's Division of Unemployment Insurance o file your claim. You will create an account, log in with your credentials and complete the application.
For more information, check out our Navigating Unemployment article where you visit your state page for specific information and updates.
Typically, unemployment benefits average around $200 to $550 a week and replace about 40% of your income.
Most states will allow you to receive benefits for anywhere between 12 and 28 weeks, though they may end earlier if you become ineligible along the way.
Coronavirus Update: In response to the COVID-19 pandemic
Since there's no way of knowing how long you will be unemployed and your income is now significantly less... it's important to plan for the future and budget your money.
While losing your job can be discouraging, rest assured that you're not alone. Due to COVID-19, over 10 million Americans have filed for unemployment benefits in March alone. There are many people here in the Jobcase Community who feel just like you do, so be sure to reach out, connect and say hello. Similarly, reach out to your local community, family/friends and those around you who are experiencing the same difficulties. We WILL get through this together!