"I lost some or all of my work due to coronavirus"

I am currently unemployed. What should I do?

If you lost your job due to Coronavirus, you likely qualify for unemployment insurance, which will pay you part or all of your lost wages for a period of time. Unemployment benefits are provided at the state level, so visit your state's unemployment insurance website to apply and find more information about:
  1. 1.
  2. 2.
    How to file a claim
  3. 3.
    Supportive documents needed (vary by state)
Due to volume, you may want to visit during off-hours (e.g. later at night).
Additionally, the Coronavirus Aid, Response, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) temporarily expanded eligibility for unemployment insurance to:
  • Freelancers and independent contractors
  • Workers seeking part-time work
  • Workers who don't have a long enough work history to qualify for state unemployment insurance benefits
  • Workers who otherwise wouldn't qualify for benefits under state or federal law
Unemployment benefits also extend for an extra 13 weeks after regular unemployment compensation benefits are exhausted to help those who are unemployed after running out of state benefits and provides a federal benefit of $600 a week through July 31, 2020.
August 8, 2020 Presidential Memoranda Update:
  • Federal unemployment will be an additional $400 per week.
  • States need to pay 25% of the $400.
  • 44 billion dollars were set aside to aid unemployment.
  • States will need to allocate Coronavirus Relief Funds (CRF) to help with loss of wages.
  • The Secretary of Homeland Security will be authorized to administer additional funds for states and tribal communities only if the Governor requests additional funds and is able to oversee the program funds.
  • Federal funds allocated to unemployment will be available until the CFR reaches 25 billion dollars and not extended past December 6, 2020.
  • This order will be in effect until other legislation is passed to aid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Other special circumstances will vary depending on each state, but generally, they include:
  • You have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or have symptoms of it and are trying to get diagnosed
  • A member of your household has been diagnosed with COVID-19
  • You are providing care for someone diagnosed with COVID-19
  • You are providing care for a child or other household member who can't go to school or to a care facility because it's closed due to COVID-19
  • You are quarantined or have been advised by a healthcare provider to self-quarantine
  • You were scheduled to start a job and no longer have the job or can't reach the job due to COVID-19
  • You have become the primary earner for a household because the head of household died as a direct result of COVID-19
  • You had to quit your job as a direct result of COVID-19
  • Your place of employment is closed as a direct result of COVID-19
  • You meet other criteria set forth by the Secretary of Labor
Unfortunately, based on the eligibility qualifications of the CARES Act, certain undocumented people do not qualify. If you identity as undocumented or live in a mixed-status household, we encourage you to check the Legal Aid page for more information.

Am I eligible to receive unemployment insurance if I'm undocumented?

This document explains how immigrant workers must satisfy same basic requirements as other workers to be eligible for unemployment insurance.

Is this all still very confusing?

The Balance Careers has a Filing for Unemployment guide with clear steps of what to do and to help you apply for unemployment insurance in your state.

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