Some States Are Paying Out The Money In Lump Sums
According to Yahoo Money, some states are paying the benefits in lump sums. Others are not.
On September 10, CNBC reported that 20 states have started paying the extra $300 week benefit. States have to apply to get the benefit, and then there are usually several weeks of time needed to process them. Thus, people around the country are getting the benefit at different points in time.
Yahoo Money added that the money is retroactive to early August. AARP reported that more than 40 states have applied for the additional benefit.
States arent all handling this the same way. In Georgia, for example, people are getting two lump sum payments of $900 each. In that state, not everyone gets the benefit. They have to show their unemployment is COVID-19 related, for starters.
What Can You Do To Ensure Youre Getting What Youre Owed
The huge influx of recent unemployment claims were partly caused by the number of people who qualify under this years unique circumstances but who wouldnt under normal circumstances.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act extends unemployment benefits to many who didnt previously qualify. Independent contractors, freelancers, gig workers, and the self-employed may be eligible for payments through the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, established by the CARES Act. Since these types of workers dont pay state unemployment insurance taxes and they dont have employers who pay into the unemployment system, they arent normally eligible for unemployment benefits.
But how you apply for PUA benefits isnt the same across the board. Different states have different procedures and rules on who qualifies for benefits, says Daniel Kalish, managing partner at the national employment law firm HKM Employment Attorneys. The stimulus package included language saying states should be more lenient with who gets extra benefits, but didnt spell out exactly how, says Kalish.;
Because there is so much confusion right now surrounding qualification, Kalish has this straightforward advice: If you have had any reduction of your take-home compensation at all, you should apply for unemployment benefits, even if youre unsure whether you qualify. As long as you are honest in your application, there is no negative repercussion for applying. All they can say is no, he says.
How Job Loss Affects Your Health Insurance
You probably already know that your employer will no longer subsidize the cost of your health insurance once you’re laid off or fired. But that’s not quite the same as taking away your insurance. Employers with 20 or more full-time employees are typically mandated to offer COBRA coverage, and many states have similar laws for employers with fewer than 20 full-time employees. COBRA coverage enables you to remain on your former employer’s health insurance plan for at least 18 months and possibly up to 36 months after losing your job. The catch is, you now have to pay the full cost on your own.
It’s an option worth looking into, but COBRA coverage is often far more expensive than what people are used to paying for health insurance, and some people simply may not be able to afford it. If this is the case for you, explore some of the other solutions listed below.
Furloughed employees do not lose their health insurance coverage because they’re technically still employed by their company, even if they’re not actively working at the time. But if you typically have money withheld from your paychecks to cover your portion of your health insurance premiums, you might have to pay this amount out of pocket for the time being, since you’re not earning paychecks right now that your employer can take the money from. This additional expense could be tough for families who are struggling to cover their normal bills.
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Where Do You Go To Apply And When Can You Expect The Money
The Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program, authorized by the CARES Act and renewed by subsequent legislation and a presidential order, originally provided $600 per week in extra unemployment benefits to unemployed workers in states that opted in to the program. In August 2020, the extra payment was lowered to $300, the amount currently authorized by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 through Sept. 6, 2021.
To receive the FPUC extra $300 per week benefit, you must file a claim for unemployment benefits. You do not need to sign up specifically for FPUC. Those payments are automatic if you qualify for regular unemployment insurance payments.
You Were Fired For Misconduct
Theres a difference between getting fired and getting laid off. If youre fired for gross misconduct, then you likely wont qualify. Misconduct could include chronic lateness or absenteeism, carelessness or violence.
Some states only consider misconduct within the workplace. Others let employers fire employees for their behavior outside of work.
If theres bad blood between you and your employer, then you can argue your case at an unemployment hearing. If the judge decides against you, your last recourse is to appeal the decision and try again.
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Still Waiting For Unemployment Money This Works
Frustrated man trying to figure out why he is not getting paid his unemployment benefits.
Many Americans are still waiting to receive their unemployment checks. Having lived through this with a relative, I know how hard it is and how desperate and frustrated you can get while you wait and wait and wait. My relative, Mike, tried calling his state unemployment office, and waited 6 hours only to be disconnected as they transferred him to the person who could help him. He would try to call some days and could not even get in the queue to wait on hold. The message just said, the unemployment department has been overwhelmed with calls, try the website or call back. He felt so powerless.
One day, I listened to a radio show with state and federal legislators answering questions. Able to ask them a question on the air, I asked about the unemployment problem my relative, and many others were experiencing. My local State Representative said, call my office, and I can help you solve this issue. So Mike did just that, and they reached unemployment and got Mike connected to a lady at unemployment who solved his filing issues. Five days later, Mike got a large check for all the past-due unemployment monies due to him.
I thought most of the unpaid unemployment issues had been resolved by now, and states were doing a better job. Then two days ago, I got this email from Joe, a Baby Boomer, who is self-employed. He wrote to say: ;
You Meet Requirements For Time Worked And Wages Earned
To get unemployment, you must have worked for a certain amount of time and earned a minimum amount of money. Typically, the unemployment office looks at your employment and earning history in the previous year. Every state sets its own requirements. Check with your state to learn about its policy.
Most states also require that you were a part-time or full-time employee. If you were an independent contractor, like a freelancer, then you probably cant get benefits. Thats because your employer may not have paid unemployment taxes while you were working.
With that said, during the coronavirus pandemic, federal relief was offered to self-employed and gig workers. Although these benefits are often temporarily extended to freelancers, its wise to check with your states unemployment office for the most up-to-date information.
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Cutting Off Benefits Hasnt Fixed Perceived Labor Shortages
States that cut off benefits early have backed up their decisions with anecdotes of worker shortages to push people back to work.
But early cutoff data doesnt validate those claims. Analysis from workforce management firm UKG reported states that ended benefits in June saw half the shift growtha measure of the number of worker shifts completedin July versus states where the unemployment boost has continued.
Another report from payroll company Gusto found that employment growth was similar for states that retained the benefits versus cut them off.
The slower-than-anticipated job growth, especially in states that have ended benefits early, indicates a disconnect between the jobs available and what workers are looking for. Census Bureau data from early August showed that only 9% of unemployed individuals were in that situation because they didnt want to work.
The unemployment rate, which is known to undercount the number of jobless people, is still at 5.4% as of July.
Lifelines To Go Around
Between direct stimulus checks, an expanded Child Tax Credit, and boosted unemployment benefits, there’s been a fair amount of aid earmarked for unemployed Americans this year. We don’t know what additional aid will be available once their $300 weekly boost runs out in early September. But the good news is that the national jobless rate recently declined. So it could be that as 2021 progresses, more and more people will manage to return to work and boost their earnings that way.
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My Regular Unemployment Compensation Benefits Do Not Provide Adequate Support Given The Unprecedented Economic Challenges Caused By The Covid
Yes, depending on how your state chooses to implement the CARES Act. The new law creates the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program , which provides an additional $600 per week to individuals who are collecting regular UC and Unemployment Compensation for Ex-Servicemembers , PEUC, PUA, Extended Benefits , Short Time Compensation , Trade Readjustment Allowances , Disaster Unemployment Assistance , and payments under the Self Employment Assistance 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 and ending with weeks of unemployment ending on or before July 31, 2020.
Get Assistance With Childcare Expenses
Paying for childcare is expensive. For families in the D.C. area, where I live, the average annual cost;is $22,658. Thats absurd and, frankly, impossible to cover for many families.
If you are employed and looking for assistance with childcare expenses, the government has a program to help. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services offers assistance in the form of the Child Care and Development Fund, which has state- and territory-specific allocations to assist with care expenses .
To find funding options for your area, visit the CCDFs web page here.
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Ultimately Its Up To You To Decide Whats Best
How you choose to leave a job should ideally be a decision you weigh carefully, no matter which course you instinctually prefer.
If given the choice between resigning and being fired, employees should pause and seriously consider the benefits of a termination that dont exist with a resignation, Stygar said, who recommends consulting with an employment attorney if you have questions around severance and unemployment benefits.
Definitely dont knee-jerk and resign just to save face. Think about what you are doing. Its a business decision, Stygar said.
Broadly speaking, Milian has a different perspective. He said that if you have a choice, he believes that leaving under your own willpower is best so that you get to define your career story. But he advised that No matter what the scenario is, be proactive, not reactive.
If you are weighing the options of either being terminated or quitting on your own, you have to do the research to weigh the pros and cons of each in the context of your situation, he said. And that will determine ideally the best course of action.
Watch Out For Potential Unemployment Scams
During times of emergencies and natural disasters, the rates of scam activities increase. Its important to stay vigilant and aware of scammers who may pretend to be a government agency in order to gain access to your personal information.
Possible scams include emails, texts, phone calls, or social media messages that appear to come from the U.S. Department of Labor or your states unemployment office, asking you to verify your personal information, including your name, Social Security number, or bank account information. Scammers often also ask for up-front fees in order to process your payments or application.
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What Else Is There To Know About Unemployment Refunds
The IRS has provided some information on its website about;taxes and unemployment compensation. But we’re still unclear on the timeline for payments, which banks get direct deposits first or who to contact at the IRS if there’s a problem with your refund.;
Some states, but not all, are adopting the unemployment exemption for 2020 state income tax returns. Because some fully tax unemployment benefits and others don’t, you might have to do some digging to see if the unemployment tax break will apply to your state income taxes. This chart by the tax preparation service;H&R Block;could give some clues, along with this state-by-state guide by Kiplinger.;
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Where Do I File For Unemployment Insurance
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.
Please see the map and list below to find the contact information for your state in order to apply for Unemployment Benefits.
You Have Options For How To Receive Your Unemployment Benefits
Millions of workers have filed for unemployment insurance benefits as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. If youve lost your job or a portion of your income, you can apply for benefits through your state unemployment program, and if you qualify, you have options for how you can receive this money.
In most states, you can receive your money either on a state-issued prepaid debit card or by having it directly deposited into your own bank or credit union account or onto an existing prepaid card. In some states, receiving paper checks is also an option. While the majority of workers who are eligible for unemployment benefits have already filed as a result of COVID-19, many states will allow you to make changes to the way you receive your benefits.
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Federal Programs That Expanded Unemployment Programs Are Expiring
Federal programs that expanded and extended unemployment benefits are expiring.
The week ending Sept. 4, 2021 is the last payable week of benefits from these programs that were established with the Coronairus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act and continued under the American Rescue Plan Act:
- Pandemic Unemployment Assistance: for the self-employed, freelancers, independent contractors and others who don’t qualify for regular unemployment benefits.
- Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation : Extends benefits after you run out of regular unemployment benefits.
- Pandemic Unemployment Compensation : The extra $300 a week for all eligible claimants.
- Mixed Earners Unemployment Compensation : Provides an additional $100 per week to certain claimants who have earned at least $5,000 in net self-employment income.
If you have eligible weeks prior to Sept. 4:
- If we find that you are eligible, we will continue to process and pay benefits for weeks you;claimed through the week ending Sept. 4. Your certification for the week ending Sept. 4 will be due after that date, however, you will still be able to certify for that week on your regularly scheduled certification day and time.
If you are currently receiving PEUC benefits:
- You may be eligible for a regular unemployment claim. Login to your MiWAM account and follow the link under “Account Alerts” to reopen/file a claim.
If you have a claim pending in adjudication or appeal after Sept. 4:
What Happens If You Quit Or Get Fired
We will schedule a phone interview to discuss your claim and circumstances. If you quit, you must prove good cause for quitting. If you are fired, your employer must prove there was misconduct. Either party can disagree with the decision and file an appeal.
If you do not receive a call at your scheduled appointment time, we may have canceled your appointment because we confirmed your eligibility or resolved the issue before your interview. If your appointment has been canceled, it will no longer show in UI Online. Check UI Online for your current payment status.
I Was Furloughed By My Employer But They Have Now Reopened And Asked Me To 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 suitable employment and 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 work due to 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 and 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.