Friday, May 20, 2022

What Unemployment Benefits Are Available

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Amendment To The American Rescue Plan

Unemployment benefits extension available

A Senate amendment to the American Rescue Plan made $10,200 of unemployment compensation paid in 2020 tax-free at the federal level for anyone earning less than $150,000. If you filed your tax return before March 31, 2021, the IRS automatically made adjustments based on the exemption. State rules differ, so you should review your state return. Click here to see how your state’s rules align with the federal exemption.

If your unemployment insurance benefits are about to end, what happens next? Your options are limited. But if you prepare early, you can lessen the impact when benefits run out. Here are some routes to explore.

Learn About Federal Unemployment Extension Programs In Massachusetts

There was a federal unemployment extension program that was formerly active called the Emergency Unemployment Compensation . However, this program expired in 2013, and it is not presently known if EUC08 will become active again. If you want to learn more about this program, you can contact the Massachusetts labor authorities or follow developments through the national news.

For purposes of information, the EUC08 program included four stages as follows:

  • Stage 1 EUC08: 20-week maximum unemployment extension
  • Stage 2 EUC08: 14-week maximum unemployment extension
  • Stage 3 EUC08: 13-week maximum unemployment extension
  • Stage 4 EUC08: 6-week maximum unemployment extension

In general, unemployment beneficiaries who consume all of their regular unemployment benefits, do not usually have to apply for an unemployment benefits extension because the system automatically applies for them, if the beneficiary is applicable for extension. If you are approaching the end of your benefits period, contact your employment counselor to see if you are eligible to receive an unemployment extension.

Remember, these programs are only available during high unemployment periods and you cannot apply for an unemployment benefits extension in Massachusetts otherwise. If you are eligible for an unemployment extension, the government will notify you by mail.

Important Contact Information And Links

Online Applications

We strongly encourage you to utilize our online BEACON application to file your claim, which is available online 24/7.

Claimant Phone Number

  • To contact a live agent to file a new claim or inquire about an existing claim, please call 667-207-6520, toll free.
  • Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have more than doubled our Claims Center staffing and have further extended hours. Live claims agents are available from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Monday through Friday and from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on Saturday, and on Sunday from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Claimants now have the option to call us seven days a week.
  • If you call during business hours, you may provide a callback number. When an agent becomes available, the system will call the number and connect you with an agent. You may also be offered the opportunity to connect with a virtual agent to have questions answered by smartphone.

Employer and Agent Phone Number

  • The Employer Call Center will be available beginning September 21, 2020 and can be reached at 410-949-0033.
  • If you need activating your employer or agent account in BEACON, please contact the Account Activation Hotline at 410-767-8997.

Connect with IVR System to File Telecerts and More

Inquiry Form

Virtual Agent

Ombudsman Inquiry Form

To submit an inquiry and reach the UI Ombudsman, please fill out the Ombudsman Inquiry Form and e-mail it to

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Ii: Federal Reserve Policy High Employment And Inflation

As the 2009 Recovery Acts temporary fiscal stimulus measures expired with the economy still far short of full employment, the primary responsibility for nurturing the economic recovery fell to the Federal Reserve. The Fed has a dual mandate from Congress to pursue stable prices and maximum employment. In normal times, the Fed does so primarily by trying to keep interest rates at a level that balances the demand for goods and services with the economys ability to supply them, lowering interest rates to stimulate economic activity and employment when the economy falls short of maximum employment, and raising interest rates to restrain economic activity and avoid unwanted inflation in an overheating economy.

From the early 1980s until the global financial crisis and the Great Recession, the Fed has primarily used changes in its target for the federal funds rate the interest rate banks charge each other for overnight loans to influence economic activity. Changes in the federal funds rate induce changes in mortgage interest rates, other consumer interest rates, and the cost of business investment that influence households and businesses spending. By the end of 2008, however, the Fed had cut the federal funds rate essentially to zero and turned to unconventional tools, as described below, to continue to provide the stimulus to spending needed to achieve its maximum employment mandate.

Transition To Direct Deposit/paper Check Benefit Payments

Guide to Claiming Unemployment Benefits

Note: The deadline for claimants to use their debit cards is extended to Tuesday, February 1, 2022. To access funds after February 1, 2022, claimants should call the Bank of America Service Center at 855-847-2029.

Overview

TransitionTimeline

  • May 24, 2021
    • Beginning Monday, May 24, 2021, all unemployment insurance benefit payments will be made by either direct deposit or paper check to eligible claimants who have made their selection in BEACON.
    • If claimants have been issued a Bank of America UI Benefits Debit Card and cannot locate that card, they must contact the Bank of America Customer Service Center at 855-847-2029 to order a replacement by Wednesday, January 5, 2022. Replacement cards will not be issued after this date.
    • On Tuesday, February 1, 2022, Bank of America UI debit cards will be deactivated. If claimants have a balance on their debit cards after that date, they can contact the Bank of America Service Center at 855-847-2029 to access those funds in a different way.

Select Your Preferred Payment Method

For information about selecting your payment method, or to learn more about the transition, see the Direct Deposit of Benefit Payments Frequently Asked Questions.

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File A Weekly Certification

After you have filed your initial application for UC benefits or reopened an existing claim, you must file a certification for each week in which you are totally or partially unemployed.

A week for UC purposes begins on a Sunday and ends on a Saturday. The compensable week ending date is always a Saturday.

In most cases, you will file claims for weekly or every two weeks at one time. You will get paid according to when you file.

Filing can be done using the following methods:

If you are eligible for benefits, you should receive your first benefit payment within four weeks after the effective date of your application, provided you file your certifications on time.

What To Do If Your Claim Is Denied

After you file for unemployment, the state may accept your claim, and youll receive your benefits. But what if youre denied benefits or the state asks you to provide additional information? You can file an unemployment appeal and explain your situation in a hearing.

The state unemployment office will typically send you a letter that will list the date and time of your hearing. These hearings are generally conducted over the phone.

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What To Expect As The Pandemic Waxes And Wanes

    Bottom Line PersonalConsumer ReportsPrevention

      As states closed down and businesses shuttered because of COVID-19, record numbers of newly out-of-work people applied for unemployment insurance to help pay their bills. In the week ending March 28, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor announced that 6.6 million new benefit claims were filed, compared to 3.3 million the previous week.

      But in the week ending Jan. 1, 2022, the DoL reported that 207,000 workers filed for unemployment benefits in their home states. And in December 2021 the jobless rate dropped to 3.9%close to the pre-pandemic level of 3.5% in the fourth quarter of 2019. Here’s a look back at how the government helped unemployed workers survive the first two years of the pandemicplus basics on how unemployment works now.

      What Are The Massachusetts Unemployment Compensation Extension Federal Guidelines

      Federal unemployment benefits expiring in the CSRA many jobs are available

      During times when the unemployment rate remains high throughout the U.S., the United States Congress can vote to extend unemployment benefits for an additional period of time. Unemployment benefits extension programs are available through both the state and federal governments during periods of high unemployment, providing a higher level of economic security to individuals who are out of work. Extended benefits can be obtained by workers who have run through their regular unemployment insurance benefits. The basic extended benefits program allows for 13 additional weeks of unemployment benefits if a state is experiencing a period of high unemployment. Some states have also initiated a voluntary program to pay an additional seven weeks of extended benefits totaling a maximum of 20 weeks.

      Not everyone who qualifies for regular unemployment benefits qualifies for extended benefits. The weekly payment amount of extended benefits is the same as the amount the recipient receives for regular unemployment compensation.

      It is critical to note that you cannot just apply for extended benefits on any given day. An unemployment benefits extension only applies when the state of Massachusetts is experiencing very high rates of unemployment. It is only during these times that the state and federal government will activate extended benefit programs, and will mail out notifications to candidates who are eligible to receive extended benefits.

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      Hispanic/latino Unemployment Rate Reached Historic Low But Remained Higher Than White Rate

      Historically, the unemployment rate for Hispanic/Latino workers has remained between the Black and white unemployment rates in recessions and expansions, but in April 2020 it rose above both. It averaged 4.3 percent in 2019, reached an all-time low of 3.9 percent in September 2019 in data that go back to 1973 and was 4.4 percent in February 2020. Similar to the Black and white unemployment rates, it rose substantially in March and April 2020, reaching 18.9 percent in April. It was 5.2 percent in November 2021.

      How To Qualify For Unemployment Benefits In 2022

      There are a lot of factor that could influence your eligibility for unemployment benefits in 2022, with the primary determinants being earnings history and whether or not you have collected benefits in the last year.

      The weekly amount determined by states is based on earnings history, generally over the last four or five full quarters of work.

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      Growth In Purchasing Power Of Workers Wages And Benefits Has Not Kept Pace With Productivity Growth

      Productivity growth is the key to a rising material standard of living. Employers can afford to pay workers more without threatening their bottom line when their workers produce more per hour worked and when businesses can charge higher prices for the goods and services they sell. Workers enjoy a rising material standard of living when their earnings rise faster than the cost of the goods and services they buy.

      From 1948 to 1973, productivity and the real average hourly compensation of workers in the nonfarm business sector each nearly doubled, irrespective of whether inflation is measured using producer prices or consumer prices. From the mid-1970s to the mid-1990s, however, productivity growth slowed. At the same time, compensation per hour adjusted for inflation in consumer prices grew much more slowly than productivity, while compensation adjusted for inflation in producer prices grew at roughly the same rate as productivity.

      Productivity picked up considerably in the late 1990s and early 2000s but was disappointingly slow in the expansion following the Great Recession. Workers saw a brief spurt in their real compensation in the second half of the 1990s but have seen little progress since. Productivity has grown faster than compensation adjusted for producer prices since the turn of the century, indicating that producers have been able to increase their profit margins, raising capitals share of nonfarm business income at the expense of labors share.

      What Is An Offer Of Suitable Employment And How Is It Connected To Unemployment Insurance Eligibility

      How to Avoid Paying Unemployment Benefits

      Most state unemployment insurance laws include language defining suitable employment. Typically, suitable employment is connected to the previous jobs wage level, type of work, and the claimants skills.

      Refusing an offer of suitable employment without good cause will often disqualify individuals from continued eligibility for unemployment compensation.

      For example, if an individuals former employer calls the individual back to work after having temporarily laid the individual off for reasons related to COVID-19, the individual would very likely have to accept the offer to return to work, or jeopardize his or her eligibility for unemployment insurance benefits, absent some extenuating circumstance, such as if the individual tested positive for COVID-19. The job an individual held before the spread of COVID-19 will constitute, in the vast majority of cases, suitable employment for purposes of unemployment insurance eligibility.

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      Us Department Of Labor Announces New Guidance To States On Unemployment Insurance Programs

      WASHINGTON, DC The U.S. Department of Labors Employment and Training Administration has issued guidance that provides overarching implementation information about unemployment insurance provisions contained in the Continued Assistance for Unemployed Workers Act of 2020, which is part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021.

      On December 27, 2020, President Trump signed into law the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021. The guidance provides states with important information about several provisions of the law, including the extension of programs first authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act earlier this year, as well as the creation of a new UI benefit for mixed earners.

      The law extends the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program created by the CARES Act, which provides UI benefits to gig workers and others not traditionally eligible for them. Under the law, the end of the period of applicability for the PUA program extends to those weeks of unemployment ending on or before March 14, 2021. In states where the week of unemployment ends on a Sunday, the last payable week of PUA is the week ending March 14, 2021 . For individuals on PUA who have not exhausted their benefit eligibility of up to 50 weeks, the program also provides for continuing benefits for eligible individuals for weeks of unemployment through April 5, 2021. The law also strengthens documentation requirements to ensure PUA program integrity.

      • Extended Benefits

      Types Of Disability Policies

      There are two types of disability policies.

      • Short-term policies may pay for up to two years. Most last for a few months to a year.

      • Long-term policies may pay benefits for a few years or until the disability ends.

      Employers who offer coverage may provide short-term coverage, long-term coverage, or both.

      If you plan to buy your own policy, shop around and ask:

      • How long do benefits last?

      • How much money will the policy pay?

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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.

      What Can The Claimant Do If He Or She Believes A Job Offer Is Not For Suitable Employment

      More unemployment benefits available for some New Mexicans

      If a state raises an issue of failure to accept suitable employment, the state unemployment insurance agency must provide the claimant with an opportunity to provide his or her side of the story and to rebut any evidence provided to the state before making a final determination.

      Most state laws allow for refusal of suitable employment for good cause, which is defined in state law. Criteria for good cause may include, but are not limited to, the degree of risk to an individuals health, safety, and morals the individuals physical fitness, prior training, experience, and earnings the length of unemployment and prospects for securing local work in a customary occupation and the distance of the available work from the individuals residence.

      Claimants may file an appeal if they disagree with a states determination regarding suitable work. Please contact your state unemployment insurance agency for additional information.

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      How Many Weeks Of Unemployment Can Someone Get

      The individual states determine how many weeks an individual is eligible for, but the general maximum is 26 weeks. The following states currently offer less than 26 weeks: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, and South Carolina. And two states provide more: Massachusetts gives up to 30 weeks, and Montana, up to 28 weeks.

      Reopen An Existing Claim

      If you fall into one of the categories listed below, you should reopen your existing claim.

    • You established a claim for benefits within the past year, and then gained employment and stopped filing for UC benefits. If you become unemployed again, you should reopen your claim during the first week that you are unemployed again.
    • You established a claim, but you stopped filing claims because you were ill, hospitalized, or otherwise unable to work. You should reopen your claim as soon as you are able and available for work again.
    • Reopen claimss can be filed using the same methods listed above for filing an initial application for UC benefits.

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