Do I Qualify For The Additional Federal Unemployment Insurance
Eligibility criteria vary from state to state, but the general rule is that you should apply if you’ve lost your job or been furloughed through no fault of your own. This would include a job lost directly or indirectly because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Last week, The Dept. of Labor, as directed by President Biden, updated its eligibility requirements allowing people who refused to return to work due to unsafe coronavirus standards. Workers will qualify for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance when it goes into effect by the end of March.
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 dont 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 To Do Now
Keep filing your certifications
- Through Sept. 4, keep filing for weeks that you want to receive benefits. If your normal certification is after Sept. 4, to be paid for that week you need to certify on your regularly scheduled day and time.
Watch for and respond to future messages
- If you are affected by the end of the Federal pandemic programs, we will send you information in your MiWAM account or by mail. Respond to any of our requests for information. Even if you have stopped claiming benefits or found a job, we might still need to contact you. If there are additional changes to your account, youll receive a notice with information about how you can meet the deadline to protest or make an appeal. Continue to check your account for the next year to assure no new claims have been filed in your name. If you suspect fraud, report the fraud or identity theft through your MiWAM account. Links can be found on the MiWAM homepage. Or you can call the fraud hotline at 866-500-0017.
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Guidance Confirms 11 Weeks Of Extra $300 Unemployment Benefit
The federal unemployment supplement, officially known as the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program , was created after Congress passed the Cares Act in March. The program provided an additional $600 per week in federal unemployment benefits, but expired on July 31, 2020. The new stimulus bill called for the program to restart at half the weekly rate and run for 11 weeks however, there was concern that because President Trump delayed signing the stimulus agreement, FPUC would only be extended for 10 weeks, essentially costing unemployed workers $300.
FPUC is reauthorized and modified to provide $300 per week to supplement benefits for weeks of unemployment beginning after December 26, 2020, and ending on or before March 14, 2021, the DOL said in a news release. The ETA released more specific guidance in the form of Unemployment Insurance Program Letter 09-21. In the UIPL, the ETA specified that in states where the week of unemployment ends on a Saturday, the first week for which FPUC must be paid at the $300 amount is the week ending January 2, 2021. Similarly, for states where the week of unemployment ends on a Sunday, the first week for which FPUC must be paid at the $300 amount is week ending January 3, 2021.
S For Those Without Eservices Accounts
Answer the eligibility questionESD will send a letter by mail and provide a phone number to call. People will reach an agent who will ask them to certify if they were unemployed or working fewer hours due to COVID-19 at any time since Feb. 2, 2020. The agents taking those calls can only help with this question.In some cases, people might not need to answer the eligibility question because they might already have done so on their application or weekly claim.
ESD approves or denies people for program
After people speak to an agent to answer the eligibility question, ESD will check to see if they have been paid unemployment benefits for the weeks ending Aug. 1, Aug. 8, and Aug. 15.
ESD will then send another letter by mail to tell people whether they are eligible to receive the $300 and for what weeks.
Payments are issued
ESD will issue payments by direct deposit or debit card. People will need to check their bank accounts to see if they received the payment.
The unemployment office will not send people another letter to tell them if payments were issued.
Payments began in early September for Idaho
Idaho has already begun making payments for the Lost Wages Assistance Program, according to an announcement from Gov. Brad Little on Sept. 1.
Unemployed workers with pending issues preventing payments will not receive the additional $300 per week if they are allowed benefits after the program has ended.
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Are There Other Relief Programs Available
Enhanced unemployment benefits are no longer available, but there are other COVID-19 relief programs that you can lean on right now for help.
- Ask your mortgage lender about COVID-19 forbearance if you own a home and cant cover your mortgage payments. The deadline to apply is Sept. 30.
- If youre struggling to pay rent, start a dialogue with your landlord and check out these rent-relief resources. Some states are still offering utility assistance, too.
- Student loan payments and interest are on pause through Jan. 31. Take advantage of these upcoming months to save any money that typically goes toward your student loans.
- If youre struggling to cover the cost of child care, you may get assistance through local and state programs.
- If you cant afford groceries, you may be able to qualify for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program , which is commonly referred to as food stamps. There are also food assistance programs specific to children, women, and seniors.
- Talk to your credit card issuers and lenders to see if you can lower your interest rate, settle your debt, or qualify for any pandemic-related relief or forbearance programs.
- You may qualify to receive Child Tax Credit payments of up to $3,600 per eligible child. Theyre intended to help parents cover the costs of raising children, but there are no restrictions on what families can do with the money. If you qualify, our favorite personal finance experts who also happen to be parents shared six ways to best use the credit.
When Do New $300 Weekly Unemployment Payments Arrive A State
Its been a few weeks since Congress passed a $900 billion stimulus package, extending federal unemployment relief programs. The coronavirus pandemic stimulus bill also included extra unemployment payments of up to $400 a week, contingent on the kind of work you do.
But depending on where you live, you may still be waiting for that benefit. Heres how to figure out if you qualify, when to expect your first paymentif youre still waiting for onehow much you can expect to get, and for how long.
The $300 extra weekly federal unemployment benefits have begun going out in most states now.
Yannik Mika for Unsplash
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How Far Back Can I Claim The Retroactive Unemployment Benefits
As discussed in this article, the new $300 FPUC payment for 2021 will only beretroactive to the start date of the new program coverage period in the same manner as previous supplementary UI benefit programs. This means that back payments for the new $300 FPUC are not payable retroactively for any week prior to December 27th, 2020 or March 14th , even if you were getting PUA and PEUC for the last several months.
Can I Still Apply For Unemployment Insurance
Each state handles and regulates its unemployment benefits differently, so whether or not you qualify for unemployment will depend on a variety of factors in your state. According to the Department of Labor, there are three general criteria to be eligible for unemployment benefits:
- Youre unemployed through no fault of your own. In most states, this means you can only receive unemployment benefits if theres a lack of available work not if you voluntarily quit or are fired from your job.
- You have to meet hour and/or wage requirements. Each state has its own guidelines for the amount wages earned or hours worked before you can qualify for unemployment.
- You meet any additional requirements in your state. Additional unemployment requirements can vary significantly depending on where you live.
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Recipients have been able to receive the $300 federal benefit on top of their regular state unemployment aid. The payment, which lasts nationwide until Sept. 6, was included in President Joe Bidens $1.9 trillion financial rescue package.
Eliminating the $300-a-week payment is one of several measures that states have taken to restrict or eliminate jobless aid and press more recipients to seek work.
Any time you take away benefits, it’s a difficult decision, but in this case, I think its absolutely the right decision, said Scott Shalley, the president and CEO of the Florida Retail Federation.
Shalley’s organization came out in support of the decision to cut the expanded federal benefit early. He says he has heard from retailers, big and small, about the challenges they are facing hiring staff.
Every day I hear from retailers, from the biggest of the big boxes to the small mainstream, to the smaller stores, and everyone is sharing in this same challenge and it is certainly not unique to one sector, Shalley said.
NBC 6 has heard from restaurant owners across South Florida having a hard time hiring enough people to meet demand.
I know a lot of restaurants are struggling to find kitchen staff. Thats one of the things besides the front of house, the back of house is extremely hard to find right now because of unemployment and stimulus checks coming through, said Jonathan Cohen with Royal Pub and Kitchen.
Is My State Processing Unemployment Back Payments
The answer is yes. All state UI agencies and departments are processing claims and will backdate your claim to when you first became unemployed, as reported by you when you enter your last day of work. You will need to generally contact them to update your unemployment date if incorrect so that they can correctly pay retroactive benefits. However states like Florida, North Dakota, Arizona and Ohio are still well behind making these retroactive payments due to IT system issues around certifying eligibility for past weeks and taking initial claims for new worker groups eligible for unemployment and the extra $600 under PUA provisions.
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Ohio Ordered To Address Appeals Of Unemployment Benefits Denials Within 21 Days
CINCINNATI Franklin County Common Pleas Judge Chris Brown has ordered Ohio to follow state law and address all appeals of unemployment benefits denials within 21 days.
William Hummel, 21, of Columbus, was one of the millions of Americans who became unemployed during the pandemic, forcing him to file for unemployment benefits.
Hummel appealed an April 5 determination that he was not eligible for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance .
Hummel says neither happened in that time frame, so he sued the state.
Throughout this pandemic, our attorneys have spoken with so many people that have found themselves in evictions, waiting to hear back on unemployment compensation benefits and pandemic unemployment assistance, said Karin Nordstrom, Hummels attorney.
Court documents show the state argued that Hummels redetermination was delayed due to the sheer volume of applications during the ongoing global pandemic.
The court determined there is no exception to the law.
It could mean the difference between evictions and putting food on the table and keeping utilities on, Nordstrom said.
According to the lawsuit filed by Hummel, his appeal was granted June 7, 59 days after his appeal.
FOX19 Now Investigates reached out to ODJFS to find out the percentage of current appeals that the agency has not responded to in 21 days.
ODJFS said they are working on getting that percentage to FOX19 NOW.
How To Get Extra $300 Unemployment Payments
For the most part, it looks like recipients do not need to do anything special to get their extra $300 in unemployment benefits. For example, Minnesota states explicitly: “Applicants do not have to do anything extra to receive LWA payments.”
However, some states are a little vague on the particulars. Below, in our state-by-state guide, we’ve marked as “unclear” the states that have not clearly said on their unemployment website if a recipient needs to do anything in order to receive the extra $300.
Our advice is to read the fine print of your state’s unemployment benefits’ webpage , and follow their instructions, to make sure you are getting the most money possible. If you are already receiving unemployment, you should absolutely continue to do the same paperwork and file claims like usual.
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What Are The Qualifications To Receive The $300 Bonus Payments
If you’ve been laid off or furloughed, you’re qualified to apply for unemployment benefits from the state where you live. Once the state approves your claim, you can apply to receive whatever state benefits you’re entitled to. Because states cover 30% to 50% of a person’s wages, there’s no single sum you could expect on a national basis.
The State’s Highest Court Will Weigh In After A County Court Sided With The State And Was Overturned By An Appeals Court
The Ohio Supreme Court will decide whether Gov. Mike DeWine had the authority to end a federal program offering $300 weekly checks to unemployed Ohioans.
The Supreme Court split 4-2 over whether to take the appeal, with Republican Justice Pat DeWine recusing himself.
His father the governor ended the $300 weekly check program in late June, saying that the program was “discouraging” people from work and that it was always intended to be temporary.
Democratic former attorney general Marc Dann filed suit on behalf of 200,000 Ohioans in July, saying DeWine didnt have that authority to end the federal program before its scheduled conclusion on Labor Day.
A Franklin County judge sided with the state, but an appeal court agreed with Dann.
Dann said in a statement: “We are confident in our legal position. We are going to file a motion to expedite briefing. The money is still available from the feds so the state should mitigate their risk by drawing the funds and paying our clients.”
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How Do The $300 Unemployment Benefits Work
Anyone getting state unemployment has been getting the federal money since the CARES Act passed in March of 2020. But the federal bonus was $600 in that original COVID-19 relief package.
That expired in July of 2020 and was replaced by a $300-a-week federal bonus. President Donald Trump signed a bill in December that extended that program through March 14, 2021.
ARPA essentially picks up where the last bill left off. As with the previous benefits, you must be unemployed because of COVID-19 and, depending on where you live, you may need to complete regular work search requirements to remain eligible.
You need to apply for the extra benefits through your states website. That has proven a challenge in many states where antiquated computer systems were overwhelmed and started wheezing like a 1988 Chrysler LeBaron with 593,842 miles on the odometer.
Those problems have been mostly resolved, though a little patience might still be called for. New applicants will need to provide income and unemployment records.
ARPA allocated $300 billion for unemployment payments, but the Labor Department warned it might take a few weeks for states to tweak their computer systems to account for the extension.
The period between March 14 and Sept. 6 spans 25 weeks. If the payments were to pick up immediately, thats $7,500 extra in federal money for individuals. ARPA also increased the maximum period of benefits from 50 weeks to 79 weeks.
How Do States Handle Unemployment Payments
Most states provide up to 26 weeks of funding, though others, such as Georgia, limited benefits to 12 weeks. On the other hand, Delaware extended benefits for up to 30 weeks.
The weekly benefit amount depends on an applicant’s gross income when employed and ranges between $300 and $600, with some exceptions. Mississippi had paid up to $235, while Massachusetts’ maximum has been $1,220. Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation from the CARES Act added an additional 13 weeks funded by the federal government, but another stimulus bill with unemployment insurance would need to pass in order to extend it further. The latest COVID-19 relief package would add another 11 weeks of PEUC.
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