Contact Your State Unemployment Office
In most cases, it can be valuable to get through to your state unemployment office and speak with a representative. They can help you identify any pain points in your application and perhaps speed up the process for you, though some filers have been having trouble getting through to speak with an agent amid massive job loss nationwide.
If youre still waiting on an approval, it might also be worth a shot to reach out and see if they can review your application while youre on the phone. That might help you obtain those extra benefits, depending on what state you live in, before they run out.
For those who are still struggling to receive payments, they should do their best to get in touch with a real person in the agency responsible to understand the source of the bottleneck, Hamrick says. If that effort isnt successful, contact a local or state elected official to ask for their assistance to try to break through the logjam.
Who Lost Federal Unemployment Benefits On Labor Day
At the very start of the pandemic, the March 2020 CARES Act established temporary federal unemployment aid programs, and the American Rescue Plan in March 2021 extended those benefits to Labor Day. Here’s who was affected by the programs’ expiration, according to a detailed analysis of Labor Department data by the Century Foundation.
More than 3 million additional people lost Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, the weekly bonus — initially $600, then $300 — that helped out-of-work Americans supplement benefits and recover some lost wages. If you’re still eligible to collect state unemployment insurance , you’ll continue to receive some compensation after the cutoff. But the amount will be lower without the weekly $300 bonus.
Some 3.3 million people lost all their Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation, or PEUC, which extended aid to those who had already exhausted their state’s benefits period . This category includes workers who would have no longer been eligible to receive unemployment because they passed their state’s benefit window. The program provided up to 53 weeks of additional aid for those who had exceeded state allowances.
That’s not the full picture of everyone affected by unemployment. Reported jobless rates generally don’t account for those who have left the labor force entirely and are no longer counted as looking for work, such as the long-term unemployed.
Policy Basics: How Many Weeks Of Unemployment Compensation Are Available
Workers in most states are eligible for up to 26 weeks of benefits from the regular state-funded unemployment compensation program, although nine states provide fewer weeks, and two provide more. Extended Benefits are triggered on in three states. Additional weeks of pandemic federal benefits ended in all states on September 6, 2021.
The federal-state unemployment insurance system helps many people who have lost their jobs by temporarily replacing part of their wages. Under certain circumstances, unemployed workers who exhaust their regular state-funded unemployment benefits before they can find work can receive additional weeks of benefits.
Under the CARES Act responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, all states received access to federal funding to provide additional weeks of Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Assistance benefits to people who exhausted their regular state benefits, and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance to many others who lost their jobs through no fault of their own but who were not normally eligible for UI in their state. These and other pandemic-related emergency UI programs ended nationwide the first weekend of September 2021, but many states stopped providing these federal benefits before that.
The map below shows the maximum number of weeks of regular plus EB benefits that are currently available in each state.
The two states providing more than the 26-week maximum are:
The states providing fewer than the standard 26-week maximum include:
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Federal Benefits Ending September 4
Effective September 4, 2021, in accordance with federal law, several federal unemployment benefits offered through the American Rescue Plan Act will expire.Benefits will end for claimants who are currently receiving the following:
- Pandemic Unemployment Assistance
- UA covers individuals who were not eligible for regular UI benefits. This included self-employed individuals, independent contractors, and gig economy workers.
Under federal law, no PUA, PEUC, FPUC, or MEUC payments may be made after the week ending September 4 regardless of the claimants balance at the time of program termination. The amount claimants will receive as part of their weekly unemployment benefits after September 4 will be impacted by these changes from the federal government. The benefit amount in D.C., based on eligibility and wage information submitted to DOES, can range from $50 to $444 per week. Claimants can estimate their weekly benefit amount by visiting DCNetworks.org and clicking Estimate Your Benefits.
How Much Are Unemployment Benefits In My State
There isnt a universal amount for unemployment benefits in the U.S. each state uses its own formula. You wont know how much you will receive from your state until after you apply. Typically, the amount you receive in unemployment aid is based on a percentage of your previous 12 months of income. Theres a maximum weekly benefit amount, so you will default to the maximum amount if your weekly payout from your most recent job is larger than that. Unemployment benefits are taxed as if they are wages. Depending on where you live, you may also have to pay state income taxes on your unemployment benefits.
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You Havent Clicked Yourself As Certified To Work
One of the simplest reasons why your payment might be delayed every week before you start receiving your benefits, you have to certify yourself as able and ready to work if a position were to be offered to you.
In most states, you have to complete these steps, so your state unemployment office can process your weekly payment without a delay.
Responds: Why Did My Unemployment Benefits Suddenly End
PROVIDENCE, R.I. A North Providence woman said shes been collecting unemployment since the onset of the pandemic when suddenly her claim came to an end.
Unsure of what to do next, Kerri Simmons decided to contact 12 Responds.
I lost my job in no fault of my own. I didnt expect to have these issues, she said.
Simmons said she worked at a jewelry store for three decades, but when the pandemic hit, she was temporarily furloughed.
Then, in the summer, she was permanently let go.
You dont know whats going to happen from one day to the next, Simmons added.
Simmons said shes been collecting unemployment since March of last year, when she recently ran into a problem and her benefits came to an end.
The Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training said if an individual receives the following message, it means that person is on regular unemployment insurance and have passed their Benefit Year End date.
IMPORTANT: Unemployment claims last for one year, and you have passed your Benefit Year Ending date. If you are in need of assistance after this week, you need to file a new application to have your eligibility re-determined. Please visit dlt.ri.gov/bye for more information.
The DLT spokesperson said if you have Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, that program has been extended through September 4, so you should continue to recertify each week.
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You Made A Mistake On Your Claim
If youre filing for the first time, or the claim forms have changed, or your states filing system has changed, then its easy to make a mistake on your unemployment application. Unfortunately, sometimes the smallest thing, such as failing to check a box, can keep your claim from being automatically approved. Instead, it will end up in a long queue of claims that need a human to review them.
Here are some of the mistakes that people make when filing for unemployment.
You Might Not Have Provided The Right Payment Profile
Perhaps your delay is as simple as not providing a preferred payment method for your weekly benefit. When you first apply for benefits, youre also asked to provide information about your bank, including your routing and account numbers for direct deposit.
Labor Department officials have said that having a bank account on file can speed the process, but thats not possible for the near 25 percent of U.S. households who are either unbanked or underbanked. In those instances, your state department might be preparing a debit card or prepaid card that you can specifically use to access your benefits, but thats only going to take time.
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I Am Receiving Wages From An Employer And I Also Have A Side Business Where I Am An Independent Contractor I Lost All Of My Independent Contractor Work But I Am Still Receiving Some Wages From My Employer Am I Eligible For Benefits
The fact that you lost either your side business or a part time job does not make you unemployed if you are still working full time or are earning more than your weekly benefit amount . If you are not employed full time but are still receiving some wages from your employer, you may be eligible to receive benefits if the wages earned from your employer are less than your weekly benefit amount . Since you have no work as an independent contractor, then you have no earnings outside of your wages with your employer to reduce the benefits that you may be eligible for.
Why Did The Extra Unemployment And Stimulus Checks Stop
As the pandemic and recession drag on, American families are wondering when and how theyre going to get more financial relief. Meanwhile, lawmakers have been trying for months to agree on a new stimulus package, but political complications continue to delay the deal.
The enhanced unemployment checks that many families were relying on$600 per week on top of standard state benefits, as part of the CARES Actexpired at the end of July, and its been months since the first and only round of stimulus checks. But the need for support has not expired: A recent NPR poll found that more than half of families in the countrys four largest cities are struggling to pay bills and access medical care.
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You Accidentally Answered A Question Incorrectly
According to reporting by ABC7 News in San Francisco, a confusingly worded question that many people answered incorrectly caused their California unemployment payments to get stuck on pending for weeks. The question asked people who were recertifying their qualification for benefits if there was any reason besides sickness or injury that they couldnt work.
Many people answered yes, because the pandemic was the reason they were out of work, but the system was set up assuming that people would answer no even if the pandemic was causing their unemployment. Their applications then got categorized as requiring an interview with an unemployment department representative, creating delays that can take weeks to resolve.
You Might Not Have Answered A New Application Question Correctly
Trumps executive order didnt just create an entirely new pool of money for state UI administrators, but it also added an additional step to the application: Individuals must certify that the coronavirus pandemic is the underlying reason why theyre either fully or partially unemployed.
Thats proven to be quite tricky for applicants. Wary about answering questions wrong, many Americans mark no, even if their job or income disruption is in some way related to the pandemic. And if you fall into this category, you might technically be receiving a reduced weekly benefit. But it wouldnt be the full amount granted through Trumps executive order.
I would argue that anyone unemployed right now is unemployed because of the pandemic, Evermore says. People are getting the question with no context, so they dont even know whether to answer yes to this question. If states were clear about why they were asking that would be helpful too.
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What If I’m Unemployed Again
If you dont remember your password, select the Forgot your password link. If you enter the wrong password too many times, you will be locked out of your account. For security reasons, the only way to have your account unlocked is to call our Customer Service Center. A new temporary password will be mailed to you after you talk with a representative.
Once you log in to your account, you may have a few different options available to you.
- You may have the option to request benefit payments.
- Complete any available payment requests before you reactivate your existing unemployment account or apply for a new unemployment account.
- Some of the available payment requests may be for weeks that you worked.
- Make sure you accurately report any hours you worked or income you received.
Your Unemployment Department Is Still Verifying Your Bank Account
Once youre sure that your direct deposit information is correct, you may still have to wait a couple of weeks to start getting your payments while your unemployment department verifies your bank account. In Massachusetts, for example, this process takes nine business days. During that time, the department puts your benefits on hold, and you dont get paid.
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This Spring I Received A Letter From Ides Indicating I Had Transitioned To A New Benefit Year I Have Been Unemployed Since April 2020 Since Federal Programs Have Ended How Does This Effect My Federal Benefit Payments
If you had not worked and earned at least three times your weekly benefit amount since the beginning of your first benefit year , your benefits were transitioned to a federal extension. All federal programs ended on September 4, 2021, so that was the last week of benefits payable to you. You might have also automatically been eligible for one week of extended benefits.
If Your Benefits Are Granted
Even if you are initially found eligible for benefits, the state may later decide to deny your claim if it finds that you are no longer able, available, and actively seeking work. Employees must meet these ongoing requuirements to continue collecting benefits. An employee who isn’t looking for a job — or couldn’t take one if it was offered — won’t be eligible for benefits. For more information, see Who Is Eligible for Unemployment?
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Can I Still Receive Regular Unemployment Benefits
Outside of the dates listed above, unemployment benefits offered by states will remain unchanged. This means if you are still eligible for unemployment benefits after any of the specific CARES Act provisions expire, you should still be able to collect benefits from your state.
If your normal state benefits run out, you should be able to access additional weekly benefits through the PEUC program until it expires.
What Is Unemployment Insurance
Unemployment insurance provides compensation to workers who lose their job. Typically, this means being laid off for lack of work, not quitting.
Monetary payments are provided for a specific period of time or until the worker is hired for a new job.
Each state has its own eligibility guidelines for unemployment insurance benefits. These usually include an earnings threshold and a time-worked requirement. In most states, workers who were employed for the first four of the last five calendar quarters meet the requirements for time worked.
You can find information on collecting unemployment benefits and filing a claim on your state’s unemployment website. The U.S. Department of Labors CareerOneStop provides a list of state unemployment benefit programs.
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What Could Be Holding Up Your Payments
When youve reached a year on your unemployment claim, some people can just keep recertifying every week on their existing claim while others need to file a new claim. According to the DOL, you should have gotten an email or text message with instructions about what to do, and a DocuSign form to fill out. Thats the first tip.
1. Fill out the DocuSign form.
Whether you need to file a new claim or not, everyone needs to fill out the DocuSign form to continue receiving benefits. This is not the same thing as filing a new claim.
2. Triple check to make sure you dont need to file a new claim.
If you are receiving Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, or PUA, you can just keep recertifying and dont need to file a new claim. But if you are collecting traditional unemployment insurance , you may need to.
You need to file a new claim if you have made more than 10 times your weekly benefit in total over the last year from an employer.
For example, if your weekly benefit amount is $150, then 10 times that is $1,500. So, if youve gone back to work even temporarily and have made at least $1,500 in total in the span of the year when your claim has been open, then you need to file a new claim when you reach your BYE date. Once again, this means $1,500 in total, not just in one week.
This DOL fact sheet may be helpful.
Important note: New claims can take two to three weeks to process, and your payments may get backed up.
3. Do you need to verify your identity?