Your State Unemployment Department Is Overwhelmed
Again according to reporting by The Washington Post, states are still behind on processing claims 14 months into the pandemic. Theyve simply been overwhelmed by volume this entire time. Not only were far more people unemployed but also people normally not eligible for benefits, such as self-employed workers, became eligible, adding to the demands on states systems.
Get Help With Your Job Search
IllinoisJobLink.com has more than 100,000 job postings and can be used to find your next employment opportunity for free. Claimants who have applied for unemployment benefits already have a username and password for the site. Log in and upload a resume today!
You can also find workforce and career services in your community through Illinois workNet.
Could Pandemic Unemployment Benefits Be Extended
While the ongoing public health crisis could “make people think twice about this cutoff of benefits,” Stettner told CNBC Make It, “people are holding out hope for that extension, but to be honest, there’s not a lot of political momentum behind it right now.”
Stettner said it’s not clear that enough lawmakers would support the continuation of jobless benefits because critics are primarily focused on whether the $300 weekly boost disincentivizes people from finding new work. While he sees little political support for continuing the $300 weekly benefit, “that doesn’t mean we have to cut off everything.”
Worker advocacy groups have called to make temporary programs such as PUA and PEUC permanent in order to address the vulnerable and marginalized workers left out of traditional unemployment insurance systems. Americans most likely to be supported through PUA and PEUC the long-term unemployed, self-employed, freelancers, gig workers, part-time workers and caregivers are also disproportionately Black, Hispanic, Asian, women and low-income earners.
Stettner added that unemployment programs have been extended before during previous recessions, including the 2008 financial crisis, when Congress ended enhanced jobless aid in December 2013.
“They’re usually kept in place several years into a recovery period,” Stettner said, “with the understanding unemployment happens fast, but reemployment takes time.”
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People Collecting Peuc May Qualify For Extended Benefits
PEUC offered additional weeks of jobless benefits to the long-term unemployed who exhausted their state’s benefits window, which averages 26 weeks but can vary.
After Labor Day, workers in some states may be eligible for continued aid by moving over to Extended Benefits, a federally funded aid program that kicks in depending on their state’s unemployment rate. EB generally offers an additional 13 to 20 weeks of jobless aid.
These benefits are currently on in nine states and Washington, D.C. However, as Andrew Stettner of The Century Foundation wrote, five states and D.C. are paying EB on the condition of it being 100% federally funded.
“As of September 6, we predict that only Alaska, Connecticut, New Jersey, and New Mexico will be able to transition exhausting PEUC recipients onto EB, but with 50% state funding,” he wrote.
If a worker already depleted their EB weeks earlier in the pandemic, they will not have any additional weeks after PEUC runs out on Labor Day.
Suspected Unemployment Benefit Fraud
Committing some form of unemployment benefit fraud can at least get your benefits suspended and even lead to fines and jail time in some cases. This can include things like understating your income on your weekly or biweekly claim, lying about how you lost your job, providing false information about yourself or not paying back overpayments promptly.
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I Receive A 1099 For The Job I Do As An Independent Contractor Am I Eligible For Regular Ui
You may be eligible for regular unemployment insurance, as a 1099 employee is not synonymous with independent contractor as defined by the Unemployment Insurance Act.In Illinois, every individual who is unemployed or underemployed should file a claim for unemployment benefits, even if they have been told they’re not covered by the states regular unemployment insurance program – because theyre an independent contractor, part of the gig economy, or for some other reason. It is possible that whoever told them they were not covered was wrong. Even if an individuals employer does not consider the worker to be covered and doesnt pay unemployment taxes on the individuals wages, the individual can qualify for regular UI benefits if IDES determines he or she is covered under Illinois law. An employers failure to contribute to the unemployment system will not impact a claimants eligibility for benefits.
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.
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.
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.
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How To File An Unemployment Appeal
When your claim is denied, you should be provided with the reason for the denial and information on the appeal process.
The information contained in this article is not legal advice and is not a substitute for such advice. State and federal laws change frequently, and the information in this article may not reflect your own states laws or the most recent changes to the law.
Answers To Common Questions About Existing Claims
Here are answers to some of the most commonly asked questions we get from claimants.
If you need more help, visit the pages linked from the “Additional information and resources” section.
1. My benefit year is ending. What should I do next?
Its not a glitch, so do not open a new claim.
Heres how it works:
WE REVIEW YOUR CLAIM. Your unemployment claim remains valid for one year from the date it is filed, unless you exhaust benefits sooner. Federal law requires a review for new wages after one year.*
IF YOU EARNED SUFFICIENT WAGES: If you earned at least $220/week for 20 or more weeks,or $11,000 total, during the base year, which is the first four of the prior five quarters before you filed your claim, a new claim will be filed on your behalf.
IF YOU DID NOT EARN SUFFICIENT WAGES: If you did not work during the base year, or your earnings did not meet the threshold, you will continue collecting benefits on your existing claim .
BENEFITS CONTINUE: Continue to certify for weekly benefits according to the latest schedule.
*Please be aware some claims will require manual review before processing.
2. What does it mean if my claim is pending, or not payable at this time?
CLAIM NOT PAYABLE AT THIS TIME – CONTACT THE REGIONAL CALL CENTERThis could mean one of a few things:
3. What if I see a message to contact the call center or speak to an agent?
4. My claim shows $0 in the WBR amount.
5. How can I reset my PIN or password?
To request a new PIN, .
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Other Weird Things About Unemployment Benefits This Month
Some of you received a letter from the Department of Labor about overpayments. Heres what to do about that.
Last year, the DOL erroneously sent out duplicate payments to an unknown number of New Yorkers, through no fault of those receiving the benefits. But now, since it was federal money lost in the mixup, the law requires that the DOL try to get it back.
If you are one of these people, the DOL would have notified you about the overpayment through email, text and a letter earlier this month. If you dont take action, the DOL can reduce your weekly benefits by a certain percentage until the money is recovered.
You have two other options:
- If you dont think the overpayment letter is correct, meaning you did not receive an extra payment from the DOL, then you can request a hearing to dispute the claim.
- If its correct, meaning you received the payment but it wasnt your fault, then you can apply for waiver for financial hardship. If you request a waiver within 30 days of being notified about the overpayment and are approved, you dont have to pay it, according to DOL officials.
Salk from Legal Services NYC said: Theres no risk in doing it as long as youre truthful.
You should have received instructions to request a hearing or a waiver in your email. If you didnt, you can message the DOL through your ny.gov account.
Taxes! You still have to pay New York State taxes on your unemployment benefits even those the feds waived. Heres what that means.
People Collecting Pua Lose All Jobless Aid
People on PUA don’t qualify for any other type of unemployment insurance. During the pandemic, this program supported people who couldn’t work due to child- or dependent-care needs, as well as the self-employed, freelancers, gig workers and part-time workers.
As of Sept. 6, these recipients will not have another safety net to recover lost wages.
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What Affects Your Weekly Unemployment Benefits
To qualify for Unemployment Insurance benefits, each week, you must be:
- Physically able to work
- Available to work
- Actively looking for work
You may also be required to register with a Career Center to complete mandatory seminars to stay eligible for unemployment benefits.
If you physically cant work, arent available to work, or arent looking for work, we will send you a questionnaire and place your benefits on hold. Your benefits will stay on hold until you are determined to be eligible again based on the information you provided on your questionnaire. If you are disqualified from receiving benefits, you may file an appeal.
How To Stop Your Work Registration
You can continue searching for jobs in WorkInTexas.com even if you stop your claim or get a full-time job.
Once you get a full-time job, notify Workforce Solutions of your new employer’s name and your start date in one of the following ways:
- Go to www.WorkInTexas.com and send a message to staff from your Message Center.
- Contact your nearest Workforce Solutions office in person or on the telephone to share your good news.
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How Do I Apply For Unemployment Benefits
First, select your state in the Unemployment Benefits Finder, and follow the links to find details of your state’s program. You’ll see information about how to file in your state.
Scam alert: CareerOneStop has been notified of a fraudulent use of the name CareerOneStop in messages and emails asking users to pay money to file for unemployment benefits or apply for a job. Please note that CareerOneStop will never charge a fee to provide information or file an application for benefits.
What If The Person I Talk To Can’t Answer My Question
Even once you reach someone in the unemployment office, it’s possible they will not have the answers to the questions you are asking. Don’t give up.
If you can’t get the answer you want, Shahrzad Arasteh, the founder of Career Consulting Services, recommends asking to speak with a supervisor or someone who reviews cases. If the supervisor is not there, leave your number and ask that they call you back. If you don’t hear from them in a day or two, call the unemployment office again. It may also be a good idea to ask an employee there when the supervisor will be in next so you can wait or call back at a better time.
If you still can’t get the answers you’re looking for, Arasteh suggests getting in touch with someone at your state’s department of labor, explaining your issue, and asking for help.
The unemployment benefits claims process can be frustrating at a time when more frustration is the last thing you need in your life. But patience and persistence will pay offliterally.
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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:
What If I Go Back To Work
- When you return to full-time work or want to stop requesting benefit payments for any reason, make your final request and then stop requesting. No notification is needed.
- If you start work at your new job in the middle of a week, report your hours worked and your earnings for the week, even if you haven’t been paid yet. You may be eligible to receive a partial benefit payment.
- Remember to report your hours worked and earnings for the week, even if you haven’t been paid yet.
- Make sure to keep your password and unemployment debit card in a safe place in case you need to start requesting benefits again.
- Keep the address on your account up-to-date for at least four years after your last request for a benefit payment. Even after you stop requesting benefits, your account may be audited or we may need to contact you for other reasons. If we can’t reach you, audit findings will be made without your input and you will be responsible for any overpayments that might result.
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Dispute Over Reason For Unemployment
You might find your unemployment benefits suspended if your employer presents evidence that your separation didn’t qualify or if your state finds you otherwise ineligible. To receive unemployment benefits, your job loss or reduction needs to be of no fault of yours, and this can include general company layoffs and reduced hours due to slow business. While state procedures vary, they’ve often expanded eligibility for COVID-19 causes such as needing to quarantine or care for family members due to school closures or illness.
You usually won’t get to receive benefits if you’ve gotten fired due to misconduct or simply quit your job for no reason. You’d likely need to prove that you had no choice but to quit due to issues like harassment, discrimination, poor work conditions or a health condition that limits the roles you can work. If you were fired, you’d have to show that a “just cause” such as poor work performance or attendance wasn’t the reason. Otherwise, you could lose benefits.