Filing for Unemployment in 2020
Your Questions Answered!
Unfortunately, the US is facing a huge surge in the need for unemployment right now. This really isn’t good news for anyone – but it is especially frustrating for those who need to file for unemployment.
The increased number of filings has lead to long wait times, lack of reliable directions on how to file, and overall disorganization for everyone involved.
While every state handles unemployment slightly differently, they are all implementing systems to streamline this process. I’ve done my best to research and simplify how to file for unemployment below. Keep in mind, this is generic information and may differ where you live, so double check your state’s guidelines.
Have 2020 unemployment benefits changed since the Covid-19 crisis?
Yes – there are some new amendments to federal unemployment benefit policies which will open up the ability to apply for unemployment to those effected by the Coronavirus.
If you are unemployed due to:
- An employer temporarily ceasing operation due to Covid-19
- Being quaratined
- Leaving work to avoid exposure/to care for a family member
You qualify for unemployment benefits!
How do I qualify for unemployment benefits in 2020?
In addition to the new guidelines above, there are three general requirements an individual must meet to qualify for benefits.
- You are unemployed through no fault of your own (this is typically due to lack of available work)
- Meet work and wage requirements (these vary state to state, but all states require individuals to meet a minimum amount of time or money earned prior to unemployment to qualify for benefits)
- Must meet additional requirements in your state (these can be found one your states unemployment benefits website)
How do I apply for benefits?
This process varies from state to state, so it is best to consult the state that you were previously working in on how to apply there.
Individuals can file online or over the phone – but expect delays either way. There is a high volume of applications right now.
During the application, you’ll be required to provide personal identification information and in depth information about previous employment. Ensure you have this information handy and that the information is correct to avoid delays.
It typically takes about two to three weeks post application to begin receiving benefits. Keep this in mind when applying!
How long will my unemployment benefits last?
Most states pay benefits for a maximum of 26 weeks.
During the time you’re receiving benefits, it is important that you continue filing necessary information and report any job offers and any positions that you decline. Failure to comply with the reporting requirements can result in a loss of benefits.
How do I figure this whole process out?
I understand how confusing it can be! My favorite source is careeronestop.org. This site helps to break down unemployment state by state; but it also provides resources for finding new employment as well!
The best practice is to search your states policy and follow the directions to a ‘T’.
For instance, I visited the New York state unemployment insurance page (labor.ny.org), since that’s where I work.
On the main page, there are very specific regulations on what day of the week to apply based on last name. Phone hours are extended, which tells me they are experiencing a high volume of claims.
If I were to file, it is important that I follow directions to file on the correct day of the week to ensure timely receipt of benefits. I encourage you to do research in your own state so you can maximize your efficiency during this process.
Even if you are not currently unemployed, but you expect you may become unemployed during this current climate; it is a great practice to do your research now so that you’re prepared if you need to apply for benefits later.
I sincerely hope none of my readers need to use this article. However, since is a major issue in the US right now, I felt it was my responsibility as a consumer advocate to provide clear information on this topic.
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