We are truly living in unprecedented times. Due to the impacts of COVID-19, unemployment claims in the United States reached an all-time high in March of 2020. If you are one of the many people facing challenges due to lost wages, business closures, or layoffs, you are not alone. Fortunately, the Federal Government is taking steps to make unemployment benefits available to those affected by these shutdowns.
We understand that determining where and how to go about filing for unemployment can be confusing, so we’ve compiled all the information you’ll need to make the process as easy and efficient as possible. With this information, you will get a better understanding of how to claim unemployment, and you will be able to focus on what matters most: the safety and well-being of your loved ones.
The Coronavirus stimulus bill, also called CARES Act, which was passed at the end of March, now makes unemployment benefits available to a greater scope of Americans who are unable to work due to COVID-19. In addition to individuals who previously qualified for unemployment, anyone who meets one or more of the following conditions can also apply for unemployment benefits:
Regardless of the circumstances that have led your needing unemployment benefits, receiving them in a timely manner is likely your top priority. Your living expenses haven’t been put on hold just because your income has been paused.
While it will take some time before you receive your first unemployment check, there are things you can do to speed up the process. This step-by-step guide will help you know what to prepare and how to apply and will get you on the road to receiving unemployment benefits:
Make sure you have all of the required documents together before you apply for unemployment benefits. Having everything ready ahead of time will help ensure that the application process goes smoothly.
The specific items needed will vary based on where you live, so you’ll want to check with your state government's website, but this is a list of the most commonly required documentation:
To reduce the spread of COVID-19, many states are either encouraging (or, at this time, only accepting) online applications. In some states, you can even apply for unemployment insurance from a mobile device. Your state’s specific web page will provide a detailed explanation of how to claim unemployment based on where you live. If you live and work in different states, you may need to file for unemployment in the state where you work.
In order to comply with most states’ unemployment guidelines, you will need to register for work after completing your unemployment application. This shows the government that you are willing to work if a job becomes available, and that you are actively seeking new employment. Your state’s unemployment website will have specific guidelines for this.
Below you will find a list of commonly asked questions regarding how to claim unemployment insurance and benefits. If you have a question that isn’t answered here, you can reach out to your state unemployment office via their website or phone.
We will also be updating this web page to provide the most current information available during these difficult times.
We understand that during these uncertain times, any amount of assistance can go a long way. Follow the steps above to ensure that you’re getting your unemployment benefits as soon as possible. Stay safe, stay healthy, and remember: we’re all in this together.