Unemployment insurance provides money for people who lost their jobs, and currently anyone who qualifies gets an extra $300 a week
- Unemployment insurance is a US government program that provides money for people who have lost work.
- Under the American Rescue Plan, you can receive $300 per week in federal aid on top of state benefits.
- Unemployment insurance now covers furloughed, self-employed, and gig workers during the pandemic.
- Read more personal finance coverage »
Millions of Americans have lost work during the coronavirus pandemic. Thankfully, many of these people qualify for unemployment insurance.
Unemployment insurance is a joint state-federal government program that provides money for people who have lost their jobs. Under the American Rescue Plan that President Biden signed on March 11, people will continue to receive more money from the federal government in addition to state unemployment benefits.
How unemployment insurance works
Your benefits will vary depending on which state you live in. However, because unemployment insurance is a joint state-federal program, federal laws keep benefits fairly similar from state to state.
Under normal circumstances, you’d receive roughly half of your wages in unemployment insurance. Each state has a limit on how much you can collect in unemployment, though. You’ll get payments weekly, usually by direct deposit.
Most states allow you to receive benefits for up to 26 weeks, but if you’re still unemployed after this time period, you may qualify for an extended program.
You should receive your first check within two or three weeks of submitting your application.
Who is eligible for unemployment insurance?
Normally, there are two criteria for unemployment insurance:
- You must have lost work through no fault of your own
- You must have met your state’s requirements for wages earned or time worked
During the coronavirus pandemic, you may also qualify for unemployment insurance if you’ve experienced any of the following:
- Your work has temporarily closed due to the coronavirus
- You have been quarantined but expect to go back to work after the quarantine ends
- You have to leave work to take care of a family member
- You leave work because there’s a serious risk of exposure to the coronavirus
Furloughed workers do not usually qualify for unemployment insurance, but they do during the pandemic. Self-employed people, contracted employees, and gig workers are also now eligible for benefits through the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program.
How long do unemployment benefits last?
Under normal circumstances, most states let you collect unemployment for 26 weeks. But that period has been extended during the pandemic.
If you have unemployment through the PUA program as a self-employed, gig, or contract employee, you may be eligible for benefits for up to 79 weeks.
You can file for unemployment through the separate Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) if you don’t qualify for PUA. You can get up to 53 weeks of benefits through PEUC.
How to apply for unemployment insurance
Visit CareerOneStop.org and select your state to learn how to apply in your state. CareerOneStop is a job resource from the US Department of Labor that provides links to general unemployment insurance information, coronavirus responses, and applications for your state. You’ll have to apply through your state to receive benefits.
You may choose to call your state to apply, but due to long wait times amid the coronavirus outbreak, you can probably apply more quickly by filling out an online application.
Be ready with your bank account details, previous employer contact information, and job history for the last 18 months.
Laura Grace Tarpley is the associate editor of banking and mortgages at Personal Finance Insider, covering mortgages, refinancing, bank accounts, and bank reviews. She is also a Certified Educator in Personal Finance (CEPF). Over her four years of covering personal finance, she has written extensively about ways to save, invest, and navigate loans.
Source: Read Full Article