unemployment benefits COVID-19

COVID-19: Who Qualifies for Unemployment Benefits Under the CARES Act VIDEO

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Even if you were previously denied or ineligible you may now be entitled to receive unemployment benefits under the CARES Act.


Lynnette Khalfani Cox: Now that we’ve had tens of millions of people have to file for unemployment benefits during the coronavirus pandemic, a lot of people keep asking the question, “Do I qualify for unemployment benefits?”

Let me give you a little guidance to help you know whether or not you should reach out to your state unemployment office. For starters, understand that the $2.2 trillion CARES Act expanded eligibility for unemployment compensation in a lot of different ways.

The key thing to know though is that many people who previously were not eligible for unemployment compensation now are. This includes people like self employed individuals, gig economy workers, part timers, freelancers.

Anybody who gets a 1099, you do in fact qualify for this federal component, as well as potentially your state benefit when it comes to unemployment benefits. Now do understand as well that unemployment is a hybrid program. It’s a joint state/federal effort.

All across the country, every single requirement is different depending on the state in which you live, so you’ll have to get online, you’ll have to understand the requirements for your specific state. It’s worth noting that at a state level, the benefit is about on average 380 bucks per week.

Read: Do You Qualify for Economic Impact Payments

Again, it depends on where you live. Some states, the maximum is about $250 or so. In other states, the maximum weekly benefit is $700 or $800. On top of whatever your state benefit is, you now can get what’s called Federal Pandemic Unemployment Insurance, and that’s a special $600 per week payment that goes on top of your state benefit.

Think about it this way. If your state averages about $380, and you get $600 a week, now you’re bringing home from unemployment compensation almost $1,000 a week. Some people have been asking me, “Is it worth it? Should I try? Should I apply?”

I’m saying yes, absolutely. I know it’s difficult because the systems are crashing. It’s crazy hours to try to get to reach somebody on the phone. It’s difficult to get through. If you need this money to sustain you and your family, it’s worth it. Try, get online, read up on it, and find out whether or not you qualify. If you do, go ahead and apply.

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