Unemployment Benefits in the stimulus package are on the minds of many, during this Coronavirus pandemic.
The Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to change lives all over the globe.
Because of the global pandemic, joblessness continues to reach new heights, while people all over the country, look to find ways to pay bills and maintain a decent existence.
In this post, we will examine the unemployment benefits in the stimulus package as the country’s leaders work to help most Americans pay monthly bills and other financial obligations.
We will also provide resources for you, if you are seeking work.
CARES Act expands unemployment benefits for Americans jobless due to Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic
In late March, United States President Donald Trump signs a massive $2 trillion stimulus package into law, now called the CARES Act.
The package aims to address both the economic as well as health crisis, that the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic brings to the world.
According to data, in the last two weeks of March, about ten million Americans filed for unemployment benefits.
Now, with the CARES Act as law, the bill will allow people to get an extra $600 a week in unemployment benefits for up to four months. This is in addition to the amount they already get from the state.
Additionally, the bill also allows persons who are contract workers, or self-employed, get up to 39 weeks of unemployment benefits. This is due in part to the new Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program.
Companies that are struggling will also see relief from the CARES Act
The CARES Act also helps companies that had to close up shop due to being deemed a non-essential business.
The bill also creates a $500 billion pool for these companies, with $367 given to small businesses. The package will also give $150 billion in loans to state and local governments.
There is $100 billion that will be given to hospitals and healthcare agents.
What is Unemployment Insurance and How Do I Get it?
Unemployment insurance is or unemployment benefits, is a kind of state-provided insurance. It pays money to persons who are out of work. It also pays money to people who lose their jobs.
Every state has eligibility requirements for receiving unemployment benefits. Generally, you do not receive unemployment benefits if you quit your job or work for yourself.
In many cases, you will not quality if someone fires you.
The benefits are weekly checks mailed to a home. The benefits can also be loaded on a card, while the person can use that card like a credit or debit card.
Lots of people also get their weekly payments directly deposited in their bank accounts.
The state governments pay out the benefits, as the funds come from specific payroll taxes.
- Unemployment benefits money usually lasts for 26 weeks.
- The insurance can also be called unemployment compensation.
- Generally, if you quit your job, you may not qualify for unemployment benefits.
- Self-employed workers do not qualify for unemployment insurance funds. (But that is not the case with the CARES Act).
- The U.S. Department of Labor is head of the unemployment insurance program.
- In specialized cases, local state jurisdictions can extend the benefits beyond the 26 weeks.
- A person can work a part-time job, while getting benefits, in some cases. You have to notify the local unemployment office of your part-time job.
- Click here to read more.
Contract Works, Self-Employed to See Unemployment Benefits in Stimulus Package
In the past, if you were a contract worker, you could not get money if you did not have work.
Contract workers are also called freelancers. This is a kind of classification for people who open small businesses and offer a service to others. Some of the most common freelance jobs include:
- Writing or copy writing
- Tutoring or teaching
- Graphic designing
- Sales and marketing
- Mobile app development
- Web jobs
- Branding and development
- Construction and carpentry and more.
You may also hear the phrase “work from home” as part of a freelance worker's vocabulary.
Is the Stimulus Relief “unemployment insurance on steroids?”
With the CARES Act as law, many may have heard it as “employment insurance on steroids.” What does this mean? Where did this phrase come from?
First, due to the Coronavirus pandemic, jobless claims continue to reach new heights.
This means that the number of people filing unemployment continues to reach numbers that are so high, they have not been seen in the past.
Regarding the phrase “unemployment insurance in steroids” comes from Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. He made the statement during a speech on the Senate floor.
On March 21, 2020, before the CARES Act becomes law, Schumer takes to the senate floor and states: “We must also put workers first. That means a dramatic expansion and reform of unemployment unemployment insurance. We need unemployment insurance on steroids.”
Perhaps the coverage persons and companies will get under the CARES Act is what Schumer meant and hoped for. A wide array of people will see monies for weeks to come.
Who is covered by expanded unemployment benefits?
Under the CARES Act, you can get unemployment benefits if you are not able to work or are working reduced hours as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic.
You can also expect coverage under the CARES Act due to:
- Your workplace closed due to the pandemic.
- You were forced to quit your job due to the Coronavirus.
- You're not able to work because you area caregiver to someone whose facility is closed and you have to care for them.
- Receiving a job offer but it fell through due to the Coronavirus.
The CARES Act also extends benefits to individuals to gig workers or freelancers.
Even if you work part-time or you normally wouldn’t qualify for unemployment benefits you can benefit from the CARE Act.
How To Take Advantage Of Unemployment Benefits
Now that the CARES Act is law, if you need help, it's time to get it!
There is nothing to be embarrassed about, or shameful of.
Life happens to the best of us and we all need help a some time or another.
So, check out ways you can get the most out of your unemployment benefits.
1. You Have To Apply!
Lots of states allow you to apply for unemployment benefits online.
Due to the number of claims states are seeing, you may have to set your alarm clock and apply during “off peak” hours.
This means that you may have to apply in the very early morning hours of a new day.
2. Take advantage of training and education programs.
Once you apply and begin receiving your benefits, be sure to take advantage of any free courses or training programs.
Lots of them online. Libraries are closed during the pandemic, so you can't go there.
Be sure to sign up for programs that offer opportunities for sharpening and retooling your skills.
Many of the programs are fun and you walk away learning something new!
3. See if you can apply for a low cost or temporary health insurance plan.
You have to stay healthy in these trying times.
Lots of medical offices are offering “cyber medicine” or “tele-medicine”.
This means, you can talk to a doctor via an app or a video call and get a prescription for an ailment you have.
In many states, you can apply for low cost health insurance.
Once you get your weekly benefits, you want to stay protected.
Take note of this fact: The $600-per-week pandemic compensation will not impact your eligibility for income-based health insurance such as Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program.
Be sure to visit to call your state's unemployment agents. They are overworked but are answering your questions, no matter how difficult they find them.
They will also point you in the direction of additional assistance.
Answering Unemployment Questions In COVID-19 Pandemic – FAQ
What is unemployment insurance and how do I get it?
Unemployment insurance is a program between the federal government the states in our union. It is set up to provide money to people who are trying to get a job, but aren't able to find one. The benefit is now larger thanks to the $2.2 trillion relief package – called the CARES Act. The federal government passed it to help a record number of Americans who lost their jobs due to COVID-19 pandemic.
Be sure to visit your state's unemployment benefit site and apply.
How much unemployment will I get each week?
The maximum weekly benefit varies by each state. For example, in Florida, you can get up to $275.
In the state of New York the maximum is $504. But the cost of living is much higher in New York.
Under the new CARES Act, everyone will get an additional $600 a week until July 31.
How long will my unemployment insurance last?
Each state offers a varied amount of weeks for benefits than others.
But the CARES Act expands those weekly benefits to anyone who is still out of work when their state benefit period ends.
You will be able to get payments for an additional 13 weeks from the federal government.
I work gigs or I am a freelance worker. I am a contract worker. Can I file for unemployment benefits too?
You sure can. In the past the answer to the questions above, would have been no.
But as a self-employed individual, you qualify for unemployment benefits, thanks to the CARES Act.
Just be patient and you may have to file during the evenings or late night when most folks are sleeping or web traffic is down.
What about that stimulus bill check… how much money will I get?
If you've already filed your 2019 taxes, the IRS will look at your return, then determine your payment.
But if you didn't file your 2019 return, the IRS will go back to your 2018 return to determine your payment.
People with an adjusted gross income of $75,000 or less will be eligible for a one-time payment of up to $1,200.
For a couple or a join return, those people can expect a one-time payment of $2,400.
You will also get $500 for each qualifying child.
People with little or no tax liability can also get $1,200 or $2,400 for returns that are joint.
The payments will start to dissolve with those who earn $75,000 as an individual, or $150,000 for a joint return.
This means that the amount you get, will decease by 5% of the amount your income exceeds $75,000.
I am happy to get a bit of money. But I want to look for work. What companies are hiring right now?
Despite the massive layoffs due to the COVID-19 pandemic, lots of companies are hiring. Check them out below!
- Grocery stores– lots of grocery stores are hiring and even on the spot! Since they are deemed as essential businesses, they need help! You may even get a job on the spot as well as some bonuses to stay and stick around! Just be careful working in the toilet paper aisle!
- Restaurants – Even though no one is allowed to dine in anywhere, lots of restaurants need help filling carry-out orders. Check your local pizza places. You can deliver pizzas for a bit. Don't forget the money you can make in tips too!
- Delivery companies– Lots of delivery companies need help right now. Some may even offer you a company vehicle. Be prepared to show your driving record when you apply.
- Health companies– If you have experience in the health care field, you are needed now! Just prepare for a high-intensity and fast-paced work environment. Be sure that you can handle workign around folks who are sick and may have COVID-19. So wear a mask! We know you know to do this, but we just wanted to mention it.
- Party stores or neighborhood stores– If you live near a small neighborhood convenience store, you can probably get a job on the spot. Lots of stores are looking for help. These businesses are open during the pandemic, as they serve a population that may not have transportation. Since they are in your neighborhood, you can even walk to work.
The Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic is forcing all of us to live a different life and call it “normal”, at least for the time being.
You will get through this. Just take a breath, plan, get the help you need and know that things will get better.
We hope that we helped in some shape, form or fashion.
Stay healthy and hopeful!