COVID-19 Unemployment Benefits in the U.S.
- FAQ or general info: Alabama’s Department of Labor has issued an FAQ on coronavirus and unemployment benefits.
- Expanded eligibility: Alabama maintains that “unemployment benefits are available to individuals who are unemployed through no fault of their own,” however, it notes that anyone under mandatory quarantine due to “suspicion of having the coronavirus” or “ ill because of the coronavirus and unable to work,” or “those who are caring for an immediate family member who is diagnosed with COVID-19,” would be eligible for unemployment benefits.
- Waived requirements: Additionally, claimants will not have to search for other work in order to receive benefits, and the waiting week will also be waived.
- FAQ or other general info: The Connecticut Department of Labor has issued a COVID-19 FAQ for both employees and employers.
- Expanded eligibility: Furloughed employees are eligible for at least six weeks of benefits.
- Waived requirements: CDOL has suspended its work-search requirements, including the requirement that recipients of unemployment to come in person to receive one-on-one help.
- FAQ or other general info: The Delaware Department of Labor has a COVID-19 FAQ that addresses common situations.
- Expanded eligibility: Anyone quarantined will be treated like a temporary layoff.
- Waived requirements: DDOL has waived the need for medical documentation. Work search requirements are also being waived.
District of Columbia
- FAQ or other general info: The District has issued a COVID-19 scenarios and benefits document page as general guide for its residents.
- Expanded eligibility: District residents who may face work stoppage due to a quarantine or actual sickness may qualify for wage replacement.
- FAQ or other general info: The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity has distributed Reemployment Assistance COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions.
- Expanded eligibility: Individuals who may be eligible for assistance include:
- Those who are quarantined by a medical professional or a government agency,
- Those who are laid off or sent home without pay for an extended period by their employer due to COVID-19 concerns, or
- Those who are caring for an immediate family member who is diagnosed with COVID-19.
- Waived requirements: The Georgia Department of Labor announced that it is temporarily suspending its in-person requirements for services. Work search requirements are waived for all claims filed after March 14, 2020.
- FAQ or other general info: The Idaho Department of Labor hasn’t announced any changes to its UI benefits or process, but reiterated that individuals whose workplace is temporarily or permanently closed may file a claim for unemployment.
- FAQ or other general info: The Illinois Department of Employment Security has adopted emergency rules to their UI system in order to be as responsive as possible.
- Expanded eligibility: Employees may be eligible for benefits because:
- A medical professional has diagnosed employee as having COVID-19;
- The employee must stay home to care for their spouse, parent or child, whom a medical professional has diagnosed as having COVID-19
- Or because of a government-imposed or government-recommended quarantine
- Waived requirements: Under the emergency rules, individuals would not have to register with the employment service to search for work. They will be considered to be actively seeking work as long as the individual was prepared to return to his or her job as soon their employer reopened. Illinois is also waiving the 7-day waiting period for residents to apply for unemployment benefits, meaning anyone who qualifies can file and become immediately eligible.
- FAQ or other general info: Iowa Workforce Development (IWD) issued a press release detailing its assistance for employees affected by COVID-19 related layoffs.
- Expanded eligibility: Anyone laid off due to COVID-19 or required to stay home to self-isolate, care for family members or due to illness related to COVID-19, can receive unemployment benefits, provided they meet all other eligibility requirements.
- Waived requirements: Work search requirements and fact-finding interviews will be waived and claims that are filed and identified as a direct or indirect result of COVID-19 will not be charged to employers.
- Additional resources: The IWD website also has a list of temporary job opportunities.
- FAQ or other general info: The Kansas Department of Labor has distributed a COVID-19 FAQ for residents.
- Expanded eligibility: Anyone who is unemployed or working reduced hours due to COVID-19 and who has taken all necessary steps to return to work for their regular employer may be eligible for UI.
- Waived requirements: Individuals affected do not have to look for other work, and the waiting week requirement has been waived.
- Additional resources: KDOL has set up a page with COVID-19 Response Resources on its website as well.
- FAQ or other general info: The Maine Department of Labor also has a page on its website dedicated to information about COVID-19.
- Expanded eligibility: Maine passed emergency legislation to allow for more flexible unemployment benefits. It has revised eligibility to include situations that were not previously covered, including:
- An employer temporarily ceases operation due to COVID-19
- An individual is quarantined with the expectation of returning to work once the quarantine is over.
- Waived requirements: The legislation also waives the work search requirement for individuals still connected to their employer and waives the one-week waiting period so that benefits will be available sooner.
- FAQ or other general info: Massachusetts has developed a robust page of COVID-19 unemployment information.
- Expanded eligibility: Massachusetts’s Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development (EOLWD) and Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA) have filed emergency regulations that will allow people impacted by COVID-19 to collect unemployment in the following circumstances:
- The workplace is shut down and expects to reopen in four or fewer weeks. Workers must remain in contact with their employer and be available for any work their employer may have for them that they are able to do, but do not otherwise need to be looking for work.
- An employer may extend the period of the shut-down to eight weeks, and the employees will remain eligible for the longer period under the same conditions described above.
- Also, DUA may now pay unemployment benefits if a worker is quarantined due to an order by a civil authority or medical professional or leaves employment due to reasonable risk of exposure or infection or to care for a family member and does not intend to or is not allowed to return to work.
- Waived requirements: The worker does not need to provide medical documentation and need only be able and available for work. The one week waiting period for unemployment benefits is also waived.
- Expanded eligibility: Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed an executive order to temporarily expand eligibility for unemployment benefits. It will extend eligibility to:
- Workers who have an unanticipated family care responsibility, including those who have childcare responsibilities due to school closures, or those who are forced to care for loved ones who become ill.
- Workers who are sick, quarantined, or immunocompromised and who do not have access to paid family and medical leave or are laid off.
- First responders in the public health community who become ill or are quarantined due to exposure to COVID-19.
- Benefits will be increased from 20 to 26 weeks.
- The application eligibility period will be increased from 14 to 28 days
- Waived requirements: The normal in-person registration and work search requirements will be suspended.
- FAQ or other general info: Minnesota’s Department of Employment & Economic Development COVID-19 page has information for workers affected.
- Expanded eligibility: An executive order signed by Governor Tim Walz has extended unemployment benefits eligibility to persons who:
- Have been ordered to avoid contact with others by healthcare professional or health authority.
- Have been ordered not to come to their workplace due to an outbreak of a communicable disease.
- Have received notification from a school district, daycare, or other childcare provider that either classes are canceled or the applicant’s ordinary childcare is unavailable, provided that the applicant made reasonable effort to obtain other childcare and requested time off or other accommodation from the employer and no reasonable accommodation was available.
- Waived requirements: The order also waives the waiting week to give applicants access to unemployment benefits as quickly as possible.
- Expanded eligibility: The Mississippi Department of Employment Security states that workers may file a claim if:
- They are quarantined by a medical professional
- Laid off for an extended period due to COVID-19
- Have a diagnosis of COVID-19 or are caring for someone with COVID-19.
- FAQ or other general info: The Montana Department of Labor & Industry has a FAQ for both employers and employees that has up-to-date information.
- Expanded eligibility: The Department adopted temporary emergency rules to make unemployment benefits available to workers laid off due to COVID-19. Workers who must quarantine or who need to take care of a family member due to COVID-19 are also considered temporarily laid off and eligible for benefits.
- Waived requirements: The typical one week waiting period before receiving benefits.
- FAQ or other general info: Nebraska Department of Labor (NDOL) has distributed COVID-19 FAQs for employees and employers.
- Expanded eligibility: Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts has signed an executive order to loosen eligibility requirements for unemployment benefits.
- Waived requirements: The order allows the NDOL to waive the work search, unpaid waiting week, and charging employer requirements for claims filed between March 22 and May 2.
- FAQ or other general info: The Nevada Department of Employment, Training & Rehabilitation’s website has information for claimants and employers, including a COVID-19 FAQ.
- Waived requirements: Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak also announced the work search requirement and the 7-day wait period for approved unemployment insurance benefits will both be waived.
- Expanded eligibility: New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu issued three emergency orders, including Emergency Order #5 which states that individuals “who are unable to work or who have reduced hours due to the COVID-19 pandemic will have immediate access to unemployment benefits.”
This order states that NH residents in the following situations will now be eligible for state unemployment:
- If your employer temporarily closes due to COVID-19;
- Individuals that need to self-quarantine or are directed to quarantine;
- Individuals that need to care for a family member that has COVID-19 or is under quarantine;
- Individuals that need to care for a dependent because of school closures, child care facility closures or other similar types of care programs;
- Self-employed individuals that are temporarily unable to operate their business because of any of the above listed situations will also be eligible.
- Waived Requirements: The Governor has also issued an executive order that eliminates the one-week waiting period for benefits.
- Filing Process: Persons are required to file for new claims at set-times based on the first letter of their last name.
- FAQ or other general info: The New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions has a page dedicated to information for workers and employers affected by COVID-19. There’s even a video featuring the NMDWS Secretary explaining some changes.
- Expanded eligibility: Those changes are for certain workers who may be eligible for Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits if:
- Employers may lay off some or all of their workforce as a result of the impact of COVID-19; for example, a restaurant that sees a significant reduction in business due to lack of customers dining out during this time, or an event facility that cancels all events until a later date, or bus drivers who are out of work due to temporary school closures.
- Workers who are self-quarantined or directed to be quarantined, or who have immediate family who is quarantined.
- Workers who have their hours reduced as a result of COVID-19.
- FAQ or other general info: The North Carolina Division of Employment Security (DES) has a page dedicated to UI changes due to COVID-19 that includes an FAQ.
- Expanded eligibility: An executive order signed by the Governor Roy Cooper specifically addresses individuals who are out of work, had their hours reduced, or are quarantined due to COVID-19.
- Waived requirements: The executive order authorizes the Department of Commerce to waive any of the following requirements:
- The one-week waiting period to receive benefits
- The ability and availability to work
- Work search
- The actively seeking work requirement
- The “lack of work” requirement
- FAQ or other general info: The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services has an extensive Q&A on Coronavirus and Unemployment Insurance Benefits, including information on Ohio Governor Mike DeWine’s executive order that expands flexibility to receive unemployment benefits during Ohio’s emergency declaration period.
- Expanded eligibility: Unemployment benefits will be available for eligible individuals who are requested by a medical professional, local health authority, or employer to be isolated or quarantined as a consequence of COVID-19, even if they are voluntarily in isolation and quarantined, and not actually diagnosed with COVID-19.
- Waived requirements: The waiting period for eligible Ohioans to receive unemployment benefits will be waived.
- FAQ or other general info: The Oklahoma Employment Security Commission has a page dedicated to COVID-19 Unemployment Insurance FAQs and messages.
- Waived requirements: The waiting period for unemployment eligibility and work-search requirement for unemployment benefits have been waived.
- FAQ or other general info: The Pennsylvania Office of Unemployment Compensation has a page dedicated to information for Pennsylvania employees impacted by COVID-19.
- Expanded eligibility: That pages notes that individuals may be eligible for unemployment compensation benefits if:
- Your employer temporarily closes or goes out of business because of COVID-19
- Your employer reduces your hours because of COVID-19
- You have been told not to work because your employer feels you might get or spread COVID-19
- You have been told to quarantine or self-isolate, or live/work in a county under government-recommended mitigation efforts
- Waived requirements: Work search, registration and the wait week have all been suspended until further notice.
- FAQ or other general info: The Rhode Island Department of Labor & Training (DLT) has distributed a COVID-19 Workplace Fact Sheet that contains information for individuals affected.
- Waived requirements: DLT is waiving the seven-day minimum amount of time that claimants must be out of work to qualify for benefits.
- No further rule changes or legislation has been enacted at the time of this writing.
- FAQ or other general info: The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development has developed a COVID-19 FAQ page for employers and employees.
- Expanded eligibility: It includes guidance that allows individuals who are required to be quarantined to be eligible for UI benefits provided they meet the other eligibility requirements.
- Waived requirements: An executive order has suspended the one-week waiting period for benefits, as well as the reporting-to-work and work-search requirements.
- FAQ or other general info: The Texas Workforce Commission suggests filing all claims through their online portal due to higher than normal call volumes and long hold times on their tele-center phone lines. More information can be found on the page for job seekers and employees.
- Waived requirements: The one-week waiting period has been suspended and Texas workers are able to receive unemployment benefits as soon as their application is approved.
- FAQ or other general info: Details and other information can be found on the Vermont Department of Labor’s COVID-19 FAQ page.
- Expanded eligibility: Employees who have been laid off, have reduced hours, or are required to self-isolate or quit their job because of COVID-19 may be eligible for unemployment insurance.
- Waived Requirements: Executive order has waived the work search requirement for people affected by temporary business closure.
- FAQ or other general info: Information is available on the Virginia Employment Commission’s Q&A on Claims Related to Coronavirus page.
- Waived requirements: Starting March 15, 2020 Virginia has waived the one-week waiting period and weekly job-search requirements for receiving unemployment insurance benefits.
- FAQ or other general info: Visit the Employment Security Department of Washington for a full list of programs to help workers affected by COVID-19.
- Expanded eligibility: While eligibility decisions are made on a case-by-case basis, employees can find information about filing claims here. Gig workers, like rideshare drivers, may be eligible for unemployment benefits, and are encouraged to apply.
- Waived requirements: Washington Governor Jay Inslee has waged the one week waiting period for unemployment insurance benefits.
- FAQ or other general info: For more information visit Workforce West Virginia’s COVID-19 and Unemployment page.
- Expanded eligibility: West Virginia Governor Jim Justice issued an Executive Order, increasing unemployment benefits to those affected by COVID-19. Unemployment benefits will now cover those who lost their jobs, have reduced hours, or cannot work due to either a documented medical condition caused by COVID-19 or communicable disease control measures related to COVID-19.
- Waived requirements: The one-week waiting period, available work requirement, and work search requirements for West Virginia unemployment benefits have also been waived.
- FAQ or other general info: See the full list of frequently asked questions about COVID-19 and Wisconsin Unemployment Benefits at the Department of Workforce Development website.
- Expanded eligibility: An emergency rule expands eligibility to those who are isolated or quarantined due to COVID-19.
- Waived requirements: Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers issued an emergency order asking the state legislature to repeal the waiting week and work search requirements for unemployment insurance due to COVID-19.
- FAQ or other general info: The Wyoming Department of Workforce Services released information around frequently asked questions. Individuals can file an unemployment insurance claim at WYUI.wyo.gov.
- Expanded eligibility: Employees laid off due to COVID-19 may be eligible for unemployment benefits, if they meet the monetary criteria and the federal weekly eligibility criteria. Employees who have been temporarily laid off due to slower business in this time can also collect unemployment benefits without having to look for other work.
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