In 2020 all of us have sustained a variety of hardships. If you suffered a loss of employment, you may be entitled to some form of unemployment benefit. Here are the main forms of unemployment benefits you may be eligible for and how to claim them,
What Is Unemployment Insurance?
Unemployment Insurance pays you a benefit in the event that you lose your job through no fault of your own. Benefits vary from state to state as do their eligibility guidelines. To apply for unemployment insurance, look up your state at CareerOneStop.org to find out if you are eligible and how to apply. In most cases, you should be able to call or file your application. In some states, you may be eligible for extended benefits that last 13 weeks. This option is based on unemployment levels in your state among other things. Before you apply for extended benefits you must run out of regular benefits and you must qualify according to the guidelines in your state.
Federal Unemployment Benefits
Unemployment benefits come from the state, but many states have accepted additional funding from the Federal government in light of the Coronavirus pandemic. States have provided between $235 and $1220 per week with Federal assistance. You should note that you still owe taxes on unemployment benefits. The government requires you to declare unemployment as income on your state and federal taxes. Also, the benefit you qualify for varies by state to state based on independent eligibility guidelines.
Federal education and training programs provide additional resources for the unemployed. These programs are generally free or low cost.
The Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security (C.A.R.E.S.) Act
The C.A.R.E.S. Act quickly made it through Congress this year as a rapid response to the fallout from business closures following the start of the Coronavirus pandemic. The act allowed states to provide additional aid through federal support. and allowed for 13 weeks of extended unemployment eligibility. One of the most notable outcomes of the C.A.R.E.S. Act was that it made gig workers and self-employed individuals eligible for benefits in several states.
In addition to unemployment insurance and the supplemental aid provided by. the C.A.R.E.S. Act, there are additional benefits you may qualify for if unemployed or self-employed. Five states currently offer self-employment assistance programs. Those are Mississippi, Delaware, New Hampshire, New York, and Oregon.
What is COBRA?
COBRA offers continued healthcare under group plans after a change in employment. COBRA coverage eligibility is based on COBRA’s coverage of a group plan in your employment benefits. To qualify for continued medical coverage under COBRA an event such as job loss, reduced hours, job transition, or divorce must occur and the recipient must be impacted by one of those events to be eligible under the group plan. If you are eligible for COBRA coverage you are entitled to take up to 60 days before claiming this benefit.
Another type of unemployment benefit is disability insurance. There are short and long term disability policies. Employers offer both. Short term policies generally have a maximum of two years, but an average of less than one. long term disability can last for a few years or until the disability ends. You can get disability insurance through your employer or purchase your own. Each provider has different coverage and definitions for what qualifies as a disability, so it’s important to ask a lot of questions before you buy.
In addition to the above-mentioned Disability coverage, there are also two federally funded disability programs. You can find out more about Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Insurance here.
Workers Compensation also offers medical coverage and loss of income benefits for workers who sustain injury or illness while on the job. Dependents can also claim workers’ compensation in the event of a worker’s death. There are a variety of workers’ compensation benefits for jobs in the private sector, government agencies, or extraordinarily hazardous jobs such as coal mining, and workers who deal with nuclear weapons.
If an employer discharged you from your job without merit you may be eligible for benefits under Wrongful Termination. Some states allow employers to let employees go who are not under contract for any reason or no reason at all. Other states have allowable reasons which serve as a basis for termination. If you were terminated by your employer for any reason not protected under federal or state law, you should seek legal counsel and contact your State Labor Office.
Temporary Assistance For Needy Families
TANF offers assistance to families in need after sustaining temporary difficulties. This government-funded state welfare program offers assistance with food, childcare, job training, housing, and home energy. You can apply for TANF, go to your local social services office, or call your state TANF office to get local information.
P.S. If you found this post helpful you may also like The Insider’s Guide to Getting the Most Out of National Parks as you social distance safely.