With the coronavirus outbreak leading to increased layoffs across industries, unemployment insurance claims are skyrocketing. The U.S. Department of Labor released the latest data on unemployment on Thursday, showing that there have been 281,000 unemployment claims this week, an increase of 70,000 compared to last week. And this information only shows the earliest wave of people whose employment has been affected by COVID-19. Additionally, The New York Times reports that the Trump administration is asking states not to provide precise unemployment numbers at this time.
Today’s UI numbers are from last week. If a worker was laid off last week and waited to apply for benefits until this week, they are not in the data. Further, the full weight of this economic shock is still ramping up as businesses realize what they are up against.— Heidi Shierholz (@hshierholz) March 19, 2020
What we know is that every day, more Americans are being laid off or struggling in employment limbo as their companies drastically cut hours or temporarily shut down operations. Should this happen to you, you may be wondering if you should file for unemployment, and whether requirements to do so have changed due to the special circumstances of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Who’s Eligible For Unemployment?
In light of COVID-19, though, the federal government has given more leeway to states. If your position has temporarily been suspended or your hours have been cut, you could be eligible for unemployment. It’s also crucial to remember that if your employer is claiming to pay you for scheduled hours, but is reducing those hours to zero, you should absolutely try filing for unemployment.
My brother got laid off yesterday from Marriott.— thot leedurr (@DocDre) March 17, 2020
He applied for unemployment; they called to check his employment status.
Marriott HR says he’s NOT laid off but on a ZERO hour schedule. So he can’t qualify for unemployment NOR does he have health insurance.
You Could Be Misclassified
Partial Unemployment Or Reduced Hours
“New York has such a system, but it's actually the worst in the country,” says Salk. “It’s very inadequate.” This is because while in most states, partial unemployment is based on wages, in New York it’s based on the number of days you worked — even if you worked just an hour a day.
How Can You Apply, And How Soon Will You Get Paid?
Some payments could be delayed due to the overload. “If you don't have a waiting week, they're supposed to get your payment within 14 days of when you first file,” Stettner says. “I would say, worst case scenario, 60% of people would still get their payments fast.”