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  • Latest Relief Package: Unemployment Provisions

    The CARES Act signed into law on March 27 is aimed at providing relief in a wide range of areas in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Here's what the package offers related to unemployment benefits.

    [Editor's note: APTA welcomes comments and questions posted to PT in Motion News stories, but we cannot answer individual questions about unemployment benefits. Please visit the links listed at the bottom of this story to find answers to your questions about current unemployment provisions.]

     The recently enacted CARES Act aimed at providing relief during the COVID-19 pandemic contains some important provisions related to unemployment that include relaxing some of the qualifications to receive benefits, allowing for circumstances specifically related to the pandemic, and adding $600 to weekly benefit checks.

    Called the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program, the new provisions allow for financial assistance to individuals who wouldn't ordinarily receive unemployment benefits, such as the self-employed, independent contractors, part-time workers, and those who have already finished their unemployment benefits. This new offering is effective January 27 through December 31, 2020.

    To receive the benefit, individuals in categories that normally wouldn't qualify for benefits must prove that they can no longer work due to activity related to COVID-19. Examples include:

    • Diagnosis of COVID-19, a COVID-19 diagnosis of a member of the household, or providing care for a member of the household who has been diagnosed with COVID-19.
    • Primary caregiving responsibility for a family member who is unable to attend school or another facility that has been closed due to the national emergency.
    • Inability to work because of a quarantine imposed by the national emergency or self-quarantine advised by a health care provider.
    • Inability to begin recently gained employment or being forced to end employment as a direct result of the national emergency.

    In addition to the expanded range of individuals who may qualify for unemployment benefits, the program adds $600 per week to regular unemployment benefits for up to 39 weeks. The additional money will be provided to everyone receiving unemployment benefits.

    Individuals able to telework or receive paid sick leave are ineligible for the program. If a state has a defined workshare program or short-time compensation, the CARES Act provides additional funding to keep employees working on a reduced-hours schedule and receive prorated unemployment benefits.

    For more information visit the U.S. Department of Labor website, which includes an unemployment benefits finder by state and information on unemployment insurance relief during the COVID-19 pandemic.


    • I understand that as a new grad (I started working in January) I was previously ineligible for unemployment. With this act it looks like I am now eligible as I just got furloughed yesterday since we have not had a high enough patient load due to COVID. When I try to apply for unemployment it still won’t let me complete an application as I did not work last year. How can I sign up for unemployment as a new grad?

      Posted by Logan Meyer on 4/2/2020 5:56 PM

    • If I was scheduled to begin a new position and had given the required 30 days notice to my current employer only to find out that two weeks before my last scheduled day, the new employer has invoked a hiring freeze. Would I be eligible for this benefit if my current employer is forced to honor my original resignation?

      Posted by Devon on 4/3/2020 7:36 AM

    • I was able to sign up for unemployment but the next day I was called back into work for 2.t days before I was laid off. Originally I was told I was being sent home and to use my PTO. I would not be asked back due to the caseload being so light. I have tried to call the number since Monday to see what I need to do but I have not been able to get through due to high call volumes.

      Posted by Alisha Camp on 4/3/2020 10:16 AM

    • @Devon: We are unable to comment on your specific situation. Please refer to DOL’s resources: https://www.dol.gov/coronavirus and https://www.dol.gov/coronavirus/unemployment-insurance as well as the resources provided by your state’s unemployment agency: https://www.naswa.org/resources/coronavirus

      Posted by APTA staff on 4/4/2020 11:32 AM

    • I have been laid off due to Covid 19. My son is home due to schools shutting down for the rest of the year, state recommends shelter and place.

      Posted by Amy Cunningham on 4/5/2020 6:56 AM

    • I exhausted my unemployment in December 2019 and have not been able to find a job, I live in upstate NY. When I sign into the unemployment website I have no prompts to allow me to sign up for the extended unemployment. Is there a reason why I am unable to sign up?

      Posted by Dale Miller on 4/5/2020 12:48 PM

    • The website says I'm getting paid. I have. Ot recieved a card and am not getting benefits to the card I set up for direct deposit on the website. Can you please help me? I can not get ahold of anyone despite hours of busy signals.

      Posted by Adam Marcellus on 4/5/2020 4:09 PM

    • I have applied the unemployment benefits online and they are asking me to call in order to complete it. But I have not been able to reach them since March 22, please any help would be greatly appreciated.

      Posted by Jigme on 4/6/2020 12:46 PM

    • How do you sign up for this increase of income given? Does it get automatically considered when you file for unemployment?

      Posted by Allie on 4/7/2020 2:22 PM

    • @Dale: Under the CARES Act, states are permitted to extend unemployment benefits by up to 13 weeks under the new Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program. PEUC benefits are available for weeks of unemployment beginning after your state implements the new program and ending with weeks of unemployment ending on or before December 31, 2020. The program covers most individuals who have exhausted all rights to regular unemployment compensation under state or federal law and who are able to work, available for work, and actively seeking work as defined by state law. Importantly, the CARES Act gives states flexibility in determining whether you are “actively seeking work” if you are unable to search for work because of COVID-19, including because of illness, quarantine, or movement restrictions. In addition, if you have exhausted the 13 weeks of additional benefits available under the PEUC program, you may be eligible to continue receiving benefits under the PUA program. PUA benefits are available for a period of unemployment of up to 39 weeks, meaning that if you have exhausted regular UC and PEUC benefits in fewer than 39 weeks, you may be eligible to receive assistance under PUA for the remaining weeks within PUA’s 39 week period. For more information, please refer to the resources below: https://www.dol.gov/coronavirus/unemployment-insurance https://www.naswa.org/resources/coronavirus https://oui.doleta.gov/unemploy/extenben.asp.

      Posted by APTA staff on 4/8/2020 8:38 AM

    • @Adam: We have heard that state unemployment agencies are overwhelmed, but that states are hiring more staff to better address the spike in unemployment claim filings. Please continue to reach out to your state’s unemployment insurance office at the website or phone number provided on this page: https://www.dol.gov/coronavirus/unemployment-insurance

      Posted by APTA staff on 4/8/2020 8:38 AM

    • @Jigme: We have heard that state unemployment agencies are overwhelmed, but that states are hiring more staff to better address the spike in unemployment claim filings. Please continue to reach out to your state’s unemployment insurance office at the website or phone number provided on this page: https://www.dol.gov/coronavirus/unemployment-insurance

      Posted by APTA staff on 4/8/2020 8:39 AM

    • So, if my husband's hours were cut to 32- in our state he does not qualify for a weekly benefit, because 32 is considered "enough hours," is he disqualified from getting any of the additional $600 as well? Mind you, 32 hours seems like not a big deal, but we are losing over 600 dollars per month from this, all while his company benefits from "keeping everyone employed."

      Posted by Steph L on 4/8/2020 10:35 AM

    • Hi I need some help my unployment end on 2 /19/19 and my latest bye date is 08/18/19 could I applied for extension

      Posted by Annette fata on 4/8/2020 4:20 PM

    • How soon will the PUA system be available in Virginia. I work in childcare/school at a church and we been closed since 3/13/2020. We were told to apply for unemployment which was denied because we are now waiting on PUA by Dept of Labor...hopefully the system is available soon it what should we be look6for on website. Thank you

      Posted by Leila on 4/9/2020 2:25 PM

    • I am on Social security and had just started sending out applications for work as an independent contracting physical therapist due to financial need to work. I had not secured work when quaranteened. Can I apply for unemployment.

      Posted by Jacqueline berke on 4/9/2020 7:46 PM

    • I applied for Unemployment March 22, am I elegible for the Cares Act??

      Posted by Elva Sandoval on 4/10/2020 6:36 AM

    • I exhausted my unemployment in December of 2019. I understand that I am eligible for the extension but when I try to claim, or reopen my case I get the message, You cannot continue to file for Unemployment Insurance at this stage.Please call 732-761-2020, 201-601-4100, or 856-507-2340. If you reside out of state, please contact a Claims Agent at 888-795-6672." I have been calling for 2 weeks and get so far on the automated service, it then says I need to speak with an agent to complete this process to hold for an agent otherwise I have 10 days to complete the process. I stay on hold and after a minute or so I get disconnected. My claim expires on 4/21/20. I am worried that I will not get thru to an agent on time and will no longer qualify for the extension under the "Pandemic Unemployment Assistance" Program. Will I still be eligible for the extension of unemployment? Is there anyone I can contact or preferably speak to, toget further assistance?

      Posted by Joya on 4/10/2020 9:22 AM

    • Starting next week I will be on ny state workshare unemployment for 2 days during the week. So I will be getting a 32 hr paycheck and 2 days of workshare. Am I eligible to get the 600 dollar cares act assistance ,a portion or nothing?

      Posted by Larry Ruhland on 4/10/2020 4:56 PM

    • I received 26 weeks of unemployment benefits from the state of New Jersey last year. I exhausted the full 26 weeks on August 10, 2019. I have remained unemployed. I am trying to figure out if I will qualify for the 13 week extension of benefits. However, I can’t seem to find out how recently I would have needed to have exhausted my benefits in order to be eligible for the extension. It’s impossible to reach anyone on the phone, emails are not being replied to, and their website does not contain any specific info yet. Please let me know if you know how I can find out if I qualify. Thanks :)

      Posted by Josh on 4/10/2020 8:33 PM

    • I just qualified for unemployment on reduced hours from work will the cares act pay the extra $600 for works with reduced hours

      Posted by Jonathan on 4/10/2020 11:32 PM

    • I have an interesting question what if someone worked 4 days but earned less than $504 and say put in under 20 hours. Now I know 4 days disqualifies you from benefits of the normal rate,but do you still receive the extra 600 dollars?

      Posted by M Rosenberg on 4/11/2020 5:31 AM

    • I was approved for unemployment but denied the care aid i will not be able to afford my bills on what they are giving me $188 a werk my pay was much higher than that cant get on phone way to many people calling i thought everybody gets that extra and unemployment you get max i am in florida none of this makes any sense any suggestions

      Posted by Donna sirangelo on 4/11/2020 12:24 PM

    • I live Texas and exhausted my benefits on March 11th 2020 Do I qualify for an extension?

      Posted by Elvin Sikes on 4/11/2020 11:32 PM

    • The Democrates made the bill so the working class that they hate wont receive anything. Unless you qualify for at least $1.00 you get zero. If your state has work share and your employer participates you have hope. I however live in Louisiana which doesnt. So, my furloughed coworkers sit home making $847.00 a week while I go to work at 32 hours and cant make my car payment. Our worthless Govenor Edward's along with all the crooked reporting media refuse to respond to the citizens asking WHAT IS THE PLAN..MY CAR WONT PAY FOR ITSELF..and more than likely my hours will keep getting reduced..I have also requested Trump address this as he stated people will get 100% of their pay.

      Posted by Renee J Jones on 4/12/2020 10:58 AM

    • If u owe unemployment are u still eligible to receive Care act benefits from the government?

      Posted by Travis Lassiter on 4/12/2020 12:54 PM

    • I exhausted my benefits 09/22/2019 I believe it took 5 mos. And 3 weeks to exhaust it. I have not worked since and am a single father. I was able to file a claim April, 10th 2020 but when I called Today April 12, 2020 it tells me I have to speak with an Agent during regular business hours then disconnects me. My claim expires April 25, 2020 and I believe I'm eligible for the CARES act but now worried I wont be able to get through before my Initial claim expires.

      Posted by Corey on 4/12/2020 2:10 PM

    • I have a family member who was drawing ui in Nov 2019 is he still eligible for the 600.00

      Posted by Mary on 4/12/2020 3:31 PM

    • I'm in Illinois and my unemployment ran out this past Thursday sept 9th. Where does that leave me as far as the extra $600 a week. What do I do to receive it.

      Posted by alan adams on 4/12/2020 4:43 PM

    • it really is not hard to understand...just file for either full unemployment if u are out of work completely, if ur on reduced hours then you report your gross earnings per week and your state calculates how much you get per week in benefits. sometimes if u make more still on reduced hours over the weekly cap that you would get on unemployment then you still can't receive unemployment even for reduced hours. example would be if I grossed 500 on reduced hours and the weekly benefit from state is 450 max, then I make to much to be eligible, so I receive no state money and no 600 federal. if I made anything under 450, even if its one dollar 459 im still eligible for state benefits on reduced hours, and then im eligbible for the 600 per week as well. the 600 is distributed by your state automatically, so some states may get it sooner some might not get it at all, depends on what states are effected the most.

      Posted by tom on 4/12/2020 8:47 PM

    • My hours were reduced from 40 to 20 therefore I qualified for unemployment on reduced hours from work. Will the cares act pay the extra $600 for works with reduced hours?

      Posted by Dana on 4/13/2020 10:34 AM

    • I called VEC to file for unemployment but they said that I am not qualified for I already exhausted my unemployment benefits last November 2019. I just got a job last February 2020 and due to Covid 19 pandemic the work has been affected and closed temporarily and stop paying us as of April 5,2020 so we were told that we can file for unemployment for now as lack of work which I did but VEC said that I’m not qualified for there is no extension for Unemployment benefits for VA for workers affected by Covid 19. I did email the VA DOLI (The Virginia Department of Labor and Industry, Labor and Employment Law Division) and they just referred me back to VEC and have not heard from VEC. Here the forwarded email by VA DOLI to VEC : Hello, I have referred your email to the Virginia Employment Commission as they handle all unemployment questions. Will VA consider extending the UI benefit for people like me, please help if you can suggest who else I can contact to avail of CARE act for UI.

      Posted by Anna on 4/13/2020 12:58 PM

    • I applied for Unemployment March 22, am I elegible for the Cares Act??

      Posted by Joe on 4/13/2020 1:08 PM

    • My hours have been cut to 24 instead of 40 per week. We were advised to still claim unemployment so we can be in the system and in case workshare didnt work out. I have been filing weekly and am told I do not qualify for unemployment because I am making more than my benifit amount. Anyhow, our workshare claim was started mid March and hopefully we start receiving that this week. Do I still qualify for the $600 per week through the unemployment office if I dont qualify for unemployment but do qualify for workshare?

      Posted by Melissa Bermudez on 4/13/2020 5:50 PM

    • I’ve been unemployed for a few yrs but have records of my job search for past years. I have one letter from an employers I applied to that says they are involved in providing child care and the position I applied for would Not be available until after Pandemic is over. Am I eligible for UI under PUA? I have bank records of deposits made from work i do as self employment. Are bank statement enough.

      Posted by Joi on 4/13/2020 8:24 PM

    • I have exhausted my unemployment benefits March 1 2020. I am aware that i am able to file an extension for another 13 weeks but would like to know how to file the extension. Please respond asap by email or 412 545-4117..Steve Jaras. Pgh pa

      Posted by Steven Jaras on 4/13/2020 9:27 PM

    • I received unemployment last may but only for 6 weeks and returned to work. I was furloughed by the current employer and will return hopefully in July. I reopened my claim and there is lots of money there however it expires may/5/20. what do i do in May. Do i File an extension(how do I do that)? or Just keep requesting? Please help.

      Posted by lori927 on 4/14/2020 1:05 PM

    • I was laid off of my primary job due to COVID. However I work part time as well anywhere from 15-25 hours on top of the 40 I worked at primary. Part time is still open so I am working around 25 hours there a week to try and stay afloat. Am I still eligible for the extra $600 dollars from unemployment? Filed a claim with my state (ND) and am currently receiving small benefits

      Posted by Drew on 4/14/2020 3:55 PM

    • I filed for unemployment on 3/22/2020. Lost my job due to COVID. Will I qualify for the $600 per week additional stimulus? Where will the money come from Unemployment UI Benefits or IRS?

      Posted by Bonnie on 4/14/2020 5:45 PM

    • I have exhausted my unemployment benefits just this past Sunday. We are quarantined and it makes it impossible to get ba k to work. It was my understanding that my benefits would be ext9 for 13 weeks. What do i need to do to make sure my payments come on time cus i hav bills and i cant get behind on them.. Thnx

      Posted by Leonard Gonzales on 4/14/2020 6:52 PM

    • I applied for unemployment on March 22 2020 and I started getting money this week but how come I'm not receiving the 600 extra a wk. What I get don't even cover the rent

      Posted by Sandra henhawk on 4/14/2020 8:55 PM

    • I’m only eligible for $58 a week because I moved from one state to another because I got married. It took me time to find a job.I have a job 18/19 hrs a week for $11 an hour but we had to shut down per government In March. Is there any way I can get some kind of help from the government to help with the difference in the money

      Posted by Lorraine Bishop Mitzel on 4/14/2020 10:40 PM

    • I live in Illinois but was supposed to start a seasonal job in Missouri on march 23rd but because of COVID 19, I was told my start date was temporarily delayed until further notice. Will I be able to get Unemployment benefits for this? Do I need to file in Missouri or Illinois?

      Posted by joshua kennon on 4/15/2020 4:40 AM

    • I lost my job in January and only have a few weeks left on fla. Unemployment. I have been trying to find a job. Will l be able to get the extension for awhile If so how do l apply. I am a single grandmother raising 3 grandsons. I need to have some more help till l land a job.

      Posted by Antoinette Redding on 4/15/2020 9:35 AM

    • I am currently on Work Share. Am I eligible for the extra $600? I can't find the answer anywhere!

      Posted by RACHAEL LEE on 4/15/2020 12:35 PM

    • I want to if your denied the unemployment benefits cab you still receive the $600 from the cares act funding

      Posted by Lakechia on 4/15/2020 12:44 PM

    • I am working as security guard.i leave my job on12/26/2019,because I live with my brother ,my wife is doing a job,my sister in law take care my kids,my brother and his wife go to Pakistan.there is no body to takecare my kids so I left job.now I am available for job but due to corona vairs am not able to getting a job hou can I apply for unemployment benefits now

      Posted by SHAKEEL AKHTAR on 4/15/2020 3:01 PM

    • i just returned to work 12 15 19, exhausted benefits in april am i good 4 the 13 week ext?

      Posted by henry ritchie on 4/15/2020 3:11 PM

    • Hello..... I love in New York and I lost my job due to The Corona pandemic. My benefits are being forfeited each week due to an overpayment. I noticed I am not getting the $600 which I understood that I would. Does someone please ha e some insight or a resource to help me.

      Posted by Carrie Hutter on 4/15/2020 4:18 PM

    • Was furloughed from employer 3/30/20. Applied for & have received 1st unemployment benefits & CARES act payments. I may be asked to return to position at reduced weekly hours within next 3 weeks :). Do I continue to request weekly benefits & inform of part time hours worked until I return to regular schedule/hours? Also would I still be eligible for any benefits under CARES Act? Thank you for your time & STAY WELL:)

      Posted by D Singletary on 4/15/2020 8:00 PM

    • Live FL. I was unemployed August 28 and received 12 weeks ue benefit to end November. since then I have still not been able to get work. Now there is an extension of benefit weeks and I’m within the same benefit year can I extend my unemployment claim plus get the $600 Fed stimulus when I go online my profile I’d greeted out and stated benefits exhausted and I have written to UE but it’s 3 weeks and I haven’t heard and don’t know what to do next.

      Posted by June on 4/15/2020 9:26 PM

    • ive been on unemployment since last year on December im currently still collecting unemployment do i qualify for the extra 600 dollars thanks in advance

      Posted by Osvaldo Cuellar on 4/16/2020 3:46 AM

    • I been unemployed since December 2019 I receive a small amount of unemployment will I get the extra $600 added?

      Posted by Roneshia Patterson on 4/16/2020 7:19 AM

    • My benefits were exhausted 11/20/19. Went back to work till 3/23/20. I think I qualify for the 13 wk extension but the system wont let me file as it states my balance is 0 and my claim cant be open till 7/15/20. How do I file for the federal program of 13 weeks? Thanks

      Posted by Sharon Walsh on 4/16/2020 10:45 AM

    • My daughter got laid off about a month ago....she's now receiving unemployment (Albany, NY) - Her boss applied for the CARES ACT and texted her to tell unemployment she's back to work ......PROBLEM - she's not PHYSICALLY back to work.......... He will now pay her but she only worked 30 hrs. per week. Isn't it ILLEGAL to tell unemployment she's back to work since she's not back to work PHYSICALLY - or is this an informality by the CARES ACT and is that what her boss is supposed to do?

      Posted by Sue Panetta on 4/16/2020 2:22 PM

    • If you have questions about how unemployment benefits apply to your circumstances, please visit the websites we link to at the end of this article.

      Posted by APTA staff on 4/16/2020 2:34 PM

    • My unemployment benefits we're exhausted February 22nd 2020. Do I qualify for extended benefits and the cares Act? Currently looking for employment due to the Coronavirus I am quarantine at home. Do I qualify for extended benefits and the Cares Act?

      Posted by Shirley A Hunt on 4/16/2020 4:01 PM

    • If I was drawing before the Covid19 will i be eligible for the 600.00? I have been drawing since Feb.

      Posted by WILLIAM B CALVIN on 4/16/2020 5:52 PM

    • Any travelers, where are you applying for unemployment? The tax home state or the last state that you worked in?

      Posted by Brianna on 5/1/2020 12:22 PM

    • We are going back to work about 15 hours a week will we still get the 600 or does that end when you go back to work period

      Posted by Kelley on 5/12/2020 8:15 PM

    • I worked at my job for 24 years. I decided for a better opportunity at different job. I worked two weeks until Illinois put the stay at home order in effect because Cov19. I never had laps in not working. I was denied unemployment. I don’t understand why., I never just quit to quit. I wanted a better job for me and my family. I can appeal , this is all so confusing and disappointing

      Posted by Christine on 5/13/2020 1:17 AM

    • If I’m only working 6 hrs a week, can I get unemployment and how do I go about reporting that when I request payment?

      Posted by Cassandra Hunt on 5/22/2020 4:55 AM

    • very helpful article,thanks for published this blog.

      Posted by soundos on 5/22/2020 10:39 AM

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