Your Unemployment Benefits Guide


The COVID-19 pandemic has had an impact on everyone and there are countless businesses that have been forced to slash their overhead expenses in an effort to remain viable. As a result, millions of people have been laid off, leaving individuals and families wondering how they are going to make ends meet. This is where unemployment benefits can be helpful. When it comes to applying for and accessing unemployment benefits, there are a few key points to keep in mind.

How To Apply for Unemployment Benefits

If you are looking for unemployment benefits, you first have to make sure that you are eligible. In general, states will provide you with unemployment benefits, also called unemployment insurance, if you lose your job through no fault of your own. This includes people who have been laid off due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Every state has a different set of eligibility requirements when it comes to unemployment benefits; however, there is a helpful tool on the federal government’s website. You can view the map, select your state, and see how to apply for unemployment benefits. Some of the methods that you can use to apply for unemployment benefits include:

  • Online
  • By Phone
  • In-Person

In general, unemployment benefits are supposed to help you pay your bills until you are able to find a new job. Due to the pandemic, it might be hard to find new employment opportunities. That is why benefits have been expanded during the pandemic.

How Long Do Unemployment Benefits Last?

Usually, unemployment benefits are quantified in terms of weeks. How many weeks of unemployment benefits you might receive will vary depending on where you live. This is another benefit of using the state map tool provided by the federal government. You can take a look at your state and see what the current regulations state regarding unemployment benefits. In order to access unemployment benefits, you have to file this application in the state where your last job was located. If this is different from the state in which you live, use the state where your job was located.

Expanded Unemployment Benefits Under the CARES Act

Due to the CARES Act, unemployment benefits have been expanded. This act was put in place to cover people who might not traditionally be covered by unemployment benefits. Now, unemployment benefits are expanded to:

  • Gig workers
  • Independent contractors
  • Those who are self-employed

In addition, the typical unemployment benefits have been increased. Under the CARES Act, federal unemployment benefits were initially increased to $600 per week. While this additional benefit might have been exhausted, the good news is that there is another unemployment benefit stimulus package on the way. Furthermore, there is no need for anyone to apply separately for federal unemployment benefits. As long as you are eligible, you should be able to receive these unemployment benefits through the state in which you worked.

What Happens After Regular State Benefits Run Out?

If you have exhausted your weeks of unemployment benefits in your state and still cannot find a job, there are other tools available. The Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program covers everyone through December 31. If you are eligible for unemployment benefits in your state, then you are also eligible for the extension under this program. Once your regular state benefits run out, you will need to apply for this extension.

Unemployment Benefits Are Available

Even though the COVID-19 pandemic has hit everyone hard, there are resources available to those who are still looking for work. Both state and federal governments have put programs into place to help you make ends meet until you can find a new job. Take advantage of the unemployment benefits that are available to you through the state in which you last worked.