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The emergency coronavirus benefits provided to many Americans will come to a halt at the end of July. One of the relief measures came to an end on July 25 or 26 is the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), commonly known as the $600 weekly unemployment benefit announced under the CARES Act, depending on each state’s rules and regulations.

Traditionally, regular Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits provided by the state aim to recover an amount that is half of a worker’s wages on average. The average unemployment compensation paid out by the Labor departments of the states was $333 per week, where Oklahoma was provided as low as $101, and Massachusetts was provided $531. US workers’ median weekly wages as a whole population group were $1002 in the second quarter of this year.

To ensure that workers have enough to tide out the pandemic, they were eligible for an additional $600 every week. This additional amount is added to the regular Unemployment Insurance payment.

Importance Of $600 Weekly Unemployment Benefit 

In these times of job losses, $600 of additional benefits help Americans survive on essential items and use the money to search for other forms of livelihood. Americans who fall under the low-income category especially tend to use such extra unemployment benefits to purchase essential commodities and stock goods like groceries, cleaning supplies, etc. 

For most low-wage Americans, the $600 weekly relief measure has helped them immensely. Some were able to earn much more than their previous jobs paid. With the help of the unemployment pay and the one-time-stimulus check, many can afford medical assistance. 

Many Americans also convert their mileage points and purchase commodities from online stores. To sustain themselves, some purchased used cars to look for alternative job opportunities from surrounding areas. Such people are very grateful that they can be financially stable and can give back to the community.  

The continuation of FPUC benefits can be beneficial now. Curtailing the $600 weekly benefits in states with the lowest provision of unemployment benefits can have severe repercussions, as in the case of Mississippi. It has the lowest average weekly unemployment benefit when compared to the rest of the states. A Mississippian worker’s benefits will drop from about $812 per week to $212, a nearly 75% decline. The worker will have a hard time surviving during this pandemic crisis. 

Besides helping individuals, the $600 weekly unemployment benefit could contribute to reviving the now ailing economy in the long run. According to economists, the $600 weekly unemployment relief will bring the US economy to stability. Wayne Vroman, an economist from Urban Institute, said that “It could go a long distance in stabilizing American household income and help to maintain purchasing power for the consumer sector of the economy.” 

Michele Evermore said,” Americans might think that if they have a job, they won’t be affected when the $600 weekly benefit expires. But when 30 million won’t be having any access to the benefit, that is when the multiplier effect will be shown in the economy. “

For Those Who Go Back To Work, Are Their Earnings Enough?

Some people have managed to retain their jobs, but are working for lesser hours. 

Their salary had been proportionately reduced for the reduced number of hours and simultaneously received a partial unemployment benefit of $130 every week. Such workers say that even with a job and partial unemployment benefits, they make far less money than when working full-time. 

They also mention that without the $600 weekly benefit, they wouldn’t know what to do. Most laid-off workers try searching for other job opportunities, but the situation is unfortunate, with a scarcity of jobs everywhere. 

Since low-wage workers have very little income, they are forced to reduce their spending, including housing. Most of them paid house rent but are anxious about their future once the moratoriums on evictions end of August. 

Does Everyone Who Is Eligible Get Unemployment Aid?

Many people who are eligible for unemployment aid do not apply for it, and even if they apply, they do not receive the payments on time. According to The Century Foundation, only 33 million claims out of 18.8 million were paid by May. 

Many Americans had tried for the FPUC in April, but they had still not received any benefit even three months later. They, along with their family members, were eligible to receive the benefits but have received no response from the concerned department.

Many initial hiccups were ironed out of the system, with the government hiring people to manage the additional load of new applicants and upgrading the technology. However, many people have remained outside the protection of the system, and appeals hearings are pending.

Conclusion

The $600 weekly unemployment benefit is crucial for most Americans, whether they have a job with reduced hours. With its expiry this July, most Americans would have a hard time surviving. Most Americans are very apprehensive about their future since many small businesses have not survived the pandemic.

On the other hand, some critics point out that the excess amount received from this relief measure will dissuade employees from returning to their jobs. The only solution to this is a complete economic recovery.

The Coronavirus pandemic has taken the United States by storm. Virginia is one of the states worst hit by both the pandemic and pandemic-induced economic shutdown. According to the reports, more than 600,000 Virginians have lost their jobs since March 2020. As tough it is to lose a job, people struggle to collect unemployment benefits, especially under the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program. 

To help people with the process, the Virginia Employment Commission (VEC) has recently launched an online portal. In this article we’ll guide you on the online portal, but before that, let us quickly look at the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation in Virginia. 

Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation in Virginia

The Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation in Virginia is a federal program announced under the CARES Act in March 2020. It offers an additional 13 weeks of Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits. The weekly PEUC benefit amount will be the same as that received under the traditional/regular unemployment benefits program.

Benefits under the PEUC program is given only to those who meet the eligibility criteria. Some of the requirements include:

  • The individual must have exhausted all benefits received under the regular unemployment program under the state or federal law that ended after or on July 2019
  • The individual must be capable of taking a job, available to work, and should actively look for work 
  • The individual should certify that he or she is not collecting unemployment benefits with respect under any other Unemployment Compensation law of Canada

Facts About PEUC Program-

  • The first payable week under PEUC program is the week that starts on March 29, 2020, and ends on April 4, 2020
  • The PEUC benefits are taxable
  • The last payable week of PEUC benefits is the week that ends on December 26, 2020

Online Portal For PEUC Program

The Virginia Employment Compensation has witnessed a surge in the number of unemployment claims. Since March, the total claims filed is more than that the Department received throughout 2 years of the Great Recession. The considerable amount of claims has burdened the authorities at VEC, making it challenging for them to process claims in addition to slowing down the VEC website. 

To address these issues, the Employment Commission has taken several steps, such as adding more workforce, updating phone lines, and launching an online portal. 

The link to the online portal is available on the Virginia Employment Commission website. You can apply for PEUC through the newly launched online portal or by calling 1-866-832-2363. Note that due to heavy call volumes, you may experience a longer waiting period. Therefore, we would suggest you apply online.

Why The Claim Gets Denied? 

According to Fogg, the communication manager at VEC, several aspects can lead to denial of unemployment claims. Some of the reasons include not filing their weekly certification, submission of incorrect or partially filled application, not available or being able for work, failing drug tests, or not taking up an offer for suitable employment.

He added, “There may be some valid reasons people refuse work like the applicant has some health issues or is giving child care. In such a scenario, the applicants must appeal, but this process may take some time.” Your benefits will be stopped until your unemployment appeal is heard, and a decision is made,” stated Fogg. 

Further, he said, “If your employer wants you to return to work, go back.” This is because a link is added to the VEC website, which will help employers to report if their employees fail to return to work.

“If you were asked to return to work but refused to go back, your benefits would be stopped until authorities have reviewed your case to determine if there was any good cause,” said Fogg. 

Applying For Regular Unemployment Benefits In Virginia

As said earlier, you have to exhaust your regular unemployment benefits to qualify for the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation in Virginia. If you are unemployed but haven’t applied for the traditional benefits, apply for now one. 

To apply for regular unemployment benefits, visit the Virginia Employment Compensation website, and choose the relevant option. While applying, you will be required to enter several details like:

  • Your name
  • Address 
  • Contact information
  • Name of your recent employer
  • Dates of employment 
  • Reason for leaving the job
  • Work search reports

You can also apply by calling the VEC Customer Contact Center at 1-866-832-2363. The Customer Contact Center will be open Monday – Friday, 8:15 AM to 4:30 PM, and will be closed on state holidays. 

While filing a claim, you will be asked to choose the mode of payment. You can choose either a debit card or direct deposit. For direct deposit, you have to provide routing numbers and bank account details.  

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for regular unemployment benefits, you must meet several requirements. They include:

  • You have lost through no fault of your own
  • You are able, available, or actively looking for work
  • You must have minimum wages before being unemployed

Monetary Requirements

Like every other state, your work history and wages will be considered while processing your application. The unemployment payment and the period (i.e., 12 to 26 weeks) will be decided based on your gross wages. 

When you apply for unemployment, you will receive a Monetary Determination. It includes your base period earnings, the maximum number of weeks you can collect benefits, and weekly benefit amount. 

Make sure to review the Monetary Determination thoroughly. If the base period wages shown are incorrect, contact VEC Customer Contact Center and provide correct information. You may be asked to Email or fax proof of proper wages to the Customer Contact Center. 

Note that the Monetary entitlement will last for 1 year following your UI claim or benefits exhaustion date. 

Closing Thoughts

VEC is taking all possible measures to fasten the application process and pay your benefits. If you have applied for PEUC but haven’t received it yet, you can reach out to the Customer Contact Center. Meanwhile, look for suitable opportunities at http://jobs.virginia.gov/

 

In March, the federal government passed the new Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to provide temporary financial relief to those who lost their jobs due to the pandemic. The relief measures included Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUC), Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), etc. These programs took effect in March. However, lately, the state of Texas triggered a state extended unemployment benefits program that provides additional 13 weeks of unemployment assistance.

The extension comes after the previously extended unemployment benefits for 13 weeks under the federal’s Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) relief measure. The new extension took effect on May 31. Here, let’s have a detailed look at extended unemployment benefits in Texas. 

Extended Unemployment Benefits In Texas 

Typically, Texans can receive the benefits for 26 weeks. However, under the extended unemployment benefits program, Texans can now collect the payment for 52 weeks.

Texans could start receiving their state extended unemployment benefits in the week that ends on July 4, which is 13 weeks after the first extension (PEUC) that took effect in the state. Before collecting their additional 13 weeks of state extended benefits, the claimants must first exhaust their regular 26 weeks and the additional 13 weeks under PEUC.

The self-employed workers, gig workers, and independent contractors can collect extended benefits, provided they have exhausted their benefits under PUA program. 

Who Qualifies For Extended Benefits In Texas? 

To qualify for the extended unemployment benefits in Texas you must meet several eligibility requirements. Some of them include: 

1. You have exhausted your regular as well as benefits received under the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation 

2. You are able, available for work, and are actively seeking for a job

3. You are not receiving benefits with respect to any unemployment compensation of another state  

4. You have wages in the base period of your regular benefits that includes:

  • Wages higher than 40 times your most recent weekly payment
  • Total wages in the base period greater than or equal to 1.5 times the highest quarter

    How To Apply For Extended Benefits In Texas 

    You need not reapply for extended unemployment benefits if you are currently receiving the payment. But if you aren’t receiving, then file an unemployment claim online or over the phone

    You will have to provide several details while filing a claim. They include:

    • Your last employer’s name, address and other contact details
    • The first and last dates you worked for your last employer. If you worked on more than one occasion, provide the latest employment dates
    • Information related to your normal wage you are seeking
    • Information regarding hours worked and pay rate, provided you worked the week you file a claim (including Sunday)
    • Alien Registration number (if you are not a U.S. citizen)

    Once you submit your application, the authorities will review it and will send you a Determination Notice, that indicates whether your claim is approved or denied. If your claim is approved, you will have to request payment every 2 weeks.

    But if your claim is denied despite meeting the eligibility criteria, you can appeal for unemployment benefits.

    Appealing Unemployment Benefits Denial

    You can appeal Unemployment benefits by requesting a hearing, within 14 days after the Determination Notice was sent to you. On receiving your appeal request, the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) will schedule a hearing. Your hearing may take place over the phone or face-to-face. 

    Texas has multiple levels of hearing process. If you disagree with the decision after your first hearing, you can re-appeal to the three commissioners of TWC. The commissioners will review the evidence and give their judgement. If you disagree with their decision, you can file an appeal in court or request a rehearing from the TWC.

    Final Words 

    Extended unemployment benefits can provide you with temporary financial support. If you have any queries regarding the extended benefits, reach out to authorities at Texas Workforce Commission. 

    To help the unemployed meet their financial needs, the U.S. Congress has passed a $2 trillion stimulus package, known as the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The CARES Act includes several unemployment benefits programs, and one among them is the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) program.

    What Is The Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program?

    Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation is a temporary program that offers an additional $600 per week to those who receive unemployment benefits. 

    Eligibility Criteria For The Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation

    To qualify for the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, you must be eligible for any one of the following programs.

    1. Regular Unemployment Insurance (UI)
    2. Unemployment Compensation for Federal Employees (UCFE)
    3. Unemployment Compensation for Ex-Service members (UCX)
    4. Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC)
    5. Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)
    6. Extended Benefits (EB)
    7. Trade Readjustment Allowances ( TRA)
    8. Work Sharing Benefits

    Other requirements include:

    • Able to work, actively seek for work and available for work
    • Submission of a complete record of work searches
    • Report earnings made during the week of claiming benefits. They include, but are not limited to, income/wages, paid sick time, and vacation pay

    Though FPUC requires you to be available for work, the Federal law has given flexibility for states to amend their own laws to accommodate for the pandemic situation. States can pay benefits when:

    •  An employer temporarily shuts down due to the coronavirus, preventing you from going to work
    • You are quarantined and expect to rejoin your work post quarantine 
    • You stop going to work due to a risk of Coronavirus exposure or infection

    Where To File For FPUC?

    To apply for FPUC, you must first file a claim for regular unemployment benefits. If you have recently filed for UI benefits, the FPUC amount will be added to your future unemployment weeks.  

    But if you have not filed for the regular benefits, visit the state (where you worked) website and apply for the benefits. You can also apply in person or over the phone. When you file a claim, provide your Social Security number, email ID, telephone number, address, and your former employment details. Some states may also require driving license details. If you are not aware of the documents needed to file a claim, visit the state-owned website. 

    How Long Can You Receive FPUC Benefits?

    The FPUC benefit is available only for a limited time. The program pays for the weeks of unemployment that start after March 28, 2020, and ends on or before July 31, 2020. The amount is paid from the week ending April 4, 2020, to the week ending July 25, 2020. 

    The first benefit that you receive will include payments for prior weeks that you did not receive. For instance, if you qualify for regular UI benefits for the week ending April 4, and you generally get it on Tuesday, then on Tuesday, April 21, you will receive FPUC benefits for April 4, 11, and 18.

    Note that you will receive the amount at the same time as you receive your other unemployment benefit payments. 

    What Kinds Of Benefits Are Deductible From FPUC?

    Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation is subject to certain deductions. The payment can be reduced due to Child Support obligations or other benefit offsets. 

    The Child Support Enforcement Agency (CSEA) collects child support obligations, and the amount to be withheld is determined by an agreement between the affected parent and CSEA. When you qualify for FPUC benefits, the CSEA will be notified and will determine your deductibles.

    But the earnings from pensions or part-time jobs are not deducted from your FPUC benefits.

    Is Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation Taxable?

    Similar to regular UI benefits, the FPUC payment is taxable. You can choose to have state (5%) or federal (10%) income taxes deducted from your FPUC benefit. At the end of the calendar year, you will receive a Form 1099G, and the benefit you received will be reported to the State Tax Office and Internal Revenue Service.

    Closing Thoughts

    FPUC can help you support your needs and make it through these difficult times. If you are self-employed or a gig worker and are qualified for FPUC, you need not not worry. You may still be eligible for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.

    Its been a while since unemployment benefits were extended to cover a wider range of unemployed people. So far some states have been quick to keep their labor websites updated with the progress while others are reportedly slow on keeping UI applicants informed. In this article, we shall survey the points of progress the five states with the largest numbers of UI claims are at. You will know when you can expect to hear from your unemployment office if you are worried about the radio silence.

    States With The Largest Number Of UI Claims

    Over 6 million unemployment insurance claims were filed over last week alone, the record highest number in US history. The states have been overburdened due to a shortage of staff, ill-equipped servers (to handle the volume of claimants logging in) and of course, state trust funds.

    As many states had downsized their UI systems over the years, they have been scrambling to hire/depute employees to process the UI claims and sign agreements with the US Dept of Labor to get the CARES Act funds. Let’s take a look at the status of five states with the highest number of UI claims.

    California

    This state saw over 900,000 claims filed just last week. While every state on this list is struggling to process the huge surge in UI claims, California is particularly in need of more resources and fast. 

    Governor Gavin Newsom directed that unemployment phone line timings be extended. So now people can call from 8 am-5 pm whereas previously, calls would not be taken after 12 noon. Unfortunately, the extended hours alone won’t help because many people report being put on hold and not getting hold pf a representative even after the call gets through.

    The California Employment Development Department has not yet made guidelines clear for claim filing by independent contractors and gig workers. On the bright side, the state labor website stays up-to-date.

    Pennsylvania

    This state has had insured unemployment of more than 500,000 along with over 283,000 UI claims just last week. Pennsylvanians are fortunate to have better UI benefits than many other states even without the additional payout provided by the Families First and CARES Acts. 

    Pennsylvania claims to have already begun sending unemployment payments. However, the state has not significantly raised the capacity to take calls and respond to email volume, at this time of writing.

    The state has tentatively announced that a separate platform to streamline the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance claims will be developed in 2 weeks.

    New York

    With insured unemployment of 715,750 till March 28 and 345,246 claims filed last week, the state of New York has among the most well-updated sites. The state has been experiencing the same issues with technical capacities and staff shortage but it has kept people informed about the work in progress on different measures being taken.

    New York has been quick to upgrade its online UI application system since people reported calls dropping midway when they even got through. The state has roped in new staffers and call centers. They have also extended phone line hours which are now 8 am-7:30 pm.

    It has already begun sending out the $600 assistance as part of the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.

    Georgia 

    This state saw 388,175 claims filed just this week and a similar number last week. Georgia is ahead of Penn State with an even shorter period of one week announced tentatively for PUA payments to go out.

    The Georgia Department of Labor has announced that they are in the process of improving the UI claims process with more questions being added to identify eligible applicants. To help contractors and gig workers they are likely to use different wage criteria from the normal system.

    The state has announced that payments will be backdated to ensure that people don’t lose benefit payments due to the delays in executing the program.

    A few workers have reported receiving benefits cards but with the money that should have been there, not on them. The phone lines continue to be jammed despite the state hiring call centers.

    Michigan

    Michigan is another top state in terms of UI claim filed numbering at 384,844 last week alone. The state has enabled contractors, gig workers, etc. to start filing unemployment claims and extended phone line hours. But the website crashes frequently.

    On the bright side, Michigan is among the earliest states to actually start sending the benefits. Most states including Michigan have recommended that applicants file claims as per the following schedule:

    Last names beginning with letters A-L: Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays.

    Last names beginning with letters M-Z: Sundays, Tuesdays, or Thursdays.

    Whoever misses filing on the above days, can do so on Saturdays.

     

    With states finally gearing up to handle the large payment volumes, people can expect to start receiving benefits by mid-April. There are many teething troubles yet to be fixed such as monetary determination letters showing zero benefits owed due to improper wage calculations. Most states are hiring workers to process additional claims and expanding technical capabilities.

    Also heartening to see are funding campaigns and community interventions to support the people laid-off.

     

    If you have lost your job, don’t lose hope yet. You may be eligible for unemployment benefits, so ensure that you file a UI claim right away. The US government has expanded Unemployment Insurance eligibility criteria to deal with the coronavirus-induced joblessness. But what if you live in one of the states with the worst unemployment insurance benefits?

    We will look into the states having the worst unemployment insurance system, at some length. We examine whether these states will be able to support their citizens with the present condition of UI benefits and what changes they will need to make ASAP. We consider data from the last quarter preceding the coronavirus-recession and the claims filed from March 15-21 to understand what needs to be done.

    Overview of The States With The Worst Unemployment Insurance Benefits

    The first criterion we are using to shortlist the worst states is the maximum benefit amount cap. We look at states that pay less than $300.

    • Florida
    • Tennessee
    • Louisiana
    • Mississippi
    • Arizona
    • Alabama

    Note that you may receive much less than the maximum Weekly Benefit Amount, based on your base period earnings. Without the additional weekly amount of $600 made available by the CARES Act, life in these states would have been harder in these trying times.

    The claim numbers mentioned below are likely underestimates considering how many people were unable to get through to the system. Recipiency rates measure what proportion of jobless applicants actually received UI benefits.

    Florida

    The state saw 67,558 new claims filed last week. At 11% recipiency rate in the last quarter, the state ranks quite low in the number of people actually getting UI benefits, at 47. The Florida Labor Department has signed an agreement with the Federal government to implement the CARES Act. Hence it will need to fast track the processing of new claims and effectively implement the relaxed rules to reach all the unemployed who need benefits.

    The largest number of claimants last quarter belonged to the Administration and Support/Waste Management and Remedial Services sector, which is badly affected now as well by the economic shutdown. Now that casual workers and the self-employed are eligible for UI benefits, it remains to be seen whether this sector will be the worst affected. 

    Florida residents can get a maximum of $875 in UI benefits, not counting the one-time direct payment mandated by the Coronavirus Economic Security Act.

    Tennessee

    Tennessee ranks slightly better at 44, with a recipiency rate of 15%. With 36,394 new claims filed last week, the state has a slightly lower burden than Florida. 

     

    In Tennessee, the largest share of UI claims came from former employees of the manufacturing sector, last quarter. Tennessee houses some automotive manufacturing plants which have slashed production. Guidelines have not yet come which would enable the self-employed to file for benefits. Tennessee residents can hope to get a maximum of $875 in UI benefits.

    Louisiana

    With an increase of 70,365 in claims filed in the last week, Louisiana is clearly in need of a massive scaling up of UI claims processing infrastructure and staff. The low recipiency rate of 10.9% indicates that the state will have to work quite hard to meet the needs of new claimants.

    The sector with the most volatility in this state is construction, with the largest share of UI claimants last quarter. As the sector has a large proportion of contractual employees, it will be a significant contributor to unemployment, now. Those who qualify for maximum WBA in Louisiana can hope to get $847 at most.

    Mississippi

    This state has been fortunate so far to have only seen a rise in unemployment claims by 5,576. These numbers are likely to spike by next week. The state has also included people caring for a family member afflicted with COVID-19 or those whose care facilities are closed due to the pandemic.

    Mississippi has among the lowest UI benefits and a worker can hope to get at maximum $835, adding in the $600 stipend. It also has the worst UI recipiency rate at only 9.2%, necessitating a huge effort from the government.

    The most unstable industry in Mississippi appears to be the manufacturing sector with the largest number of UI claimants last quarter. This is likely to continue as the state’s backbone is this sector, which will now face a drop in demand besides shutdown.

    Arizona

    Arizona saw the filing of unemployment insurance claims jump by 25,424 last week. Its recipiency rate at 11.2% has room for improvement without which many unemployed people will hit poverty. The state is at 46, very close to the bottom in this respect. The sector giving the highest number of UI claimants has consistently been Administration and Support/Waste Management and Remedial Services, this past quarter. At $840 being the maximum UI benefit one can hope to get, the state will need to overhaul the system to meet the UI needs of the newly eligible claimants.

    Alabama

    While Alabama may offer a maximum unemployment benefit of only $255 which with the stipend will amount to $855, it got the best recipiency rate among these 6 states at 25.6%. It ranks in the middle of a list of all the American states. 

    However, the Alabama legislature had passed a law to cut down the number of UI payments weeks to 14 from 26. They may need to abrogate this law if the economic slowdown takes a long time to recover.

    The manufacturing sector in Alabama has thrown up the largest number of UI claimants last quarter. This one as well as the other major sector, tourism will most likely be hit badly.

    Lessons for UI from GFC-2008

    Compared to the Unemployment Insurance changes made to cope up with the 2008-10 financial crisis, the measures this time are broader. The amount of money paid out by the program will be known only once it’s all over, but the outlay is higher at the outset.

    Back then the benefits were extended for 99 weeks, whereas this time it’s 39 weeks. But this is only the beginning. The benefits increase this time around is much higher, on the other hand. Compared to only $25 last decade, the weekly $600 dollars this time for four months, is a huge improvement.

    UI claimants were also given a big health insurance subsidy. This time around the government is sponsoring health insurance costs, but mostly for COVID-19 related health issues. However, most employers furloughing people are still giving regular health insurance coverage for 2 months.

     

    The US government will need to implement the Families First Act and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act at war footing to save the US economy from collapse and thus the lives of Americans. Not just these six worst unemployment insurance states, but all the states will have to ensure that the unemployed don’t fall through the cracks of the complicated UI systems.

    Employees working with various federal agencies/departments constitute a significant number of workforces in the US. We must understand that federal employees are susceptible to being unemployed like any other person. There may be massive layoffs across government organisations/agencies as well.

    In such situations, a civilian federal employee who is separated from his job will be eligible to apply and receive unemployment compensation on nearly the same terms as a person who was employed with a private company. The Unemployment compensation for federal employees (U.C.F.E) is a program administered by the states which act as agents of the federal government. The law of the state in which you last served as a federal employee determines the eligibility for UI benefits.

    american flag
    Federal Employment

    Benefits

    The law of the State (under which the claim is filed) determines benefit amounts, number of week’s benefits that can be paid, and other eligibility conditions. All other terms and conditions more or less remain the same as applicable for a non-federal employee.

    Unemployment compensation is taxable. If you receive unemployment compensation, you will be sent Form 1099-G from the state where you filed your claim showing the amount you were paid and any federal income tax you elected to have withheld.

    Furloughed federal employees are also eligible to apply. Use the benefits calculator to determine how much you may receive.

    How to Apply?

    You can apply like anyone else. States may take claims over the Internet, telephone, or in-person. Follow instructions provided on the state’s Web site. We strongly recommend that you read our benefits by state section before applying. This will help you apply confidently without any aggravations.

    You are also required to know your department or agency’s correct name and payroll address, and, if available, the agency’s Federal Identification Code. Documents that have this information and will help you to correctly file your UCFE claim include:

    •         Standard Form 8 (SF-8)
    •         Standard Form 50 (SF-50)
    •         Earnings and Leave Statement
    •         W-2 Form

    Post Application – Weekly Claims

    Once your UCFE initial claim has been filed, you will have to file eligibility certifications weekly or bi-weekly depending on the state laws. The certifications can be over telephone or on the department’s website. If you’re a furloughed worker, you are not required to report work searches as it’s just a temporary layoff. Workers whose claim is approved generally receive their first benefit payment within 14-21 days from the date that the claim is filed.

    By following the protocol prescribed by the state laws, your UI benefit claims can be a smooth one.

     

    Workers’ compensation, also known as Workman’s comp, is a state-mandated insurance program that is administered by the federal government for federal and certain other types of employees. Each of the 50 states has its own customised programs for its citizens.

    An employee with a work-related illness or injury can get workers’ compensation benefits regardless of who was at fault. In exchange for these guaranteed benefits, employees usually do not have the right to sue the employer in court for damages for those injuries.

    The Department of Labor’s OWCP (Office of Workers compensation programs) administers disability compensation programs for workers (or their dependents) who are injured at work or have acquired an occupational disease. A wide range of categorical benefits are extended to workers in need.

    • Wage replacement benefits
    • Medical treatment
    • Vocational rehabilitation
    • Other benefits

    Eligibility Criteria

    Three vital and basic requirements must be fulfilled to become eligible for compensation benefits.

    • The company you are/were working for must carry workers’ compensation insurance or be legally required to do so.
    • You must be on rolls of that person or company.
    • The nature of injury or illness must be related to the work and not a personal ailment.

    In addition, there are some special regulations for domestic workers, agricultural and farm workers, leased or loaned workers, casual or seasonal workers, and undocumented workers.

    Types of Benefits

    Workers’ comp benefits can include medical care, rehabilitation expenses, and disability coverage to compensate for lost wages. If you’ve been injured on the job or become ill through your work, you may have already been told that you can receive some or all of these benefits through your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance.

    If you are a dependent family member of someone who was killed on the job, you might be entitled to death benefits through workers’ compensation.

    Medical Care

    Medical benefits available through workers’ compensation include hospital and medical expenses. Workers’ compensation generally covers doctor visits, medication and surgeries and other related expenditure. In some instances, workers’ compensation will also cover services like counselling, pain therapy, and acupuncture.

    Rehabilitation

    Rehabilitation benefits cover medical and therapeutic care (such as physical therapy) necessary to help you cope with and recover from your injury or illness. They also cover the care and training necessary for you to regain the skills and abilities you need to return to work.

    Disability

    The role of disability benefits for unemployed workers is to compensate you for wages lost while your injury or illness makes it impossible for you to work. Disabilities fall into one of four categories.

    A temporary total disability is one that prevents you from working at all, but only for a limited amount of time. In other words, you can’t work now, but you will be able to work some day. The vast majority of workers compensation disabilities fall into this category.

    A temporary partial disability is one that prevents you from doing some of the duties of your job for a limited amount of time. In other words, you can do parts of your job now, and someday you may be able to do all of the duties of your job, just as you did before your injury.

    A permanent total disability is one that prevents you from ever returning to work. You don’t need to be totally helpless or medically incapacitated to fall into this category, just unable to work at your job or a similar one.

    A permanent partial disability occurs when the damage is permanent, but it only partially impairs your ability to work.

    Death

    Most states’ workers’ compensation programs provide death benefits to people who were related to the deceased worker (for example, a spouse, child, parent, or sibling) and were financially dependent on that person. Although most states provide funeral and burial expenses as part of this benefit, the main purpose of the benefit is to compensate dependent family members for the loss of financial support.

    Filing a Claim

    Get immediate medical care if your injury requires it. You must then inform your employer of your injury as soon as possible. This is a tricky part of processing a workers’ comp claim, since states have wildly different limits on the number of days you have to notify your employer; in most states, the limit is one month, but the range is from a few days to two years.

    Your employer will have claim forms for you to fill out and submit or can obtain a form quickly. It then becomes your employer’s responsibility to submit the paperwork to the relevant insurance carrier.

    If your injury is not permanent and does not cause you to lose income, getting payment for your medical bills will probably be the extent of your claim. If you are temporarily unable to work because of your injury, you will also begin receiving checks to cover your wage loss—typically within a week or two after your claim is approved. Your employer will notify the insurance company to stop sending you wage-replacement checks as soon as you recover and return to work.

    If you move from a full-time job to a part-time job, will you still be eligible to receive UI (Unemployment Insurance)? If you only ever held a part-time job, which you just lost, would you still qualify for the benefits? Are these the questions that are worrying you? Fret not! We’ll answer them all!

    First Things First – Are you eligible?

    Rules and eligibility criteria for unemployment insurance vary from state to state. So there could be a chance that you may not qualify for the benefits in one state while you will be deemed ineligible in another state.

    Whether the job you lost was a part time job or a full time job, you should have lost the job due to no mistake of yours. That rule is pretty much the same in all states. If the reason for separation from your last job was due to a fault from you, you may not qualify for the benefits.

    Case I – Only part time jobs

    Most states will take your part time jobs into account while they go through your work history. If you had a full time job which you lost and then resorted to a part time job to help with the bills, you may still qualify to receive the benefits.

    Let’s take the first case, where a person only ever held a part-time job. As mentioned before the office of UI will take every job you held into account. So even if it was a part time job, you may still qualify to receive the benefits provided you managed to earn the required amount during the base period.

    If your job was a low paying one that required you to work only a few hours every week, you may not be eligible to receive the benefits.

    There could also be a situation where you work multiple part time jobs and even retain one. Here too you will qualify for the benefits as long as you have earned the stipulated minimum wages during your base period. Please note that you will not qualify for benefits if your income from the job you are retaining pays you more than the minimum amount your state pays as the weekly benefit.

    Case II – Full time jobs to part time jobs

    The second scenario is where you resorted to a part time job after you lost a full time job. It could also be possible that your working hours at your full time job has been reduced due to lack of work. In both cases your income will certainly reduce the amount you will receive as benefits but it will not eliminate benefits altogether. In the latter case, you should be filing for what is called Partial Unemployment Benefits.

    Qualifying For Unemployment benefits

    As the rules and the process of determining the unemployment benefits amount vary from state to state, only your state’s UI office can determine whether you qualify for the program. We suggest that you contact the authorities immediately after you have been laid-off. Such unemployment insurance programs often require you to search for new jobs actively.

    Keep in mind that benefit amounts are often small and designed to cover only your basic expenses. This means that you will have to cut back and make job hunting your priority. We understand that financial strains can take a toll on your health and psyche. Stay positive, spend time with loved ones and never give up hope. Cheers!!

    Of all the budget decisions made over the past years in the history of the United States “Sequestration” comes as the hardest blow.

    Sequestration is across the board budget cuts to many federal sponsored programs including the Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) to reduce spendings of the government and channelize the funds towards other programs. These monetary reductions were made under the Budget Control Act of 2011.

    Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) are benefits available for eligible job-seekers who are still looking for work when their regular state unemployment insurance runs out after 26 weeks in most states. The maximum number of weeks to receive EUC benefits varies from 14 weeks to 47 weeks which is based on the state’s unemployment rate.

    The cuts are to be made on the federal benefits only and the schemes sponsored by states will remain unaffected.

    This sequestration is going to affect 2 million people who are currently receiving EUC. Due to this fiscal cliff the improving unemployment rate is likely to take a stroll and hit new highs.

    The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that 3.8 million unemployed workers would be affected by the sequester mandated benefit cuts during the remainder of the 2013, with the average recipient losing $400.

    These cuts will not only make life even harder for many long term unemployed workers already suffering from the loss of jobs and incomes, but will also take more than $2 billion in consumer spending out of an economy still struggling with weaker demand. That’s likely to hurt local businesses and jobs, particularly in states with high levels of unemployment.

    Organizations and companies have begun laying off workers, while many more have decided not to staff vacant positions. Schools on military bases are contemplating four-day weekly schedules.

    Sequester cuts will impact education, public health, law enforcement, defense, food safety, aviation safety and security, and the national parks programs. It cuts total $85.4 billion, including $42.7 billion being cut from the defense budget and $28.7 billion in domestic discretionary spending.

    These cuts will mean an automatic 6.4 percent cut to the most programs like National Institute of Health (NIH) and the National Science Foundation (NSF), with no departmental or agency able to control how the sequester impacts individual programs.

    Cuts of this level will be devastating to the public health infrastructure. It was reported that some hospitals have been turning away cancer and HIV patients as they can no longer afford to treat them with expensive procedures.

    From an economic point of view this immediate and severe cuts have been broadly seen as a terrible policy measure. Sharp fiscal contraction in a weak economy is known to have negative multiplier effect on output resulting in slow growth. However the policy is expected to reap positive results in the years to come.

    Similar policy of harsh government spending cuts imposed in countries like Spain, Greece, Ireland, Italy and Portugal has produced soaring and depressing rate of unemployment and deepening economic crisis.

    Here is a table which contains more information on cuts being made state wise. Considering the unemployment rate and population of each state the government has divide the sequestration process into four quarters and depending on the quarter the rate and the date of implementation is different.

    State EUC Sequestration Date Of Implementation
    California 17.7% April 28
    Illinois 16.8 % May 27
    Nebraska 19.38% May 5
    North Dakota 18.03% April 28
    South Dakota 16.8% June 2
    Pennsylvania 10.7% April 6
    Maryland 22.2% July 6
    Rhode Island 12.2% April 21
    Massachusetts 12.8% April 28
    Mississippi 12.8% April 28
    Alaska 23.2% May 19
    Arizona 16.8% June 2
    Wyoming 23.08% May 26
    Washington 21 % May 19
    New Jersey 22.2% June 30
    New Mexico 25% June 2
    Ohio 16.36% May 5
    Utah 17% April 28
    Virginia 14.2% May 12
    Colorado 18.22% April 28
    Connecticut 19.2% June 16
    Montana 19.58% May 5
    New Hampshire 16.7% April 28
    Alabama 12.8% April 28
    Delaware 12.8% April 28
    Hawaii 12.8% April 28
    Massachusetts 12.8% April 28
    Mississippi 12.8% April 28
    Rhode Island 12.2% April 21
    Texas 10.7% March 31

    NOTE: Please note that each state needs to implement these changes and it will help to check the state unemployment site to know more about the amount reduced. This sequestration will only affect recepients of Emergency Unemployment Compensation. State unemployment benefit recepients remain unaffected.

    https://fileunemployment.org