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Employers offer various benefits and insurance policies to protect their employees. Some of them include health insurance, vision insurance, and disability insurance. Disability insurance is of two types: Short-Term Disability (STD) and Long-Term Disability (LTD) benefits. While Short-Term Disability insurance offers compensation for a limited time, Long-Term Disability Insurance provides income replacement for an extended period.

More about Long-Term Disability Insurance

Long-Term Disability insurance offers compensation or replaces income for those employees who are disabled and unable to work for 6 months or longer duration . The insurance covers only specific disabilities such as injuries, illness, or accidents that occurred on or off the job. Some of the common types of conditions covered include:

  • Sprains and strains
  • Stroke 
  • Pregnancy complications
  • Pneumonia 
  • Muscle and tendon issues 

Long-Term Disability insurance has two categories: own and any occupation policy. Under the “own occupation,” an employee should be unable to perform duties of his/her chosen job or job he/she is trained for. Under “any occupation,” benefit is given to those employees who cannot perform any job. 

Long-Term Disability policy usually begins after Short-Term Disability insurance has been exhausted. That is, it starts about 10 to 53 weeks post the injury or illness, with an average time of 26 weeks. 

The duration of the coverage may vary with the provider. Some may provide coverage for 10 years, while others pay until the age of 65. 

Eligibility Criteria For A Long-Term Disability Insurance

You should meet several requirements to qualify for a Long-Term Disability insurance policy. They include:

  1. You must be a full-time employee
  2. You must work for a minimum of 30-35 hours per week
  3. You have to exhaust paid sick leaves before applying for Short-Term Disability policy and you must exhaust it before filing for Long-Term Disability insurance 

How Much Does A Long-Term Disability Insurance Pay?

The long-Term Disability insurance policy usually provides 50% to 60% of the pay to qualified disabled employees. The amount is calculated depending on your basic compensation before the disability. 

How To Apply For A Long-Term Disability Insurance?

Filing for Long-Term Disability insurance includes the following steps.

1. Request An Application Form

You can collect the application form from your employer. If your employer fails to provide the form, you can contact the insurance provider and request an application form.

2. Fill The Application Form

Enter name, social security number, address, contact information, date of occurrence of injury or illness, the reason for disability, and other details without which your application may be rejected. 

3. Get the Employer’s Statement

The application procedure includes a section that must be completed by your employer. After entering the necessary details, request your employer to complete the form. Your employer would be required to provide the last working date, earnings, date of occurrence of injury, etc. information.

4. Collect Statement From Your Doctor

Besides your employer, your doctor is required to provide certain information. This includes diagnosis, objective findings, types of treatment, an estimate of physical or mental limitations, etc.

You can also submit medical records and other documents that prove your disability. 

How Does A Long-Term Disability Insurance Work?

To collect benefits you have to remain disabled for a period between the date of occurrence of disability and the payment starting date. Usually, these periods range from 30 to 90 days. Note that you will have to pay bills from your pocket until the coverage begins. 

Once your disability claim is approved, you can collect your monthly benefit for the duration of the defined “benefit period.” Companies may provide benefits for as short as 2 years or till your retirement age. 

Can You Collect LTD Benefits If You Are Returning To Work?

You can continue to collect your LTD benefits while returning to work, however, the extent of coverage depends on the type of LTD policy (own or any occupation) and terms and conditions of your insurance provider. 

Final Words

LTD insurance is not a mandated requirement in any state. Employers can decide whether to give benefits to their employees or not. They can also choose the coverage range and insurance provider.  

If your employer is not providing LTD benefits, you can check with any third-party insurance provider and buy a policy. 

 

 

 

If you are unemployed and disabled, you might be wondering if you can receive Long-Term Disability (LTD) and Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits simultaneously. The answer? Rarely. You can collect them simultaneously only when the eligibility requirements of the Long-Term Disability and Unemployment Insurance program overlap. 

In this article, we will guide you on collecting Long-Term Disability and UI benefits simultaneously. But before that, let’s have a detailed look at LTD and UI benefits programs.

Unemployment Insurance Benefits Program

Unemployment benefits are given to people who lost their job through no fault of their own. To qualify for the benefits, the claimant must be able, available for work, and actively look for work. The claimant must also submit a record of work searches, which should include the address if employers approached, the number of interviews attended, etc. 

Other eligibility criteria include:

  • Minimum earning during the base period 
  • Minimum number of work hours 
  • Totally or partially unemployed 

Long-Term Disability Benefits Program

Long-Term Disability benefits are given to people who are unable to work. The LTD program defines the inability to do a work in two forms: inability to take up any job and inability to do their own work. 

The definition of disability in an “inability to take up any job” is that one must be completely incapable of taking up any job for which he/she is qualified based on your education or experience. For example, a firefighter who cannot climb ladders or lift heavy objects will not be considered as disabled under an “any job” if he’s still capable of taking up other jobs, such as a cashier, clerk, etc.

The definition of disabled in an “inability to do their own job” form is that one is unable to perform the duties of his/her own job. For instance, a firefighter who is medically unable to meet the mental or physical requirements of that job is considered as disabled even if he can take up another, less strenuous job. 

Receiving Long-Term Disability And UI Benefits At The Same Time

Generally, one cannot receive Long-Term Disability and UI benefits simultaneously, especially in states like New York. However, in rare situations, one may qualify for both the benefits depending on his/her state of residence and how broadly the state’s policy defines the disability. 

Situations in which you can receive both LTD and UI benefits include:

  • You can take up a job that is not similar to your previous work
  • Your job does not rise to Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) level 
  • You are receiving partial LTD benefits

Receiving Long-Term Disability And UI Benefits Consecutively

If you do not qualify to get LTD and UI benefits simultaneously, you can receive them consecutively, i.e., you can get one benefit after another. 

(1) You can receive unemployment benefits and then become disabled and obtain disability. 

If you are currently getting unemployment benefits and have a disability policy, you can file a disability claim. If your disability benefit is given through your employer, you may not receive the LTD benefits if you were terminated and are receiving unemployment benefits. However, some policies may extend for a period after employment. In such cases, you may still be covered under the policy. 

If you have an independent policy, then you can file a claim when you become disabled. At that point, you have to notify the authorities at the unemployment office that you are no longer “able, available, and willing” to work. 

(2) You can receive disability and then become able to work and receive unemployment benefits. Before applying for UI benefits, you should evaluate your ability to take up a job and whether your previous employer can provide you a job. Once you become able to take a job, you have to notify your disability benefits provider. This would require certification from a doctor.

Note that you will not receive a full Long-Term Disability amount if you qualify for unemployment benefits. The LTD insurers will deduct some amount from your LTD benefits depending on your unemployment benefits.

Closing Thoughts

Though the chances of receiving both the benefits simultaneously are not great, it is worth trying. However, note that filing for Long-Term Disability and UI benefits simultaneously can be challenging. It is always wiser to consult a Long-Term Disability lawyer before applying for UI benefits. 

 

If you have lost your job through no fault of your own, you can apply for unemployment benefits if you meet all the eligibility criteria. However, many times, despite meeting the requirements, your state’s insurance program might deny your claim. In such cases, you have the right to appeal the denial. So how do you file an unemployment benefits appeal? Read on to know the process.  

How To File An Unemployment Benefits Appeal?

You will have limited time to appeal your unemployment benefits. Some states have as little as 15 days, and others have 30 days. If your claim is denied, you can file for an unemployment benefits appeal through online or mail. 

Online

  • Log in to your online UI account
  • Click view and maintain the option
  • Click monetary and issue summary 
  • Choose the issue ID and click appeal

Mail

There are two ways to file an unemployment benefits appeal through mail

  1. File the appeal request information form that was mailed to you along with the notice of denial. 
  2. Include claimant ID, contact information, and write a letter requesting for appeal. 

The form or the letter must be mailed to your state’s Department of Unemployment Insurance. The process of filing an unemployment appeal may vary with your state. Check your state Department Of Labor for more guidelines on how to appeal to unemployment benefits. 

On appealing the unemployment benefits, have copies of information like warnings, timesheets, medical records, contracts, contracts, or other documents that support your argument that you were not laid off through your fault. The more supporting documents you have, the higher the chance you will win an appeal.

If you have witnesses who are aware that you haven’t lost your job due to your fault, it can be very helpful. Bring the witnesses with you or ask them to be available over the phone or virtual unemployment appeal on the day of hearing so they can testify on your behalf.

You can also bring legal or other professional representation to the hearing. If you hire a lawyer, ask about fees, so that you can decide if it is worth the expense.

What Happens When You File An Unemployment Benefits Appeal?

After you file an unemployment benefits appeal, you will receive a notice of hearing. The notice will include the hearing date, time, and location. The hearing can be either over telephone or face-to-face. Telephone hearings will be allowed only under certain circumstances like you are located at least 50 miles away from the hearing location. 

If it is over the telephone, you will get 14 days advance notice of hearing, and 7 days in advance of the face-to-face hearing. 

Not showing up for the appeal hearing may result in denial of your appeal. If you are not able to attend under unfortunate circumstances, be prepared to provide documentation that proves you had a genuine reason for missing the appeal. 

Can You File A Claim During The Appeal Process?

Yes, you can file a claim during the appeal process. Continue to file for unemployment benefits as scheduled. Also, be available or able to work and actively look for a job. Unemployment benefits are usually contingent on the claimants looking for work. You don’t want to get through your appeals process, only to learn that you have been disqualified from receiving your benefits because you are not actively looking for a job.

However, note that you will not receive any benefits during the process. If you win the appeal, you will receive the benefits of those weeks. 

Closing Thoughts 

Despite submitting all the evidence, there are chances that you may lose the appeal. Do not be devastated if you lose the first hearing of an appeal, as many states have multiple levels of reviewing. To know more about the appeal process and rules in your state, contact authorities at the Department of Unemployment Insurance. 

 

The Child Care Services (CCS) program in Texas provides financial aid to low-income families and enables parents to work, take up educational activities, or attend workforce training. CCS is funded through the federal Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) and is led by the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) in Texas. 

Who Qualifies For The Child Care Services Program?

Families should meet certain federal, state, and local requirements to be eligible for the Child Care Services program. Families with children under the age of 13 qualify for the Child Care Services under the following circumstances: 

  • Families are low-income
  • Are needing or receiving protective services
  • Parents are receiving or transitioning off of public help
  • Family is participating in a training program for a minimum of 25 hours per week

Qualifying families can choose from the child care providers who meet local and state requirements such as:

  • Licensed or registered child care homes
  • Licensed child care centers
  • Relative (i.e., family member) 

Income Requirements

In addition to the above requirements, families should meet gross income requirements. 

Family Size  Gross Monthly Income 

( Initial Ability 200% FPG)

Gross Monthly Income 

( Sustaining Ability 85% SMI)

2 $2,818 $3,775
3 $3,555 $4,663
4 $4,292 $5,552
5 $5,028 $6,440
6 $5,765 $7,328
7 $6,502 $7,495
8 $7,238 $7,661
9 $7,828 $7,828
10 $7,994 $7,994

Note – 

  1. Eligibility requirements and coverage payment may differ by service area. In a few cases, the local board may have a waiting list for the CCS.
  2. The CCS program covers a portion or, in rare cases, all the child care expenses. 

The Child Care Services Program During COVID-19

In response to the COVID-19, Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) authorized Tarrant County Workforce Board has extended the Child Care Services program to essential workers. The CCS program is now available to Tarrant County CCS child care providers, provided they remain open during the COVID-19. 

Who Qualifies As An Essential Worker?

Essential workers include:

  • First responders
  • Military personnel
  • Bank staff
  • Grocery store staff
  • Gas station staff
  • Restaurant staff
  • Mail and delivery service staff
  • Pharmacy and health care workers
  • Local and state government staff
  • Any workers deemed essential by Board or TWC 
  • Home health care, nursing home, child care, and other direct caregivers

Eligibility Criteria For The Child Care Services Program During COVID-19

Essential workers must meet a few requirements to qualify for the CCS program. These include:

  • Their child is under the age of 13 (under age of 21, if disabled)
  • They are US citizens or legal immigrants
  • They reside within Tarrant County

Income Requirements

Essential workers must meet the state income eligibility threshold requirements either monthly or annually to qualify for the CSS program.

Family Size Gross Annual Income

( 150% SMI) 

Gross Monthly Income

( 150% SMI) 

2 $80,000 $6,700
3 $99,000 $8,200
4 $118,000 $9,800
5 $136,000 $11,300
6 $155,000 $13,000
7 $159,000 $13,200
8 $162,000 $13,500
9 $166,000 $13,800
10 $169,000 $14,100

Where To Apply For The Child Care Service Program?

Families can apply for the CCS program either by filing an online application or by downloading the application and sending it to the authorities in your county through the mail. If you have submitted an online application, you will receive a confirmation number. Note down the number as you can use it to track the application.

Your request will be processed within 2 business days of the date post the submission of a completed application form. During the process, the authorities may contact you to verify several aspects. 

Closing Thoughts

The Child Care Services program gives you an opportunity to provide quality care and enhance your child’s early learning. If you qualify for the program but haven’t filed yet, then hurry up and apply for the program.  

 

Due to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, many businesses have shut down, pushing millions of Americans into unemployment. As per reports, about 20 million people have lost their jobs in April alone. To help the unemployed meet their financial requirements, the U.S. Congress has passed a $2 trillion stimulus package. This package offers unemployment benefits to full-time employees and self-employed workers, freelancers, contractors, etc. 

The package also provides partial unemployment benefits to those who meet certain requirements. Read on to know more about the partial unemployment benefits during COVID-19. 

Who Can Receive Partial Unemployment Benefits During COVID-19

1. People whose working hours and wages have been reduced 

If your work hours and wages have been reduced as a direct result of COVID-19, you can file for partial unemployment benefits. The authorities will calculate your weekly benefit amount based on your gross wages (wages earned before any deductions). 

When filing for benefits, you must report all your wages, and earnings above $30 will be deducted from your weekly benefit amount. You may also qualify for Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), provided you have received at $1 under a partial unemployment benefits program.

For instance, if you earn $180 in a week, you would receive $90 + $600 FPUC every week. But if you earn at least $240 in a week, you will not be eligible for partial unemployment benefits for that week.

2. Individuals Who Have Two Jobs But Lost One

If you hold more than one job and are furloughed from one of them, then you may be eligible for partial benefits. The eligibility criteria may vary with states, and the benefit amount would depend on your weekly earnings (gross wages). 

Many states offer partial benefits depending on your hours worked. However, states like New York calculate your benefit amount based on the number of days worked during the week. In addition to partial unemployment benefits, you will be eligible for FPUC.

You are not eligible for partial benefits if you have voluntarily cut your working hours because you wanted to spend more time with your family or wanted to go back to school.

The Act also provides funding to states’ shared-work or short-time benefits program. Under this program, employees subject to work reduction or temporary layoff qualify for partial employment benefits, provided their employers are looking forward to retaining them, despite lack of work. 

The employee, as well as employer, should fill a Notice of Reduced Earnings form. By filing for benefits through this program, an employee must not show that he/she can work, be available to take employment, and is actively seeking a job.

Where To File For Partial Unemployment Benefits?

You can file for partial benefits through your state’s website for unemployment benefits. To file a claim for partial UI, you must provide the following information (the necessary information may vary with states). 

  • Full Name
  • Mailing address
  • Social Security number
  • Phone number
  • Home address 
  • Most recent employer information. This includes:
    1. Company name
    2. Address 
    3. Phone number
  • All employer details from the 18 months before you applied your claim
    1. Names of employers
    2. Period of employment
    3. Method of payment
    4. Wages earned
    5. Driver’s license or ID card number, if any
  • Most recent working date and the reason for no longer working
  • Citizenship status (this can include an alien registration number)

Closing Thoughts 

The amount received through partial benefits is much lesser than the regular UI benefits. But the additional $600 makes applying worthwhile. 

If you are a self-employed pr freelancer and do not qualify for partial unemployment benefits, you can apply for pandemic unemployment compensation (PUC). 

The states provide unemployment benefits to help the unemployed meet their financial needs temporarily. States use different formulas to calculate the unemployment benefits. In general, the amount is determined by wages earned during the primary and alternate base period, and the amount given is half the wages. But in some cases you may be paid more than what you are eligible. So what should you do in such situations? Should you repay the overpayment of unemployment benefits? Figure it out here! 

What Is An Overpayment?

An overpayment is the extra unemployment benefits that are paid to a claimant who is determined not to be entitled to those benefits. 

Reasons for Overpayment of Unemployment Benefits

Overpayment of unemployment benefits can happen due to various reasons such as:

  1. You did not provide all details 
  2. You have committed mistakes while filing a claim 
  3. You have knowingly given misleading or false information 
  4. You were not willing, ready, and able to work
  5. You did not submit the report of work search activities

Types Of Overpayment 

Overpayment of unemployment benefits are of two types: Non-Fraud and Fraud.

1. Non-Fraud

This type of overpayment of unemployment benefits occurs if you receive an amount that you were not eligible but through no fault of your own. You don’t have to pay any penalty if you are overpaid in such situations but just repay the overpaid unemployment benefits.   

 2. Fraud

This kind of overpayment occurs when you give incorrect details, make false statements, or withhold information to get benefits. Fraud overpayment of unemployment benefits will cause you to be ineligible from receiving benefits for 1 year. 

Fraud overpayment will require you to pay a penalty in addition to repaying the overpaid benefits. The penalty amount may vary with states. Fraud overpayments exceeding $400 will be treated as a crime. 

 Common Reasons For Fraud Overpayments 

  • Working a full-time, part-time or temporary job but not reporting earnings
  • Not submitting the record of your work search
  • Filing a claim without looking for a job
  • Providing fake or incorrect information when filing for benefits or a weekly certification
  • Not reporting severance and bonus pay

 How To Avoid Overpayment Of Unemployment Benefits?

When the authorities find out that you have been overpaid, they may carry out an investigation and disqualify you from receiving the benefits, if proven guilty. Therefore, it is wiser to take necessary steps to avoid overpayment. Some of them include:

  • Actively look for job opportunities
  • Provide accurate and complete information to DES when you file for benefits and weekly certifications
  • Maintain and submit your work search record
  • Report gross wages 
  • Report all income earned for each week you work 

Will You Be Notified If You Are Overpaid?

The authorities at the state unemployment department will notify you through mail if you have been overpaid. The notice will include how much penalties you owe (if applicable), instructions on how to appeal and repay the overpaid amount.

What Happens When You Receive Notice of Overpayment?

When you are overpaid, you will receive a notice of overpayment from your state unemployment department. If you don’t request a waiver or appeal, the authorities at your state unemployment department will recover the overpaid amount from your unemployment benefits, provided you are still receiving them. During the process, you will receive lesser amounts. Once they recover all the overpayment, you will receive benefits you are entitled to get. 

If you are not receiving the benefits, then the authorities will recover the overpayment by collecting the money from your tax refund. If they cannot recover all the overpayment for the time being, it will collect the money from your future benefits, if you file for any. 

How To Request A Waiver?

A waiver forgives complete or a portion of the benefits you have been asked to repay. You can request for a waiver only if you have received the overpayment by mistake, i.e., non-fraud overpayment. 

You should request for a waiver within 15 days of receiving the notice. You can apply for a waiver by filling your state’s overpayment waiver request form. 

How To File An Appeal?

You can file an appeal if your waiver is denied. In many states, you will be entitled to a hearing before an administrative law judge to consider your appeal. 

How To Repay Overpayment Of Unemployment Benefits?

You can repay the overpayment of unemployment benefits by sending a check to the unemployment office. If you are unable to pay at once, you can negotiate a payment plan.

Final Words 

Whether you have overpayment due to your fault or through no fault of your own, you must repay the entire amount. If you have any queries, then contact your state unemployment office for clarification. 

Due to the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic, millions of Californians are losing their jobs. To cope up with the situation, the Employment Development Department (EDD) is providing unemployment benefits in California. The benefits are not only available to the unemployed, but also to people who are quarantined or are caring for the sick. 

Unemployment Benefits In California 

In general, the unemployed Californians who meet the eligibility criteria receive unemployment benefits for up to 26 weeks. But due to the unprecedented circumstances, the federal policymakers have expanded benefits and eligibility through various financial relief measures.

1) The Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program provides a 13-week extension of benefits. That is, the claimant can get benefits for 39 weeks.

2) The Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) program provides an additional $600 on the top of regular unemployment insurance benefits to the claimants.

3) The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) offers benefits to self-employed, gig workers, etc.

Who Are Eligible For Unemployment Benefits During The Pandemic?

PEUC, PUA, and FPUC have their own set of eligibility criteria. But be it PUA or PEUC, there are some common requirements that you must meet to qualify for benefits. They include:

  • You must be fully or partially unemployed
  • You have lost employment through no fault of your own
  • You are able to work, actively seeking employment and available for work
  • You must report all your earning earned during the claiming week
  • You must submit records of your work searches 

Though it is mandatory to meet the criteria mentioned above to qualify for the benefits, the federal government is allowing the authorities at California the flexibility to amend the laws to provide UI benefits concerning the Coronavirus pandemic. For instance, the authorities at California can pay benefits if:

  • Your employer temporarily shuts down operations due to Coronavirus, preventing you from going to work.
  • You are quarantined and expected to return to work post quarantine 
  • You are not going to your work fearing the risk of exposure or infection
  • You are giving care to a family member diagnosed with the Coronavirus
  • You have quit your employment as a direct result of the Coronavirus
  • You have been scheduled to commence a job but are unable to reach the workplace due to the Coronavirus

Where to File for Unemployment Benefits in California?

Californians who have lost a job due to the pandemic can apply for the unemployment benefits through the state’s EDD. 

  1. Visit Benefits Program Online and register yourself, if you are applying for the benefits for the first time.
  2. Next, log in to the Benefits Program Online
  3. Go to UI online and select file a claim
  4. Read the instructions and provide necessary information
  5. Click submit

After submitting the claim, you will receive a confirmation number. Save it for future reference.

The EDD has provided various options to collect payment. For instance, 

  • Quarantined or sick Californians who are unable to work due to the pandemic can apply for disability insurance claim online
  • If you are giving care to a family member diagnosed with the pandemic, you can apply for paid family leave claim

How Long Does It Take To Receive Unemployment Benefits? 

Earlier, EDD used to take about 3 weeks to process claims. But with the surge in demand, the department is likely to take more time to provide the benefit. However, EDD is planning to keep claimants informed as the situation evolves and also encouraging them to check the EDD website for updates.

What Is The Department Doing To Speed Up Claims? 

Many claimants have complained about the delays in processing the benefits. To address these concerns, Gov. Gavin Newsom recently signed an executive order to expand the call center work hours. Earlier, the call center worked 4 hours per day from Monday to Friday, the new call center that now operates 7 days a week from 8 A.M. to 8 P.M. 

Due to the increase in the number of claims, your claim may be delayed. However, if you don’t hear back from the department for weeks, you can consider reapplying for the claim. 

 

 

 

 

We have previously taken a look at the states with the largest number of UI claims with regard to their progress in with the new unemployment insurance systems. Since then, there have been reports of a lot more people starting to receive their weekly entitlements in those states. But some states have not yet started implementing the new UI benefits rules.

In this post, we will take a look at the states that seem to be having the worst time coping with CARES Act implementation and take a look at the most common complaints people have about them.  

Common Problems Faced By All States

The US never before faced such a large volume of unemployment claims with over 15 million people filing. Many states had in fact cut back their unemployment compensation systems due to the good economic growth and historic lows in unemployment rates. They are thus swamped and experiencing the following:

  • Servers overloaded with requests
  • Jammed phone lines
  • Staff shortage

The Coronavirus Economic Security Act took care of the state unemployment trust fund insolvency by giving agreeable states, funds for the Pandemic Unemployment programs. Now let’s look at the states whose citizens are having the roughest time.

Florida

This state has been facing flak for its slow response in handling the large number of UI claims. Official data shows more than 470,000 filings so far, but the number is an underestimate as numerous people haven’t even been able to open an account or reach out to a worker over the phone. Florida has contracted out technological upgrades and hired call centers but thousands of people report being unable to access the website.

Many who were able to file claims are frustrated at being unable to see their determination status or have no idea when they will receive benefit payments. Florida’s economy is in worse shape than other states due to its reliance on tourism which is unlikely to resume even after lockdown ends. The state had also reduced benefits and payment weeks over the years.

Ohio

Ohio’s Lt Governor Jon Husted said that the state needs to hurry up with topping up the state unemployment trust funds because it will be unable to handle the volume of claims at this moment. The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services has declared that people may start getting UI benefits tentatively from next week. It may be early May by the time the self-employed and part-time workers and others previously ineligible for unemployment compensation, may be able to have claims successfully processed.

The state website has been outdated for years and is thus unable to handle the influx of people. The state is attempting to upgrade it, but more effort is needed.

Though Ohio has been hiring staff and getting deputed employees they have insufficient training resources. This will put many people with barely any savings in great inconvenience.

Washington

This is another state lagging behind on unemployment claims processing. Many people newly eligible for UI benefits such as the self-employed, those furloughed or not receiving pay due to COVID-19 etc. Even people who successfully filed benefits in mid-March have reported not receiving payments etc.

Washington like other states is scrambling to hire people to man the call centers. They need to upgrade the system which is reportedly unable to handle the new calculations due to the changs from the CARES Act. The date for expanding UI officially through the CARES Act has been set at Apr 18th.

The state has at least passed a ban on eviction, bringing welcome relief to people out of jobs. 

Other States Having Almost Identical Problems

  • Virginia– Not executed the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program yet. It has missed two promised deadlines of Apr 7th to announce details and Apr 10th to start enrolling eligible workers to PUA
  • Oregon– System underwent a glitch that may not have been fully fixed as people are asked by it to restart their claims process. The state has not legally waived waiting week requirement yet.
  • Missouri– The state has not indicated a timeline yet for when PUA payments could start going out, as it remains swamped by UI applications. 
  • Maine– $600 payments are yet to be started. The governor has passed orders to restrict evictions.

 

Some states are in talks over the limited reopening of a few economic sectors and companies. This might reduce the unemployment situation marginally, but is going to be of limited use. Many people are employed in accommodation and food services as well as manufacturing, which provides the purchasing power to fuel the spending in the country. The states will need to speed up on implementing UI benefits.

As a sector dominated by gig workers and contractors, unemployment in arts,  entertainment and recreation sector has been drastic, next only to the accommodation and food services sector in scale. Sub-sectors include performing arts, museums, theatres,  amusement parks, gambling arcades, stage shows, fitness centers, spectator sports, etc. The movie industry also comes under this sector.

Many states have declared shutdowns affecting footfall to these venues while they have voluntarily closed down in many places to avoid being a hotspot.  We shall take a brief look at this sector to understand the prospects with coronavirus and what former employees can expect in the near future.

Overview Of Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation

This sector employed about 2,481,500 people in 2019 and 2.46 million people in March 2020 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The current unemployment rate is 8.6% but it has been historically at an average of 4.6% over the past year.

The top occupations in this sector are fitness trainers and instructors, entertainment attendants and other workers as well as janitorial staff. The largest number of employees are amusement and recreation attendants. Employees earn an average hourly wage of $15.87. Many are employed and paid on an hourly basis in this sector.

There is a wide disparity in the wages of on-screen personas vs behind-the-screen staff in the case of the film industry. The working hours’ number a minimum of 24 per week on average. 

The entire market was valued at approximately $336 billion.

COVID-19: Unemployment In Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation

Most businesses in this sector are deemed non-essential and have been closed down by government orders. This sector will thus face a huge decline in revenues in this second quarter of 2020 (provided the coronavirus recedes after that). These businesses have furloughed low-wage employees and imposed pay cuts upon more skilled workers.

In Colorado, the maximum number of layoffs is in Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation. Los Angeles has not released data yet, but as the home of Hollywood and performing arts, many layoffs will be from this sector.

Entertainment industry representatives self-report that at least a 100,000 workers living paycheck to paycheck are out of work. With the slow progress of state labor departments in tackling the massive numbers of UI claims, these workers are in dire straits.

Museums and auction houses across the US are laying off workers. These institutions had requested the government for aid through the CARES Act. Some institutions like the Indianapolis Contemporary are closing down permanently.

How To Deal With The Present

This sector has faced almost a stoppage in job creation. There are a few job openings at gaming companies and media creation houses like Netflix. But the vast majority of work cannot resume till sports centers, stage shows, entertainment centers, etc. are allowed to open again.

In the meanwhile, those who are unemployed should file for UI benefits immediately. One can also look forward to the direct economic payment from the US government. 

There are several voluntary community interventions to help those who find themselves out of work:

  • Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Assistance Fund for theatrical exhibition employees 
  • #PayUpHollywood has raised money through a GoFundMe campaign to support production assistants
  • Writers Guild of America has waived COVID-19 testing costs

Future Prospects

The situation in the Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation may be quite dire. Even when the country starts working normally again, people will not have the money to spend in these places. The unemployment may go on longer than for other sectors. These venues may also remain closed for longer than other places if the coronavirus spread lasts longer than expected. 

Many theatre groups and museums have been struggling financially for years and coronavirus has struck them a death blow. Such ex-employees will need new jobs. Some of the better off cultural centers may be able to survive with just salary freezes. This sector will not create jobs for a long time.

On the bright side entertainment industry workers in California have already started receiving benefits. As the teething troubles get slowly sorted, more people will be able to successfully file UI claims.

The global economic shutdown following the Coronavirus pandemic began with a lot of speculation and fear over the prospective job losses. Three weeks on we have a clearer picture of what is happening and what the future will need in terms of bouncing back from the economic impact. We will take a brief look at how unemployment due to coronavirus is faring and what the likely future holds.

Unemployment Due To Coronavirus At The Moment

The coronavirus pandemic comes after months of job gains and good economic progress. In January alone nonfarm payroll employment rose by 225,000 and similar numbers were seen in February as well. 

But now nearly 700,000 jobs previously added, have been wiped out by the global slowdown and precautions being taken in the US. As of now only 41 US states have issued lockdown orders, so more claim numbers can be expected if this situation worsens and all states adopt lockdowns.

unemployment claims in march

Over 16 million unemployment claims were filed in the last 3 weeks, though not all of them are by people who have officially lost a job. The government has relaxed UI rules to accommodate those having reduced or no pay and the self-employed. 

The last time in recent history that such huge job losses occurred was from 2008-10, when over 8 million jobs were lost, during the Global Financial Crisis. But this present scenario shows US history’s fastest job losses. 

The largest contributors to unemployment vary across states, but the following sectors have seen the biggest losses:

  1. Accommodation and Food Services
  2. Construction
  3. Manufacturing
  4. Arts and Entertainment

Retail Trade has had a mixed response with some establishments doing well due to their supply of essential goods.

Coronavirus Deaths And Unemployment

The COVID-19 was not initially seen as a terrifying disease but that soon changed as the mortality grew, all over the world. Quite a few senators have ended up sick, though those who can afford good healthcare have made a recovery.

This is what’s causing the fears that have spurred global shutdowns. Most people have family and friends who would be susceptible to the disease. New York alone has already seen more than 7000 deaths.

Even without shutdowns, a recession-like situation was bound to happen, as people stay home to avoid spreading the virus. Once certain economic sectors begin to collapse, they take others down due to the interconnected nature of the economy. No job is truly recession-proof. 

Lessons from Spanish flu: Disease and Unemployment

Coronavirus is not the world’s first pandemic. The last time a disease spread as wide, was the Spanish flu. It ravaged the world for more than a year from 1918-20 and killed off a quarter of the world’s population, while it was still reeling from World War I.

Although the shutdowns may cause some shocks and pain now, the Spanish flu era shows that cities that made earlier and aggressive preventive interventions had a quicker return rate to normal economic activity. Disease always reduces a population’s productivity, hence striving to maintain it provides a more capable population.

What The Future Entails

Some economists think that the Coronavirus pandemic could go away with tremendous job gains, once the labor market fully revives. They liken it to the 1981-82 recession when the short-term recession caused short term layoffs but workers were later rehired.

Others are not so optimistic. It’s likely that Americans would be afraid of future infections following this pandemic and would start saving, especially if a vaccine is slow to develop. They may not frequent restaurants to the pre-coronavirus extents or shop as much, keeping demand suppressed. 

Under such situations, a string of bank loan defaults are likely and may push economic recovery lower. Lenders will not have the confidence to support economic growth.

 

Wait and watch is the only approach we can take during these hard times. The best option for all of us is to follow the physical and social distancing measures and support the country in fighting this pandemic. Fortunately, the government is taking care of Americans in the short run with stimulus checks and UI benefits. Be sure to file yours if you stop receiving pay.

 

https://fileunemployment.org