The federal government provides Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits to those who lost their jobs. However, not all unemployed are eligible for the benefits. There are several requirements which one must meet in order to receive the benefits, failing to which they can be disqualified from receiving the benefits. Here, we will walk you through some of the reasons for unemployment benefit disqualifications.
Unemployment Benefit Disqualifications
Some of the circumstances that lead to unemployment benefit disqualifications include:
1. Quit Without Good Cause
In most cases, you will be disqualified from receiving the unemployment benefits if you quit your job voluntarily or without a good cause.
For instance, you might have quit your job because you are not happy with your pay, you want to change careers, or your job is unfulfilling, and you want to try something new. All of these might be good reasons for you to quit the job and move on, but you will be disqualified from collecting your unemployment insurance benefits.
Note that the definition of “good cause” varies with states. For example, under Texas law, good cause is the employee’s failure to carry out his/her duties that a person of ordinary prudence would carry out under similar circumstances.
2. Insufficient Earnings
Another common reason for unemployment benefit disqualifications is insufficient earnings and length of employment. To qualify for the benefits, you must earn a minimum amount set by your state in your standard or alternate base period and have worked for your employer for at least one year. Additionally, if your state requires, you may also be required to meet the minimum work hours.
3. Provide Inaccurate Information
When filing a claim, you are required to enter several details such as your address, contact details, employers’ details, social security number, and many more. If you have missed out on any details, or have entered incorrect information, and the authorities have figured it out, you may be disqualified from receiving the unemployment benefits.
4. Fired For Justifiable Cause
You would be disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits if you were fired for justifiable cause. The causes include, but not limited to, failing a drug or alcohol test, stealing, falsifying records, lying, insubordination, criminal conduct, fraud, disclosing confidential information or trade secrets, or violating company rules or policies.
When you are terminated for a justifiable cause, your employer is not required to give you a notice. The employer is required to give notice only in the case of mass layoffs, corporate or large plant closures as per the policies of the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act.
5. Not Looking For A Job
This is one of the most common reasons for unemployment benefit disqualifications. The Department of Unemployment Insurance requires applicants to be able and available to work and actively look for work. While filing for a claim, an applicant must submit his/her work search reports. The report should include the address of employers’ approached, interviews attended, etc., failing to which the claimant will be disqualified from receiving the unemployment benefits.
Earlier, the self-employed, contractors, or freelancers were not qualified to receive the unemployment benefits but are now eligible under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program, a part of the CARES Act. There are several eligibility criteria that one must meet, failing to which they may be disqualified from receiving the benefits.
Eligibility requirements for filing a claim may vary with states. For more information check your state’s Department of Unemployment Insurance website or contact authorities.
Not that many times, despite meeting the eligibility requirements, your claim may be denied. In such circumstances, you have the right to appeal your UI benefits.
The United States offers unemployment insurance (UI) benefits to its unemployed citizens to enable them to meet their monetary needs temporarily. Federal and state governments jointly manage this program. In Florida, the UI benefits are called Reemployment Assistance (RA) program.
What Is a Reemployment Assistance Program?
The Reemployment Assistance program, similar to UI benefits, provides temporary wages to qualified individuals who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own.
The reason behind rebranding UI with Reemployment Assistance is to reflect the goal of assisting the unemployed to find a job by training them through Florida’s CareerSource Centers in addition to providing financial relief.
Eligibility Criteria For The Reemployment Assistance Program
To qualify for the Reemployment Assistance program, you should meet the following criteria.
- You have lost your employment through no fault of your own, and have not quit for personal reasons
- You are fully or partially unemployed
- You can work, available for work, and actively seeking work
- You have a minimum amount of wages earned in the base period
- You have documented your work search activities
Changes to RA Eligibility Criteria Due To The Coronavirus
In response to the Coronavirus pandemic, Florida has modified some of its criteria for qualifying for the Reemployment Assistance program.
1. Additional Benefits
The federal government’s CARES Act provides claimants an additional $600 per week. Those who qualify for the RA program will receive this payment on top of their weekly Florida benefit.
The CARES Act authorizes direct payments to eligible individuals and families. If you have filed your 2018 or 2019 income tax return and received your refund via direct deposit, then the authorities will use the same account details and deposit your payment.
2. Benefits For Self-Employed And Gig Workers
Floridians who are self-employed, gig workers, nonprofit workers, or contractors qualify for state benefits. The CARES Act allows them to apply for $600 per week by filing the form through Florida’s unemployment system.
3. Extended Duration
When the unemployment rate increases above 5%, Florida extends the duration of the benefits beyond the standard 12 weeks. That is an additional week added for every 0.5% increase to the unemployment rate. The maximum extension is 23 weeks.
Where To File For A Reemployment Assistance Program?
You can apply for a Reemployment Assistance program through online applications or paper applications.
1. Apply Through New Website For Online Applications
Due to the surge in the number of unemployment benefits claims, CONNECT, Florida’s website for online unemployment applications is crashing, causing trouble for the applicants.
To address this issue, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) has launched a mobile-friendly website that eases the application process.
2. Apply Through Paper Applications
If you can’t apply through the website, you can file through a paper application for Florida Reemployment Assistance.
If you are already receiving the payments, then there is an additional step that you must follow to get the benefits beginning this week.
The DEO has announced that the claimants required to return to the CONNECT system to claim your weeks to continue receiving your payment. This is done to confirm that the claimants are still unemployed and are available and able to start employment.
What To Do If Your Claim Is Denied?
If your claim is denied despite meeting all the eligibility criteria, then you must re-submit the application. The re-application holds good for gig workers, self-employed, or contractors who have applied before April 5th.
What To Do If You Are Overpaid?
At times, you may be overpaid than you are entitled to receive. Whether you are overpaid due to the mistakes you committed while filing form or some other reasons, you must repay the overpayment of unemployment benefits.
In Florida you can repay the amount by sending the payment to the United Collection Bureau (UCB). you can also repay using your credit card.
If you further have any queries regarding Reemployment Assistance program, contact DEO.
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.
- Visit Benefits Program Online and register yourself, if you are applying for the benefits for the first time.
- Next, log in to the Benefits Program Online
- Go to UI online and select file a claim
- Read the instructions and provide necessary information
- 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.
To help Americans who lost their jobs due to the Coronavirus, the federal government has announced financial relief measures. This includes Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC).
While PUA provides unemployment benefits to the self-employed, gig workers, etc., FPUC provides an additional $600 to those eligible for regular unemployment insurance benefits.
What Is Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation?
The Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation allows you to receive unemployment insurance benefits for an additional 13 weeks. This means that you can collect benefits for a longer period than under normal conditions.
Who Is Eligible For PEUC?
You must meet certain criteria to qualify for PEUC. The requirements include:
- You must have exhausted all your rights to regular benefits under federal or state law concerning the benefit year that ended on or after July 1, 2019. That is to qualify for PEUC benefits, you must have received 26 weeks of regular unemployment compensation UC on or after July 1, 2019.
- You must be able to work, actively seek work, and available to work. However, the bill specifies that “a state must provide flexibility in meeting this requirement in case the applicant is unable to look for work because of the Coronavirus, including quarantine, movement restriction or illness.”
- You have no rights to regular benefits under other federal or state UC laws or benefits under any other federal law.
The Department Of Labor has also issued guidlines, which states that the applicant is required only to exhaust regular unemployment compensation and not any extended UC to which he/she may be entitled.
Based on this guidance, you may receive PEUC for the ensuing 13 weeks, provided you meet the requirements mentioned above.
What Is The Weekly Benefit Amount?
For a week of total unemployment, the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation is the amount of regular benefit payable during the benefit year, plus $600 through July 31, 2020, under state law.
For a week of partial unemployment, the PEUC benefit is the amount of regular benefit payable during the benefit year for partial unemployment, plus $600 through July 31, 2020, under state law.
Where to Apply for PEUC?
If you are currently filing and receiving unemployment benefits, then you are not required to reapply for an additional 13 weeks. If you are not receiving, then you can apply for the benefits through a state-owned website for unemployment benefits.
- The action of filing the PEUC claim does not start payments. You are required to file a weekly certification for weeks you want to receive benefits from the PEUC program.
- Weeks for compensation start on Sunday and end on the following Saturday. That is, you can file for a week of unemployment on Sunday for the week that ended on Saturday.
- You have only 13 days to complete the certification to complete your certification. Failure to certify within the 13 days following the Saturday of the week you wish to receive benefits, may disqualify you for benefits for the week.
- Similar to regular unemployment insurance benefits, child support obligations must be deducted from your PEUC benefits.
- When receiving your PEUC benefit, you will be required to report your weekly claim each week to be paid. The authorities will use the same payment method used to pay your other benefits.
- When your claim expires, you are required to file a new claim, even if you still have a PEUC balance.
Is Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation Taxable?
PEUC is a federal program and is taxable. The benefits will be included on your 1099G for the 2020 tax year. However, taxes will be withheld from PEUC, provided you have elected to have taxes withheld from your regular UI benefits.
Though Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation is a federal program, it is administered at the state level. If you are unemployed but not eligible for the regular UI benefits, apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.
The Coronavirus pandemic has caused millions of Americans to lose their jobs. To help the unemployed meet their financial needs, the federal government has announced the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. This financial relief measure is for those individuals who are otherwise not eligible for Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits.
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance is a part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) act signed into law in March 2020.
Who Can Apply For PUA?
As said earlier, the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program provides monetary relief to those not qualified for regular UI benefits but meet the eligibility criteria for PUA. This includes the self-employed, 1099 independent contractors, employees of churches, gig workers, employees of nonprofits, or those seeking part-time employment.
Eligibility Criteria For PUA Benefits
To qualify for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance benefits, the applicant must meet certain criteria such as:
- Must not be eligible for other forms of UI benefits such as Unemployment Compensation for Federal Employees (UCFE), Extended Benefits (EB), Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), etc.
- Must have been scheduled to start a job for an employer
- Must have been self-employed or been scheduled to start self-employment
- Must not qualify for the UI benefits in another state or U.S. territory,
In addition to these requirements, the applicant must be fully or partially unemployed for any one of the qualifying reasons.
- The applicant is experiencing symptoms or diagnosed with Coronavirus and is seeking medical help
- A member of the applicant’s household has contracted Coronavirus
- The applicant is providing care for a family member diagnosed with Coronavirus
- The applicant is unable to reach this/her employment place because of quarantine imposed
- The applicant is unable to reach his/her employment place because a health care provider has advised him/her to self-isolate due to concerns related to Coronavirus
- The applicant had to quit his/her job as a direct result of Coronavirus
- The applicant’s place of employment has shut down as a result of the Coronavirus outbreak
- The applicant has been scheduled to commence a job but cannot reach the workplace due to the pandemic
- The head of the household lost his/her life due to Coronavirus, and the applicant is the major breadwinner
Documents Required To Apply For PUA
To apply for the PUA benefits, the applicant must submit the following documents.
- Proof of wages/income for the tax year January 1, 2019, to December 31, 2019
- Copies of pay stubs, IRS Form W-2 or IRS Form 1099, earning statements, schedule C, F, or SE, and federal income tax Form 1040 if the applicant is a 1099 independent contractor or an employee
- Copy of schedule 1, 2, C, F or SE tax return and IRS Form 1040 for self-employed
- Social Security Number
- Name and address of employer impacted due to the Coronavirus
How Is Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Amount Calculated?
The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program provides financial relief for up to 39 weeks. The benefit amount is calculated based on the guidelines set by the federal Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) program. The minimum benefit an applicant will receive is 50% of the state’s weekly unemployment benefit, i.e., $190 weekly.
How To Apply for PUA Benefits?
1. To apply for PUA, visit your state’s Department Of Labor (DOL) website.
- Click “File A Claim” to file for regular UI benefits. This is because to qualify for PUA you must be ineligible to receive UI benefits
- When you disqualify for UI benefits, you will automatically be redirected to “file for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance” page
- Submit your Social Security Number, driving license, telephone number, email address, etc. details
2. If your application does not include proof of income or employment details, provide them to the concerned authorities within 21 days by mail or fax.
- This can include scheduled C, F, etc. tax returns
- Final pay stub in 2019
- If you don’t have any of above-mentioned documents, you can provide 2018 federal tax returns details
- Proof of employment
3. Wait for the authorities to process your application. If you qualify for benefits, you will receive a determination letter, which will include instructions on how to file weekly claims.
4. File for weekly claims
Is PUA Taxable?
Similar to the UI benefits, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance is taxable income, and you need to report it on your federal income tax returns.
The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance is one among federal initiatives that aim at helping the unemployed make it through difficult times. If you have lost your source of income due to the Coronavirus, then waste no more time and apply for the PUA benefits.
The Coronavirus outbreak has caused an unprecedented job loss and financial crisis. To provide the unemployed with temporary financial support, states pay unemployment insurance (UI) benefits to the claimants. There are a lot of questions concerning this financial aid, one being, are unemployment insurance benefits taxable?
The answer is a big Yes. The federal government considers unemployment benefits as wages and subjects them to taxes. But, when it comes to state taxes, it depends solely on the state in which you live. Many states follow the federal rules and fully tax the UI benefits, while other states tax a portion of the benefits or don’t tax at all.
How Do Unemployment Benefit Taxes Work?
Unemployment insurance benefits are subject to different types of taxes: Federal Tax, State Tax, and City Tax.
1. Federal Taxes On UI Benefits
The UI benefits are subject to federal tax. The state unemployment benefit office will provide you with a 1099-G form, which tells you how much of your benefit is taxed and what you will retain. If you have received the UI benefits through a SUB plan, then they will be included on your W-2 as regular wages.
But if you received your benefits through a private fund, you only have to pay taxes on the received amount over your contributions and report it on Form 1040.
2. States Taxes
All states administer the unemployment insurance benefits, but not all of them subject the benefits to taxes. The states of California, Pennsylvania, Oregon, New Jersey, and Virginia do not subject UI benefits to taxes, whereas Indiana and Wisconsin require you to pay tax only on a portion of the benefit amount.
States like New Hampshire, Nevada, Florida, Tennessee, South Dakota, Washington, Alaska, Wyoming, and Texas do not require you to pay taxes on the wages.
But if you are not living in any of the above-listed states, then you must pay taxes on your unemployment benefits, just as you do for your federal income tax return.
3. City Taxes
Some cities of the United States have unique taxation requirements. Cincinnati, Detroit, Columbus, Cleveland, Kansas City, Toledo, and Louisville, require you to pay municipal taxes on your UI benefits.
How To File UI Benefits Taxes?
There is no separate process to file UI benefits taxes. Include the unemployment insurance benefits along with other reported incomes. But you have to requisition the following forms:
The state unemployment agency issues 1099-G form through a mail. The form identifies your Total Benefit Amount and the amount of federal taxes withheld the previous year if any. You need not attach this form to your federal income tax return but you may be required to for state income tax returns.
Your W-2 form should include your unemployment benefits, provided you have received them from a SUB plan. The W-2 form must be filed by your former employer, provided they employed you during that specific tax year.
Stimulus Packages And Taxes
Unemployment benefits are undoubtedly taxable but not the stimulus payments you are receiving during the Coronavirus pandemic. These payments are not considered as income but refundable income tax credit.
The stimulus packages are an advanced payment of a 2020 tax credit, that is calculated based on your 2018 or 2019 income. If your income was high in 2018 or 2019 but drops drastically within the adjusted 2020 gross income thresholds, you will qualify for the stimulus payment.
Whether you can get financial aid or not, no one wants to lose their job. However, if you are facing such unfortunate situations, then file for unemployment insurance benefits. But make sure you avoid committing common mistakes that can lead to denial or delay of your benefits.
The Families First Coronavirus Response Bill was signed into law on March 18, bringing potential relief to millions of Americans. Though it is a good beginning, dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic needs a lot more. Recognizing this, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) further expands unemployment, healthcare, etc. measures and aid.
The President signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act into law on March 27, 2020. This $2.2 trillion package brings relief to the highly stressed businesses, workers and families reeling from COVID-19, while also bolstering essential goods and services. We take a brief look at everything in this law that supports the unemployed, directly and indirectly.
The government is progressively expanding the unemployment insurance umbrella to cover as many people losing jobs as possible. It’s important to remember to file unemployment insurance claim as soon as you know you are losing your job. If you have exhausted your unemployment benefits you may be eligible for Extended Benefits. Keep reading for more details.
Provisions for Unemployment Assistance
This law extends the eligibility to the following persons:
- Those who are not eligible for regular unemployment compensation or Extended Benefits under Law Or Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation
- Those who have exhausted their regular UI benefits or Extended Benefits under law or Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation
- Those who can self-certify that they would be able and available to work however
- They are suspected to have contracted COVID-19 or are suffering from it
- A member of the household is suspected to have contracted COVID-19 or are suffering from it
- They are a caregiver for a member of the household suffering from COVID-19
- They are primary caregiver for a child unable to attend school closed due to the pandemic. Or for a family member unable to attend a facility that provides care usually.
- Unable to go to work or workplace closed due to self-quarantine recommended by healthcare workers
- Scheduled employment didn’t commence due to the pandemic
- They had to quit due to COVID-19
- Those who are self-employed, seeking part-time employment, without sufficient work history in the base period.
It excludes the following people:
- Those provided telework with pay
- Those availing paid sick leave
Period of UI Benefits
A covered individual can receive assistance for a maximum of 39 weeks. This includes the period for which one was able to get regular unemployment assistance, which is usually 26 weeks in most states with some exceptions. One can get Extended Benefits during the remaining period.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act waives the one week waiting period to get unemployment payments. The amounts will not be less than the normally calculated weekly benefits amounts. There will also be a weekly payment of $600 over the regular unemployment allowance, for four months.
The payments will arrive without the one week waiting period because the program is fully federally funded.
Elaboration of Extended Benefits
The law details the eligibility conditions to avail Extended Benefits as follows:
- Those who have exhausted regular compensation under state or federal Law for any benefit years after July 1, 2019.
- Those with no right to UI compensation or any other compensation under any federal law.
- Those who are able and available to work, and actively seeking work though they may not find work due to the pandemic.
They will get as much as they were entitled to get under the regular program or an equivalent amount.
Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act: Other Important Provisions
The CARES Act includes some other important measures to help mitigate the effects of massive job losses. The unemployment phenomenon has a trickle-down effect on people’s ability to meet their basic needs, which this law addresses. COVID-19 has caused an extraordinary situation where people can’t look for new jobs even if they wanted to.
Direct Cash Transfers
Individual Americans earning up to $75,000 will receive a one time transfer of $1200, while married couples earning up to $150,000 will receive $2,400. Families with children get an additional $500 per child.
This will help buy essential supplies and out-of-pocket meds.
Withdrawing From Your Investments
- 401(k) loan limits are now up to $100,000 from $50,000
- Required Minimum Distribution compulsions have been suspended from IRAs and 401(k) plans (at age 72). RMDs were meant to ensure that people didn’t avoid taxation on their retirement funds to leave them as inheritances.
- No early withdrawal penalty on withdrawing retirement accounts for COVID-19 related reasons.
Others CARES That Support People
- Americans need healthcare the most at this crucial time and thus the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act appropriates $127 billion to hospitals alone.
- The Act provides employee retention credits for businesses against an employer’s portion of payroll taxes, to encourage those trying to retain employees and paying them during this time.
- Employment development program like the State Trade Expansion Program from the Small Business Administration will continue to be funded.
- Funding for programs like the Geriatrics Workforce Enhancement Program will continue, potentially providing employment avenues for those interested in acquiring such training.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act is a big step in the right direction, addressing the large-scale unemployment concerns facing the country. At the end of the pandemic, the economy should not be in shambles and the law attempts to balance this with healthcare.
The real challenge lies in implementing the ambitious provisions effectively. People are facing problems accessing unemployment insurance departments at this point in time. The very first thing to do for the government is to scale up the capacity of state labor departments to help people file UI claims.
In a speedy display of rare bipartisanship, Congress voted to get The Families First Coronavirus Response Act and President Trump signed it into law, passed on March 18. The law brings welcome relief to states in need of funds to pay unemployment insurance to claimants. It commits $1 billion to cover the costs of processing and paying UI as well as 100% federal funding for Extended Benefits.
Also referred to as H.R. 6201, the law details provisions for paid sick leave to workers diagnosed with COVID-19 or caring for family members who may have the disease. There are certain requirements, which states must meet to get the funding. There are also welcome measures that look into other complementary aspects of combating this global pandemic.
What Are The Unemployment-Related Provisions?
This section of the overall act has been called the Emergency Unemployment Insurance Stabilization and Access Act of 2020. The biggest breather comes from the provision of $1 billion as emergency grants to states for the processing and payment of unemployment insurance benefits.
There is also a $500 million additional fund for staffing, technology requirements, systems, and other administrative costs. To obtain this $500 million assistance, the states have to:
- Make it mandatory for employers to notify the laid-off employees about potential UI eligibility
- Provide two ways to apply for UI by phone, in person or online
- Keep applicants informed about the status of their application- whether or not its being processed and how to improve the success rate of processing
States which experience at least a 10% increase in unemployment may receive emergency grants worth $500 million. This is over the aforementioned provision. These states would be required to:
- temporarily ease eligibility requirements such as work search and waiting period so that more people can access UI
- increase employer UI taxes if they layoff too many workers
- Ease UI restrictions which are a part of federal law
The Families-First Coronavirus Response Act enables states to get access to interest-free advances to meet unemployment-related needs until Dec 31, 2020.
The law also anticipates that the Extended Benefits program will be needed with the unemployment rate likely to rise over 10%. Hence funding for Extended
Benefits will totally be federal whereas 50% of funding would come from states at other times.
States which offer work-sharing programs can get assistance from the Secretary of Labor. This enables workers to get reduced pay instead of layoff. Employers opting for this plan get some incentives and assistance.
What Should You Do To Get Unemployment Compensation?
You can read all about how to collect unemployment benefits if you got laid off due to the Coronavirus pandemic here.
Most states have waived the waiting period, work search requirements and allowed part-time workers and the self-employed to file for unemployment benefits. If eligible you will receive your Determination Letter.
The new law does not require claimants to do anything outside of the ordinary application process to claim unemployment insurance benefits.
It is best to file claims online as most states have a shortage of staff across unemployment offices due to the massive surge in UI applications. There will be delays if you try phone filing or in-person visits.
What Can A Worker Expect From The Families First Coronavirus Response Act?
- Governments and private businesses with fewer than 500 employees have to provide up to two weeks of paid sick leave at the regular wage rate if anyone contracts COVID-19
- Those employees staying away to care for a sick family member or a child out of school are entitled to the same but at two-thirds of the regular wage rate
- Sick workers also get an additional 10 weeks off at two-thirds of the regular wage rate
- Companies with fewer than 50 employees will be exempted from these rules if they risk going out of business due to closure
What Are The Other Helpful Provisions Of This Law?
The fight against the Coronavirus pandemic requires a multi-pronged approach. Hence the Families First Coronavirus Response Act addresses various other requirements.
- Health Insurance coverage at no cost to the customer for COVID-19 diagnostic testing under both private plans and Medicaid.
- States can extend Medicaid eligibility to cover uninsured populations.
- Medicaid will cover beneficiary cost-sharing for healthcare practitioner visits that order the test.
- Personal Respiratory Protective Devices will be covered as countermeasures against COVID-19
- Enhanced Medicaid funding
- National Disaster Medical System will be able to reimburse the cost of diagnostic testing for SARS-Cov19 of insured individuals with a grant of $1bn
Food and Nutrition clauses
- $250 million for the Senior Nutrition Program which will supply about 25 million additional home-delivered, pre-packaged meals to low-income seniors.
- The Emergency Food Assistance Program gets $300 million to buy nutritious food and $100 million to supply and distribute it.
- Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women Infants and Children gets $500 million so that laid-off low-income pregnant women and mothers and their children get food.
- Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) of food assistance to households with children who get meals in school and aren’t now due to COVID-19 shutdowns
- No work requirements for “food stamp” program
What Is the Path Forward for The United States?
The Families First Act is a welcome beginning but will need to be expanded to cover various groups who will be left to fend for themselves. As of now, employers with over 500 employees do not have to provide paid leave. This includes workers in banks, grocery chains, etc. who come into contact with hundreds of people daily.
The vast majority of people will be left without protection from the financial hit of getting laid-off. Many applicants do not qualify for unemployment benefits due to having inadequate hours or wages. Further easing of restrictions is necessary.
Many states had cut unemployment staff and benefits on the back of good economic growth over the past couple of years. Twenty-three states had inadequate unemployment trust funds, though the new act should address this.
The technological capabilities will need to be scaled up largely to deal with the massive surge in UI applications as well as other forms of assistance. With so many people having to say home, there is also a shortage of manpower to provide state essential services. States have plans to employ workers to meet this requirement.
The Coronavirus Response Act has addressed all the different war fronts along which this pandemic will have to be fought with allocations for disaster response, food, Medicaid and veteran care, etc. As the situation evolves the US will have to prepare itself to deal with whatever this new world order will dish out.
Are you on the job hunt and not hearing back from the companies you applied to? Well, they could be numerous reasons as to why you do not hearing back from jobs you applied for. Not knowing where you stand in your job search can be pretty stressful for you. The uncertainty on whether you should keep applying for more jobs or wait for a response from previous interviews and positions you applied to is the real challenge.
If you’re in such a position where you lack clarity, its best to keep chugging along and apply to more companies out there, the more companies you apply to higher the chance of you getting hired and landing that dream job.
Here are some reasons we’ve listed out why organizations don’t get back to applicants :
The Company Size Matters
It’s always polite and the correct thing to do for companies to inform potential employees whether they are selected or not. Many large companies do have adequate software and resources, which makes it easier to notify applicants whether they are selected or not. On the other hand, smaller companies lack resources and reserves in place to inform candidates whether they are the right fit or not.
Your Resume is Not the Right Fit
You might be the right candidate for the job, but your resume does not show it Not Hearing Back From Jobs can be really frustrating. You should frame your resume to display the best skill set that you possess. It’s also not a bad idea to frame your resume based on the job description for every job you apply to. This increases your chances of getting an interview call and getting that dream job.
Your Resume Format is Incorrect
If you’ve sent out a resume that is not correctly formatted and includes typos and errors, there is a high chance you will not receive a call from the company. You must know your resume is your first chance to leave a good impression on your potential employer.
The Documentation Could be Incorrect
You may not have submitted the required documentation the company asked for. For e.g., it could be anything ranging from a cover letter, writing samples, or references. Applicants should know this if a potential employer asks for any documentation regarding a job prospect, you must submit the information. This improves your chances of getting a job.
Change in Hiring Plans
Companies can change hiring plans at any given point in time. The required position which a candidate applied for may not be needed anymore. Or budget concerns may have delayed the hiring process currently. The management may have changed, or an internal candidate may have been hired for the role.
Not hearing back jobs you applied for can be frustrating. What you need to do is be patient and keep applying to other companies. Another thing you can do is follow up by calling up the company or sending an email to know where you stand. If you are unemployed currently, fileunemployment.org provides job seekers with relevant information about UI benefits present in each state in America. You can also use our unemployment calculator to know how much benefits you are eligible for. Information on our site helps job seekers connect with your nearest unemployment office and also provides a list of phone numbers.
Unemployment Insurance (UI) fraud includes collecting UI benefits that are based on providing false, unreported, or misreported information while filing a claim. Anyone who is filing a claim, reopening a claim, or certifying for UI benefits is legally responsible to make sure that they follow the requirements that are set by the law of the state that they reside in. UI fraud can occur in more than one form, it could range from intended criminal activity to someone providing incomplete or inaccurate data that results in receiving UI benefits.
What Happens When You Falsely Claim Unemployment Benefits?
Falsely claiming UI benefits is considered to be Unemployment fraud and can lead to serious penalties and consequences. The penalties can range from monetary fines, penalty weeks of unemployment to serving a prison term.
Irrespective of whether the person commits unemployment benefits intentionally, unknowingly, or even if it is a clerical error, the amount needs to be repaid to the state’s labor office. The labor office sends the concerned person a benefits overpayment notice that contains the details of how much unemployment benefits they owe the state. The details for repayment differ from one state to the other. If the person does not repay the money in time or set up a payment plan, the debt is transferred to a collection agency and may also show on one’s credit card report.
Certain states assess penalty weeks to people who indicate an intention to defraud the unemployment insurance plan. Penalty weeks refer to the weeks of unemployment benefits that the person may qualify for at any given point in future but will not be receiving it as a punishment for over collecting the benefits in the past. This system differs from benefits repayment in numerous cases. In penalty weeks, the person first pays back what he/she has fraudulently collected and then serves several weeks of unemployment without payment.
In a case where the state labor department has discovered that a person has intentionally set out to defraud the unemployment program, he/she can face a criminal prosecution for it. In such a situation, the case goes to criminal court where a judge reviews the evidence of the case against the accused to establish whether he/she is guilty of the intent of UI fraud. If the judge finds the crime to be severe and warrants it, the person may be assessed a monetary fine. The fine does not include repaying the overdrawn benefits, and it to be paid to the court.
In the severest cases of UI fraud, the person guilty needs to serve prison time. This is usually given to those who exhibit numerous counts of fraud or defraud the state of large amounts through benefits received from illegal ways. The period of prison time differs according to the state law and the preceding judge’s discretion. The jail time usually varies from one year and can go upto five years as well.
Cases Where People Have Been Caught with Unemployment Insurance Fraud
Unemployment Insurance fraud seldom goes unnoticed. They can be identified through a number of ways. Some of them include:
- New employers hire reports
- Quality Control Audits
- Public tips by internet, telephone or mail
- Claim Center Referrals
- Cross-matches with some government records
- Other investigative efforts
Mentioned below are a few cases of UI fraud along with the verdicts of the presiding judges.
Unemployment Insurance Fraud in Ann Arbor, Michigan
Three individuals, Kenneth Dixon, Jamela Washington, and Natika Washington were convicted following a 5-day jury trial in Ann Arbor. The charges were related to identity theft, it involved fraudulently claiming unemployment benefits.
The defendants were charged with the use of counterfeit access devices, theft of government money, identity theft, and conspiracy to commit those offenses. The evidence presented at trial determined that between October 2009 until April 2012, the accused were systematically involved in a conspiracy to obtain the personal information of unsuspecting victims, and then used that information to submit fraudulent online claims for unemployment compensation benefits.
The guilty verdicts of the three individuals were the cumulation of an expansive investigation into a conspiracy that victimized individuals by stealing their identities and defrauded the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency of more than $400,000. All three guilty individuals were sentenced to serve 10 years of federal prison time in September 2017.
Indiana Unemployment Insurance Fraud Case
William Hicks, 45, of Indiana was charged with unemployment fraud after which he pleaded guilty. The department discovered that Hicks was working and receiving wages while claiming unemployment insurance benefits through the agency records.
Hicks was sentenced to two years of probation in addition to repaying the benefits that were fraudulently claimed. The amount of falsely claimed benefits exceeded $38,000.
Unemployment Insurance Fraud Case, Miami
An Indiana Department of Workforce Development (IDWD) employee began to investigate Joseph Meier and found evidence that he was claiming unemployment insurance benefits while he was working and receiving wages.
39-year old Meier was ordered to pay back $12,607, to the state after he pleaded guilty of unemployment insurance fraud. Meier was sentenced to one year of probation and ordered to repay the amount of benefits claimed along with 8% of interest per annum for the benefits that were fraudulently collected.
Unemployment Insurance Benefits Fraud in Michigan City & Indiana
Leo Wilson, 51 of Michigan City was sentenced to 2 years of probation and ordered to repay the department $22,836.50 for the benefits that he had fraudulently collected.
Sherry Beoughter, 46, of Valparaiso was sentenced to 545 days of probation and ordered to repay $13,334.10 for the benefits that she fraudulently collected.
The IDWD’s unemployment insurance fraud investigation task force identified the pair. The force examines claims of individuals who provide false, misreported, or unreported information on purpose in order to fraudulently avail benefits.
Unemployment Insurance Fraud Case, Iowa
A Williamsburg man was convicted of unemployment fraud and was ordered to serve a 100 day jail term for defrauding Iowa’s unemployment insurance program. Paul Meade, 55, had been convicted of fraudulent practice in third degree.
Meade said that he filed for unemployment insurance benefits between December 27, 2015 and June 25, 2016. All through the period, Meade was being paid by Whirlpool Corp.
Meade pleaded guilty to the charge on July 20, 2017. The state department states that Meade collected $10,747 worth of benefits during the 6-month period. It also announced that he would have to repay $12,359.05 to the state; which includes more than $1,600 as penalty.
Tips to Avoid Unemployment Insurance Fraud
The best way to avoid committing UI fraud is to first understand what must not be done and what needs to be done. Sometimes people are unaware that they are falsely claiming for benefits.
Here are some tips to follow to avoid committing unemployment insurance fraud:
- Always report your employment before you make a claim. Employment includes cash jobs, self-employment, commission, 1099 or temporary
- Do not misrepresent information or make a false statement to increase or receive benefits
- Always report your work refusals
- Do not fabricate job searches. Conduct enough work research
- Always report a work separation
- Do not use another individual’s identity (name and/or social security number) to file for insurance payments
- Always report other types of reimbursements such as Worker’s Compensation payments
- You must report it if you are incapable and not available to work (for example, sickness, injured, living abroad, etc)
- Do not help someone else file a fraudulent insurance claim
What Can You Do If You’ve Unknowingly Committed UI Fraud?
Whether you commit UI fraud unknowingly or intentionally, you need to pay back all the benefits that you have collected. The payment may also include a penalty that could go up to 50% of that sum. In most cases, it may also include getting disqualified from receiving future benefits. In severe cases where the amount withdrawn is too high, the person may also face fines or look at prison time. However, the policies that oversee unemployment insurance fraud vary from state to state.
If you have committed unemployment insurance fraud by mistake, it’s best to notify the department of labor and offer to repay the amount collected. UI fraud hardly ever goes unnoticed. You will definitely have to repay the amount that you have overdrawn, you might also have to pay a small fine. But it’s most likely to not be more severe that than.
If you are currently unemployed and on the lookout for jobs, keep your optimism levels high. Search for jobs endlessly and attend as many interviews as you can. Good times are always ahead and the most important thing to stay hopeful and search endlessly. You can also visit Community Forums to interact with peers and professionals to seek guidance during this time.