Partial Unemployment Benefits During COVID-19

Updated : March 24th, 2023

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). 

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