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Unemployment in Health Care Services During Coronavirus Pandemic

Updated : August 4th, 2020

Unemployment in Health Care Services

Yes, you read that right. We are all well aware of the importance of healthcare professionals at this crucial time. We read about the admirable efforts of frontline doctors, nurses, administrative staff, etc in handling the burden of patients. They are out there risking their health for our benefit.

And yet, The Employment Situation tells us that 43,000 jobs disappeared. How did the Coronavirus pandemic cause unemployment in Health Care Services? At the same time, the news also reports a shortage of healthcare professionals. What is happening? We will find out in this post.

Let’s begin by glancing at the sector during normal times when the economy is up and running. How were things before COVID-19 hit?

Overview of Health Care Services Sector

The sector employed an estimated 19.1 million people in 2018, considering the social assistance sector as well, which is closely linked in its function. The top 3 roles employing a maximum number of people are registered nurses, nursing assistants, and personal care aides. Physicians are the 5th largest role.

Work in this sector is mentally and physically demanding with people working an average of 35 hours per week. Employees earn an average of $28.30 per hour, though there is much variation with the role.

Impact of COVID-19

Despite the US being one of the top countries in medical spending, the surge in COVID-19 cases has stretched the healthcare system thin. Reports of shortages of masks, ventilators, beds, and other protective and emergency equipment are rife.

Due to lockdowns and stay-at-home orders in most states, job losses have taken place in dentists’ offices, physicians and other healthcare practitioners. The widespread unemployment in other sectors has blown back upon dentists, dermatologists, chiropractors, etc. whose services aren’t seen as a grave necessity in times requiring high savings. The medical assistance staff in such places also get furloughed.

Since elective surgeries have been put on hold, the associated staff have been furloughed. Hospitals have been compelled to send staff home and cut physicians’ pay because they haven’t the funds to deal with the pandemic. The CARES act funds are yet to arrive at the time this post is being written.

Caregiving staff cannot work due to the stay-at-home orders. The trickle-down effect of employment across the economy means that people may not be able to afford specialized care, either.

Jobs Still Hiring in Health Care Services

Some health care institutions like hospitals may be open to hiring administrative positions, janitorial staff, etc. States have expressed a need to recall retired nurses owing to the shortage due to the disease burden. Some of those skills are transferable to the pharma sector which may be interested in recruiting given the acceleration of drug testing.

Future Prospects For Health Care Services (And Social Assistance)

The under-preparation demonstrated by the healthcare system has shone a light upon the deficiencies of the sector. The US has been criticized for underspending on public health care. 

Considering the onslaught of climate change, it will be necessary to prepare for future public health emergencies like this one. Many people will be displaced and suffer from diseases in the future as weather extremes like heat waves and sea-level rise are predicted.

It is likely that this sector will recover very quickly when the economy runs at full strength again. There is a push to increase testing capacity and human capital in health care supporting companies including the pharma sector. This could lead to new job opportunities. 

The pandemic has underscored the necessity for data collection and analyses, so there should be opportunities especially for graduates who can pick up these skills. Mental health awareness is only rising and perhaps the pandemic will end with the need to address traumas caused by it. 

With the increase in the geriatric population, there should be scope for those having and willing to acquire geriatric care and social assistance skills. Also, social workers, community outreach workers, etc. have important roles to play in harmonious living and should quickly recover once stay-at-home orders lift.

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  1. So I have been getting ue for 6 months and on Oct 21 I had a fact finding issue found and cleared after taking a month, I got put on hold I got nothing no benefits nothing because I am on hold until cleared up and it was another month later in my favor, I’ve been without payment since Oct 21 since then I have been on HOLD, I am beyond pissed, I call every Fri I see the letter I received saying its in my favor that says I am Monetary Eligible-yet I still have 6 payments on hold. I call DEO and I talk, I beg and I get told “we are working on it”, the letter is in my favor I am poor not rich I am poor Why how do you people get away with this

  2. Hello

    I’m 59 years old and was laid off in March 2020 due to Covid.
    In June 2020 I was advised my job was eliminated and there is no chance of me
    Being brought back. I’m collecting UI since March.

    Pondering the thought of taking my early retirement pension as I can’t survive on
    UI any longer. My pension is of course reduced due to my age. Full pension is age 62.

    If I apply for early reduced pension in this situation, does my UI benefit get decreased? I’m in New York.
    I’m still looking for full time work. No luck.

    Thank you so much
    Lorraine

  3. i was just layed off from my job, i did collect benefits in pa. my job is seasonal igot unemployment payments in jan. to april i had 26 weeks of unemployment , but only used about 13 weeks, and was called back to work. i received 2 weeks of 600 dollars of stimlus money. my question is now that i reopened my 2020 claim . i,m i still elegibe for any more stimlus payments along with my regular unemployment payments.

  4. I am 65 yrs old in California and being layed off in Dec 2020. If I apply for unemployment benefits and collect a company pension, will the pension reduce the unemployment benefits ? If you answer call unemployment what is the department or do you have a phone number for a help line. I have called and get automated questions that do not apply to my situation.
    Cannot get to a live person.

  5. Several years ago I was part of a reduction in force and was early-retired for pension purposes. I count on this small pension ($2K/mo) to supplement my employment which has been inconsistent this past two years. I am filing for UI in IL and I qualify for it, but they are saying my pension reduces my UI benefit to zero. Is that right?

    1. Mike,

      That is partially right. The pension will have an impact on UI benefits. Please check for relevant info on the Unemployment Office’s website.

  6. I have $219.00 left on my UE and still no work due to covid-19 will i be able to get a extension on my UE and will it cover the last two weeks. I request payment tomorrow.

      1. My benefits have expired, still.unemployed due to over 65, wdiebrtes, high blood pressure and have one kidney, Can I get PUA , Cares Act for any assistance

  7. im working at a place i have been layed off from a lot in my career.i got 30 yrs in there so i can retire now but need another job to make it hoping to stay working and get more hours.If i take a new job and get layed off there I will BE DRAWING 1400 A MONTH FROM THE JOB I WORKED 30 YRS would i be able to draw unemployment if the new job lays me off and would it be reduced because of my retirement money of 1400 month.

  8. My bf was laid off in April he got the the 600 to start with now he is only getting the unemployment and no extra when we hear ppl getting 3 checks totaling 40k that might be lies but still that is bullshit.

  9. I Sharon Bland or Sharon Scott or Sharon Ann Mccraw
    Use my phone to claim two of my boyfriends and my own benefits. Is that ok ?

  10. I’m getting pua on employment and it was supposed to be backdated to May 27th when I wasn’t ableable to start my new job and somehow it’s August 24th they said it would be backdated been sending messages and pua people keep saying they have emailed you guys too but nobody gets back to me who do I need to contact about this thank you

  11. I check my checking account balance every week but I cannot tell if I am getting my 300.00 extra unemployment. Also. How can I tell if I got my back time unemployment .

    1. Thelma,

      I did not understand what you meant. Please reach out to the Unemployment Office for precise answers to all your questions.

  12. I have exhausted my UI and all extensions. Not eligible for Fed Ed. Does EDD open a PUA claim for me. Or do I have to aoole for it. Its been past 30 days since receiving my Fed Ed denial letter.

  13. i have been unemployed for the whole year almost and since i have been trying to distance myself to better my all around health, it took me this long to file for benefits, i was hoping to get back pay all the way to the beginning.

    1. Zach,

      To qualify, the claimant is required to have sufficient earnings/employment during the “Base Period”. Please use the “Benefits Calculator” available on this website for more.

  14. Thank you o much for investigating this. When I received an overpayment statement and my benefits where stopped I felt my heart drop to my stomach. Already being evicted by a slumlord and now no income, i had to start working when i feel very at risk for getting the virus because of pre-existing conditions and the reason for filing in the first place. i am a cosmetologist and considered non-essential. I feel utterley hopeless and helpless in this situation.

  15. I cannot contact anyone in the unemployment offices because the phone hangs up on me in all cases after listening over and over the recorded message. I have called three numbers .

    I have received pandemic unemployment since March 31st. There was a pending adjudication but I never received any questions, letters nor emails about it and I was approved and paid. Now…this is what the website says:
    7 of 7 entries
    Issue Identification Number Employer Name Issue Type Status Date Mailed Level
    0002 7693 59-01
    PUA Pending 11/16/2020 Adjudication
    0002 4773 71-01
    Program Integrity Mailed 11/6/2020 Adjudicati
    Claimant Inbox
    Select the Search button to display your action items. To narrow your search, input issue date range below and select the Search button.
    Issue Date: From: To: 11/6/2020 to 11/16/2020
    Inbox
    • Below are the items that require your attention and that you need to take action on for your claim.
    • Select the Document ID
    I need this money to survive as others do while I am trying to re-establish any contract freelance work I am capable of doing….I report my small jobs as I get them but they do not come close to equaling my unemployment as of yet. Please tell me where I can go to find out what is needed here.

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