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Eligibility for Unemployment Benefits When Job Loss Is Due to Coronavirus

Eligibility for Unemployment Benefits When Job Loss Is Due to Coronavirus

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, passed by the federal government and signed into law on March 30, authorizes expanded unemployment benefits for Americans. Due to the major economic crisis triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, there are several distinctions from the traditional programs that states use to support employees who have been dismissed.

If you lost your job, have been furloughed or are experiencing a reduction in hours due to the coronavirus, there are some things you should know about the new law, including:

  • Benefits for victims of temporary layoffs and self-employed individuals Under the CARES Act, payments are available for employees who are temporarily laid off due to coronavirus measures as well as self-employed individuals who have lost income. Traditionally, to receive unemployment benefits, you had to lose your job, but here you might be able to collect payment if you have been unable to report to your workplace because of a coronavirus quarantine or because you need to care for an afflicted family member.

  • Eligibility for independent contractors — Independent contractors should know that the CARES Act extends unemployment benefits to them as well. Gig workers and others who are hired on a project-by-project basis are encouraged to apply, even if they tried in the past and did not receive unemployment benefits.

  • Partial unemployment benefits may be awarded — Many states allow part-time workers to apply for unemployment benefits. Typically, these payments are based on the percentage someone works of the standard 40-hour week. Under the CARES Act, it may be easier to receive such benefits.

  • Additional pay for unemployment recipients In addition to expanding eligibility, the CARES Act increases the weekly benefit amount that the states currently provide by $600. An end date for this additional payment was included in the initial bill, so you should check with your state or an attorney to see if it still applies.

  • Extended benefits — Most states offer around 26 weeks of unemployment benefits. That amount may be more or less depending on the jurisdiction. The CARES Act provides an additional 13 weeks of benefits for people who are still unemployed after their state benefit period runs out.

Unemployment benefits vary by state. Due to an overwhelming increase in applicants, many states’ systems have been overburdened. This may lead to unwarranted denials of benefits for eligible individuals, as well as other problems. An experienced and knowledgeable employment attorney can help you navigate the unemployment benefit application process.

Contact a knowledgeable employment law attorney for advice on your issue

Deutsch Atkins & Kleinfeldt, P.C. assists clients with various types of employment law issues, including questions about unemployment benefits. To set up an appointment, please call 551-245-8894 or contact the firm online.

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Neil H. Deutsch
Retired

About Neil H. Deutsch has been practicing law for over 35 years and is known as a skilled negotiator in employment and discrimination law. He believes in a bottom-line approach of risk analysis and cost effectiveness for his clients. "Case evaluation is something we take seriously," says Mr. Deutsch who seeks top net dollar for…

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Bruce L. Atkins
Senior Partner

About Bruce L. Atkins is regarded as one of New Jersey’s premier practitioners of employment and civil litigation. He has been selected to the New Jersey Super Lawyers prestigious list every year since 2005.  This honor, bestowed upon a recipient by the votes of his peers, is a powerful nod to the skill Mr. Atkins…

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Adam J. Kleinfeldt
Partner

About Adam J. Kleinfeldt joined Deutsch Atkins & Kleinfeldt, P.C. in March of 2015.  He primarily represents individuals in employment litigations such as discrimination, retaliation, and whistle blowing matters.  He has extensive experience in all phases of the litigation process. Adam has obtained significant results for some of his clients, including a $525,000 jury verdict…

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Diane Englander Peyser
Attorney

About Diane Englander Peyser joined Deutsch Atkins & Kleinfeldt, P.C. in September 2018 where she represents employees in wrongful termination, retaliation, harassment, and discrimination matters. Prior to joining Deutsch Atkins & Kleinfeldt, P.C., Diane represented clients in all aspects of employment law on behalf of employees involving unemployment appeals, claims of sexual harassment, LGBT discrimination,…

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Debra M. McGarvey
Attorney

About Debra M. McGarvey joined Deutsch Atkins & Kleinfeldt, P.C. in December 2019. She has extensive experience defending employees and employers in state and federal court in employment litigation matters. She has represented clients on various issues arising out of the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD), the New Jersey Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA),…

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