Tips for Applying for Unemployment During COVID
The COVID-19 pandemic has left many people without jobs or unable to work due to reasons beyond their control. Unemployment benefits can provide a lifeline to those who find themselves without work and, fortunately, unemployment eligibility has been expanded to include many people who would not have qualified prior to the pandemic.
Navigating the unemployment application process can be challenging. At Foley Law Firm, our personal injury attorneys would like to help by providing the following tips for applying for unemployment during COVID for our clients in Scranton, PA, Stroudsburg, PA, Wilkes-Barre, PA, and neighboring areas.
Check for Unemployment Eligibility
Even if you think you may not qualify for unemployment, it is important to check your eligibility. Many states have changed unemployment eligibility requirements due to the widespread and unprecedented effect state-mandated shutdowns have had on jobs. Some people who may now be eligible for unemployment include:
- Freelance and gig workers
- Part time workers
- Those who received a job offer but lost the offer as a result of the pandemic
- Those who had their pay or hours reduced
- Those with little or no work history
Apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance
The state of Pennsylvania offers pandemic specific assistance called Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, or “PUA.” PUA is intended to help those who are able and willing to work but have lost their job, are partially unemployed, or unable to work due to reasons related to COVID-19.
It provides 39 weeks of benefits, which may be applied retroactively for work lost due to COVID-19 on or after January 27, 2020.
COVID-19 Diagnosis Qualifies for Unemployment Under the CARES Act
The CARES Act is a federal law that expands unemployment coverage in several ways, including to those who are unable to work due to a COVID-19 diagnosis, whether it's the worker or a member of the worker's household.
Additionally, those who are advised to quarantine by a health care professional and are unable to go to their place of employment may also qualify and should apply.
Make It Clear Your Unemployment Is Due to the Pandemic
If you have lost your job due to the pandemic or your inability to work is somehow related to COVID-19, it is important to make that clear on your unemployment application. This can help ensure the provisions of the CARES Act are appropriately applied to your situation.
Applying Can Be Difficult, But Don't Give Up
Applying for unemployment can be difficult at this time as websites and unemployment offices are overwhelmed with an immense volume of applicants.
Although it may be a struggle marked by many hours spent on hold on the phone or having to start an application over when the unemployment website crashes, it's important to be persistent until your application is processed.
Schedule a Consultation with Foley Law Firm
If you require legal representation, the attorneys of Foley Law Firm are ready to assist you. To schedule a consultation, please call our law firm at (570) 342-8194.