August 30, 2020
The JUSTLAW Team

Unemployment in August/September of 2020- should you apply?

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the unemployment rate experienced some of its lowest numbers in history. Enter April 2020, and that drastically changed for the worse. The unemployment rate skyrocketed as businesses shut down and lay-offs became a norm for most people. If you survived a lay-off, you potentially still had to deal with a salary cut.

Due to the pandemic, people who received unemployment received an extra $600. As many battled losing their jobs and not having the ability to earn any money, the $600 helped them get through the pandemic. However, the extra $600 payment expired on July 31st. So now what?

On August 8th, 2020, President Trump directed the federal government to provide $300 in extra payments, a 50% decrease from the previous payments through the end of July. The President explained that the maximum a person could receive is $400, contingent on the state providing the extra $100 for each person receiving benefits. The decrease comes as a result of a belief that the $600 acted as a disincentive. In other words, it pushed people to stay at home and not look for work. Opponents to decreasing the extra payments claim that the $600 is necessary as many companies went out of business as a result of the pandemic and thus fewer jobs are available to the unemployed.

Therefore, while there is a decrease in extra payments, you should still apply if you are eligible. Take these four elements into consideration to help you decide whether to apply:

1. You were fired, or you quit
If you quit, you likely are not eligible for unemployment benefits. Unemployment benefits are reserved for those who were terminated from their jobs due to no fault of their own. Therefore, if you lost your job due to the pandemic, you are eligible for unemployment.
However, there are certain cases where you can receive unemployment benefits even if you were fired or quit. If you quit or were fired as a result of discrimination, you will be eligible for unemployment since that was to no fault of your own. Moreover, you could sue and if so, consider JustLaw for cheap affordable legal services. Furthermore, if you quit due to a sharp reduction in pay or hours, you could be eligible, as you had to quit because of reduced opportunity to earn income.

2. You must have patience
You are not alone in requesting unemployment aid, so patience is key. Upon your initial claim, you could wait up to 2-3 weeks before you receive any benefits. Therefore, file your claim immediately in order to ensure that you receive benefits as soon as possible.

3. Fill out your claim with honesty
You need to have an accurate claim or else you could be denied. Any mistake could cause a suspicion of fraud. This could severely delay your benefits from arriving or even disqualify you from any benefits at all. Therefore, be truthful and candid.

4. Seek a job
Although it might seem nice, you cannot simply collect unemployment without seeking a job. You must be actively seeking employment. And if you don’t know how, help will be administered to you in order for you to have a wider range of resources to search for a job.

* * * * * *

Good luck as you navigate through the lasting effects of the pandemic. Also keep
in mind that if the pandemic has forced you into debt, JustLaw is always here to help
you navigate through that debt and knock it out of the park. We are just a click away.