Everything we know about unemployment benefits during the coronavirus pandemic - Business Insider

You can apply for unemployment benefits on your state's website

5/1/2020 11:57:00 PM

You can apply for unemployment benefits on your state's website

Under the CARES Act, the government expanded the scope of unemployment insurance to pay more money for a longer period of time.

 to receive benefits.You may choose to call your state to apply, but due to long wait times amid the coronavirus outbreak, you can probably apply more quickly by filling out an online application.Be ready with your bank account details, previous employer contact information, and job history for the last 18 months.

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Who doesn't get unemployment insurance?Undocumented immigrants cannot collect unemployment benefits, nor can workers who are on paid sick leave or paid family leave.Do I qualify for unemployment if I was furloughed?Yes. Furloughed workers do not usually qualify for unemployment insurance, but they do under the CARES Act. 

Do I qualify for unemployment if I was laid off?Yes.Do I qualify for unemployment if I quit my job?No. You usually have to be unemployed "through no fault of your own" to receive benefits, so voluntarily leaving a job would not qualify.Do I qualify for unemployment if I was freelancing or self-employed? headtopics.com

Yes. Self-employed people are now eligible for benefits under a program called Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA).Many states are still rolling out this program and have yet to approve applicants or pay out benefits, so check your state's website for updated information. If you qualify for benefits, you can get paid retroactively for an unemployment period beginning on or after January 27, 2020. Benefits last up to 39 weeks.

Do I qualify for unemployment if I was a contractor or gig worker?Yes. Contractors are included in the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program.Do I qualify for unemployment if my hours were cut back, but I'm still working part-time?You might.

"The question isn't whether you're employed, it's whether you're working," Andrew Stettner, a senior fellow at The Century Foundation,. He told Business Insider's Katie Warren and Marguerite Ward that measure often includes furloughed workers and workers with severely reduced hours, and that about half of states offer unemployment benefits for part-time workers.

Do I qualify for unemployment if my employer is paying me using the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)?No, people cannot get a paycheck through PPP and unemployment benefits at the same time. PPP is designed to safeguard employment at existing small businesses. PPP helps them cover worker salaries as well as fixed expenses like rent and utilities through a government-backed loan. headtopics.com

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That federal loan is forgiven if the business doesn't fire its employees and keeps them on payrolls — and off unemployment systems.Can states run out of unemployment money for people?No. Statescan borrow cashfrom the federal government when the funding set aside for jobless benefits is depleted.

But they will have to pay the loan back down the road. That would likely lead to state governments adjusting their budgets to take into account the federal payments, since they usually can't run deficits.Is there a downside to applying for unemployment? 

No. If you think you might qualify for unemployment benefits under the expanded programs put in place by the CARES Act, just apply.Are unemployment benefits taxed?Yes, you have to report any unemployment compensation you receive on your federal tax return and potentially your state return as well. The money will ultimately be included in your gross income and taxed at your ordinary income rate.

You do, however, have a choice of how you'd like to pay the tax you owe — either through withholding or estimated quarterly payments.If you want your taxes automatically taken from your benefit check or direct deposit before you get paid, like they would be from a traditional paycheck, then you need to file  headtopics.com

Form W-4V (Voluntary Withholding Request). This will instruct the payor — most likely your state government — to withhold 10% of each payment for federal income taxes. It will also take a portion of the money for state taxes, if applicable. Read more: Business Insider »

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