The unfortunate reality of the global coronavirus pandemic is that it has led to an economic downturn we haven’t seen in some while — and with this economic downturn, many businesses and companies have resorted to laying off their workers in an effort to stay solvent. While jobless reports are delayed, many experts forecast that by April we could a reduction in total jobs ranging anywhere from 500,000 to 5 million.
The hope is that this is all temporary, and language coming from the White House confirms that there are plans to ensure it remains just that. However, keep in mind that these are unprecedented times, and even if you’ve been laid off today and expect to be called back in a matter of weeks, there’s no shame in taking advantage of unemployment benefits in the meantime.
Based on the stimulus package recently passed by the U.S. Senate, unemployment benefits during this period don’t just include more money through the program than what you’d typically receive, but also health insurance benefits. The bottom line is that if you’ve been laid off or furloughed, you’d be wise to take advantage of the programs that are designed to help you weather the storm.
So, in the meantime, it’s worth filing for unemployment if you haven’t already. Here’s how:
- 1. Visit the U.S. Department of Labor’s CareerOneStop page, and select the state you reside in. You’ll likely be able to file right online, and there should be a phone number you can call if you need assistance or want additional information.
- 2. You’ll need some documents and information to file your claim. This includes your Social Security number, driver’s license number, mailing address, bank account and routing number, a brief history of employment, and the Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) of your most recent employer.
- 3. You’ll also need to exercise some patience in the process. First, there’s likely to be a surge in unemployment claims during this period, so websites might be running slow. And secondly, after you file, it will usually take a week or so before your benefits fully kick in.
Remember, these are unprecedented times — and nobody should be too prideful to file for unemployment, especially with the additional income and benefits that are tied to these programs now from coronavirus-related job losses. If you’re furloughed, which is time off work without pay while still qualifying as an employee of a company, you can also claim unemployment benefits for the period that you’re not being compensated.
We’re all in this together, and we’re all going to emerge stronger and more resilient. For now, there’s going to be some pain. If you’re on the wrong end of the stick, make sure you apply for and receive what you deserve through this program.