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09/17/2020

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The CARES Act and Unemployment Assistance



This article contains breaking news and events related to the current state of politics and the economy. While we try our best to keep our articles as up-to-date as possible, the ongoing effects of COVID-19 are happening in real time and information is subject to change.

The unemployment numbers released April 2 by the U.S. Department of Labor are staggering.

In the week ending March 28, a record-breaking 6.6 million Americans applied for unemployment assistance, almost doubling the numbers from the week before.

In all of March, roughly 10.4 million Americans reportedly lost their jobs. Economists are claiming the unemployment rate will likely be up to 10% from the rate of 3.5% in February, though an official rate has not yet been released.

First and foremost, if you, a friend, or a loved one has recently lost a job, you are not alone. There are resources out there to help.

Unemployment benefits are a joint state-federal program, which means each state has its own insurance plan but follows the established federal guidelines. These supports are there to help you when times are tough—and for many, right now is one of those times.

The CARES Act, the economic rescue package Congress recently passed, expands unemployment benefits during the COVID-19 crisis.

The legislation extends unemployment insurance to four months for those who lose their jobs during the crisis. The support also applies to those who are self-employed or gig economy workers. Here are some details:

•  The new benefits will be available from January 27, 2020 to December 31, 2020.

•  Those who receive unemployment benefits during this time will get their normal state unemployment benefits plus $600 per week for up to four months, ending on July 31.

•  The legislation provides an additional 13 weeks of unemployment benefits. Currently, many states offer 26 weeks of unemployment benefits, so the law will extend that amount to 39 weeks in those states.

•  The legislation provides funding to pay for the first week of unemployment benefits for those states that waive the one week waiting period.

Depending on your state, increased traffic on state unemployment websites has led many sites to crash due to the unprecedented numbers.

We’ve created a state-by-state breakdown of unemployment resources, including updates on the evolving situation regarding site crashes. We’ve also included information on steps you can take to file for unemployment and apply for government aid. Find more information and additional resources for your state at CareerOneStop .

Learn More


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