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Unemployment Insurance and COVID-19: Overview

There are no special rules that automatically apply when people lose their jobs due to a pandemic like the COVID-19 outbreak. However, the federal and state governments may enact their own rules and guidance as they see fit.

For instance, the federal government has allowed states to expand the eligibility of people to qualify for unemployment benefits amid the COVID 19 pandemic. Accordingly, employees who are laid off because their employer temporarily shut down the business can file for benefits. The same holds true for people who are temporarily under quarantine but expect to go back to work later.

Additionally, U.S. Congress passed an unprecedented expansion of unemployment insurance in its $2 trillion stimulus bill that provides unemployed workers with an extra $600 each week on top of state benefits for four months.

But many questions remain, like who qualifies for benefits, how to apply for benefits, and how the stimulus package affects unemployed workers.

How Do I Apply for and Receive Unemployment Benefits?

Record numbers of Americans are applying for unemployment insurance (UI) benefits in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak. If you have lost your job, either temporarily or permanently, learn how to apply for UI benefits, how benefits are calculated, how the money gets in your hands, and more.

Can Business Owners File for Unemployment?

Many small businesses are being hit hard by the stay-at-home orders and closures that have resulted because of the COVID-19 outbreak. The good news is that entrepreneurs can often qualify for unemployment benefits. Learn what the requirements are to qualify:

Learn More About Employment Law and the Pandemic

We will update this section with new content throughout the pandemic. For general employment law issues and questions, please visit the employment law section on If you need answers about a specific legal issue, or feel your employee rights have been violated, consider speaking with an employment lawyer in your state. Many attorneys offer phone and video consultations.

Next Steps: Schedule a Phone Consultation

Many attorneys are offering phone and video consultations during the pandemic.

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