Resources to Help During COVID-19 Crisis: Unemployment Insurance

Ohio residents click here to apply for unemployment through the Ohio Department of Job & Family Services. Contact your local unemployment office if you cannot complete the application online.

Below is a list of common questions and answers regarding unemployment insurance and changes that were enacted last week with passage of the CARES Act. If you have additional questions or need assistance, please contact your Cincinnati Works Professional Development Coach or Financial Coach.

I just lost my job. Will I get any assistance?

Once you have applied and been accepted for unemployment insurance, you will receive the standard unemployment benefit plus an additional $600 per week. You can receive the additional funds through July 31, 2020.

How will this impact me if I was receiving unemployment before the virus outbreak?

You are entitled to receive an additional $600 per week until July 31, 2020.

I work from home. How will the CARES act benefit me?

If you are employed and working from home, you would not qualify for unemployment benefits.

I was working part-time and my hours were cut. Will I qualify for any assistance?

Maybe. The CARES Act provides funding for states to provide benefits for employees whose hours cut but they were not laid off, but it is up to each state to determine which part-time employees qualify. Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana have different rules; contact a Cincinnati Works financial coach for more information.

I found a job but I did not start working due to the start of the virus?

Yes, you qualify for unemployment. If you were scheduled to start work but lost the job or could not get to it because of the health crisis, you would be eligible.

I did not previously qualify for unemployment because I was self-employed. Am I eligible now?

Under the new program, called the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, you would receive a benefit. You have to apply for this program and you would be eligible for the additional $600 per week plus half of the average unemployment benefit offered by your state. This applies to contractors, job-by-job (gig) workers and any others who fall into this classification.

I was making less than $600 per week before losing my job. Will I get the extra $600 per week or a lesser amount that matches my wages?

If you qualify for unemployment insurance, you will receive the additional $600 per week regardless of what your salary was.

Will I have to pay taxes on these unemployment benefits?

Yes, you will be responsible for paying taxes for any unemployment benefits that you receive.

Will I receive any benefits if I am sick or I am caring for a sick family member?

Once you certify that you are able and willing to work but could not because of the virus emergency, you should be eligible.

This applies if you tested positive, exhibited symptoms or you were caring for a family member. If you are out of work due to the inability to reach the office because of a quarantine, you should also be eligible.

How long will I receive unemployment benefits?

Unemployment insurance in most states lasts for 26 weeks if you lost your job. The CARES Act provides for another 13 weeks. After those 39 weeks, an extended benefit program could provide an additional 13 to 20 weeks of benefits.

Is there a waiting period before I can receive any unemployment benefits?

The CARES Act allows states to forego their one-week waiting period so you would be eligible immediately for benefits. Ohio now allows immediate eligibility; Indiana still requires a one-week waiting period. Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear waived the waiting period but acknowledged that the application process sometimes still forces a wait, so he encouraged Kentucky residents to call the state unemployment agency if you are denied immediate eligibility.

Would anything happen to me if I was not truthful about claiming benefits?

You would be cut off from receiving any further pandemic unemployment benefits and could face a fine or jail time under the law.

1 thought on “Resources to Help During COVID-19 Crisis: Unemployment Insurance”

  1. Karen Anne Luna

    What if I have a job but have a chronic illness such as asthma and diabetes. AND i filed a leave at work FOR 2 WEEKS, becauseI was out of meds they won’t accept me back without a doctor’s note, I tried to make appointment to a clinic to get check up and a medical certificate but they didn’t give me an appointment. Iam desperate now because house rent is due and we dont have supplies

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