Question: I would like to know about applying for unemployment. I understand that the new bill provides a way for self-employed and contract workers to get some help with unemployment funds. I have never applied for unemployment so just curious about the process. Do I need to wait for links to be created for self-employed and contract workers? Do I apply at the state level or the federal level?
Answer: You will file a claim at the STATE level with your local office for your STATE Dept of Labor…the links have already been created.
Brief explain of state v/s federal level unemployment:
*The federal-state unemployment compensation program is a federal fund, but each state has its own unemployment program with its own qualification guidelines, benefit amounts and periods.
*The state programs operate based on federal laws.
So again, you apply (file a claim) with your local office for your STATE Dept of Labor.
Question: Do I have to pay taxes on my unemployment pay?
Answer: Yes, unemployment insurance payments are considered taxable income, reportable on a 1099-G.
Question: How long can I collect unemployment benefits?
Answer: Your claim lasts one year (your benefit year), but most states only pay benefits for 13 to 26 weeks (a little more than six months) during the year. During periods of high unemployment, the federal government may extend the benefit period, but at some point, benefits will stop. This has been extended an additional 13 weeks under the CARES Act.
Question: What if I did not get laid off, but my hours got cut and that caused me to make less money?
Answer: Section 2108 of the CARES Act – check with your local unemployment office to see what “short-time compensation” program exists in your state. Fed Gov’t will cover 50% of the start-up costs to those states that set up these programs, but you will need to check with your local unemployment location to see what they offer.
Question: What if I was a waiter/waitress and most of my income was from tips. Since my hours have been reduced, I have less time to wait tables. Can I get any assistance for ALL of my lost income?
Answer: Tips are considered part of compensation for unemployment benefits. But some employers underreport that tip income. The state, without a record of tips, would pay a smaller unemployment check — one based off of nontip income. Your state will usually determine the amount of your unemployment check based on the last year of wages.
Question: I have been on the phone all day and the offices are closed b/c of social distancing. How am I supposed to apply for unemployment benefits?
Answer: DO NOT GIVE UP! Try applying during off-peak hours online! High volume has crashed some state websites and clogged up phone systems, while some in-person locations have been closed for social distancing.
Question: How do I file a claim for unemployment in GA?
Answer: The rules are different in each state. Go to your State Dept of Labor website and follow the instructions on how to apply.
*Once it receives your application, the GDOL will send you some documents, including a Benefit Determination, stating your potential benefit amount and duration.
**REMEMBER, and this is VERY IMPORTANT! Once you file, you will probably need to continue to file weekly claims with your STATE (GDOL in GA) for each week for which you are claiming benefits.
Question: How much money will I get form unemployment?
Answer: FOR GEORGIA: Benefits are calculated by combining your wages from the two highest quarters in your base period (earliest 4 of the 5 complete calendar quarters before you filed your benefits claim), and dividing that number by 42.
Your weekly benefit amount is subject to a weekly minimum of $44 and a maximum of $330. Benefits are available for up to 20 weeks.
ENHANCED under CARES Act:
The CARES Act will add $600 per week for up to 4 months, and extend the benefits an additional 13 weeks.
Question: What if I got laid off, but I don’t know if my company will get the PPP or not…. What should I do in the meantime?
Answer: Apply for the expanded unemployment benefits.
Question: What if I cannot make my mortgage payment?
Answer: CARES Act prohibits rental evictions for 120 days on properties secured with a government-backed mortgage. That covers about half the market for multifamily properties, according to the National Multifamily Housing Council. Many states and cities have also halted evictions, BUT it is not universal!!! Contact your city government to ask about local moratoriums or check your state government website for information about statewide laws.
Question: What if I cannot make my car payment?
Answer: Talk to your lender by phone if possible. Many lenders are offering special forbearance programs to help borrowers through the next several months. If yours is not, there are still options available. Not doing anything or hiding your job loss from your lender is not a good strategy. Missing payments and potentially defaulting on your loan are mistakes that can haunt your credit for years after the crisis has passed.
Question: Do the extended unemployment benefits cover independent contractors that don’t pay unemployment insurance?
Answer: YES, it will cover those independent contractors.
Question: I work 2 jobs and lost one of them, can I file for unemployment?
Answer: You can file for unemployment any time you experience a loss of work. If you have two jobs and lose both of them, you can file a total loss of work claim. If you had two jobs and lose one or experienced reduced hours at either or both, you can file a partial loss of work claim. This will vary from state to state, and be aware that income from the second job may likely be used to offset your benefits. So every dollar you earn at job #2 reduces EI benefits (potentially by 50 cents)
Question: Am I eligible for unemployment if I also have income from investments?
Answer: In a nutshell, you can collect unemployment benefits if you have investment income. Investment income is passive income and not W2 or 1099 income. Therefore, you are technically not employed. The government does NOT penalize you for saving and investing your money wisely to generate investment income. In general, income that comes from sources other than an employer doesn’t affect benefits. Examples include capital gains, interest, dividends and rental income.
Question: What dates does is the PUA available for?
Answer: Retro Active back to the week of Jan 27, 2020, and benefits cannot be paid beyond Dec 31, 2020.
Question: What is the maximum wage that can be earned on a weekly basis to file a partial unemployment for an employee working less than full time (30 hours)?
Answer: The threshhold amount you are asking about may be $415/week. This the weekly benefit for regular unemployement +$50.00 each week.
Pandemic Unemployement Assistance as part of the CARES Act does provide enhanced parital unemployment benefits to workers who have had their hours reduced due to the COVID-19.
The Georgia Department of Labor will determine eligiblity based on a number of factors including wages, hours, current partial income up to the past 15 months of work history. Each person is evaluated for eligibility to both regular Unemployement Benefits as well as the Pandemin Unemployment Assistance.
The Georgia Department of Labor website (updated as of 4/12/20) is best resource for questions, and has information for both individuals and employers: