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Unemployment Insurance is a joint program of the federal government and state government that aims to provide benefits for unemployed workers amidst pandemics. Under the UI, each state of the United States handles and implements the program or also known as Federal-State Unemployment Program within their respective areas. The purpose of Unemployment Insurance (UI) is to provide financial assistance to unemployed individuals in the United States.

The financial assistance from the said program is available to use within the cost of living amidst a pandemic eligible individuals such as house rent, food, utilities, or any activities that will benefit them. Each beneficiary has the freedom to use financial assistance. Moreover, the main objective of the said program is to assist and support unemployed individuals throughout the United States with life stability.

Coronavirus Aid, Relief, And Economic Security

In addition, the federal government of the United States passed laws that will help American individuals to recover from the loss as a result of the pandemic. These laws include the implementation and extension of the Unemployment Insurance (UI).

It started with the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act last 2020. The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 extended the said unemployment program. Also, it is extended again from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. On the other side, the local state governments manage Unemployment Insurance under the said laws.

Unemployment Insurance Guidelines

The Unemployment Insurance Program of each state in the United States differs, but they must follow the standard guidelines set under federal law. Some local state governments provide additional requirements about the benefit amounts, eligibility, and length of time benefits can be paid for the said program. The U.S. Department of Labor supervises and oversees the implementation of the said program by the local state governments.

Eligible Will Receive A Weekly Financial Assistance

Eligible individuals under the said program will receive Unemployment Insurance payments or benefits for 26 weeks every year. The weekly financial assistance serves as a replacement for the employee’s regular wage. It can be used through a wide variety of activities depending on the beneficiary. Local state governments fund their respective unemployment programs from the taxes that are being paid by employers.

Extended Unemployment Programs

Individuals who are unable to find work after receiving 26 weeks of unemployment benefits from the Unemployment Insurance program can apply for prolonged unemployment benefits. These programs provide financial assistance for qualified unemployed individuals. However, most of these programs already ended last September 06, 2021. There are rumors about the program extensions but the U.S. Department of Labor still does not have any announcements or news about it.

Eligible Individuals for the Unemployment Insurance

The eligibility rules for Unemployment Insurance (UI) may differ depending on your local state government. However, there are two general qualifications that applicants should meet.

  1. Must be unemployed through no fault of own: Applicants must have lost their respective employment due to the lack of available work. Individuals who lost their job because of personal reasons are not eligible for the said program.
  2. Must meet the work and wage guidelines: Applicants must also meet the income requirements set by the state prior to their application for the said program.
  3. Must meet the requirements of the local state government: Applicants must meet the additional eligibility rules set by the local state government.

Application for Unemployment Insurance

The application process for Unemployment Insurance (UI) may vary depending on the local state. However, the first step to applying for Unemployment Insurance is to find your state’s program. Always check your eligibility for the program before applying. Individuals must apply within the state where they are working.

The application can be done through phone calls, the state unemployment insurance agency's website. Upon filing the claim, individuals will ask about personal information and details related to employment.

Avoid providing false information to have a fast process of claiming your benefits. In most of states, it usually takes 2 to 3 weeks before an individual will receive the first check under Unemployment Insurance.

Maintain The Eligibility For The Program

Beneficiaries must maintain their eligibility for Unemployment Insurance (UI) to claim their weekly benefits. Individuals that are not able to maintain their eligibility will not receive benefits.

Refer to the list of steps below to maintain your eligibility.

  • File claims weekly or biweekly, which can be done through phone or mail.
  • Must be available to work or seek employment upon receiving benefits from the program.
  • Report your earnings every week within your state employment agency.
  • Report jobs that you decline every week.
  • Always meet the state eligibility requirements.
What are the Extended Benefits?

Extended benefits are created and implemented by the U.S. federal government to provide additional and supplemental assistance for unemployed individuals amidst the pandemic. These programs are connected to Unemployment Insurance (UI). Refer to the list of extended benefits below.

Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation

Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program gives an extra $600 on top of Unemployment Insurance for qualified people. This program widens the benefits for unemployed individuals. It provides financial assistance for individuals who did not qualify for Unemployment Insurance. The program expired on September 5, 2021, and paid almost 79 weeks for its beneficiaries.

Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation

This program extended the Unemployment Insurance benefits after the exhaustion of the regular unemployment compensation benefits.

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