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  • Writer's pictureMika Henrickson

How can I file for unemployment in the United States?

In these times of uncertainty, governments all over the world are taking unprecedented action to support people who have been adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. On March 12th, the U.S. Department of Labor released updated eligibility criteria for unemployment insurance (UI) programs to include people that have become unemployed as a direct result of the coronavirus outbreak.

Eligibility for the program has now been extended to include:

● People who are unable to work because their employer has temporarily halted operations due to the outbreak

● People who have had to quit their jobs in order to care for vulnerable family members who are susceptible to the virus

● People who have had to quit their jobs because they are at risk of being exposed to the virus and infecting vulnerable family members

● People who have had to go into quarantine, but are fully expecting to return to work after the quarantine period is over.

Who else is included?

A later revision of the policy on March 30th extended the policy to include -

● Self-Employed people

● Independent Contractors

● Gig Workers

● People with a limited work history

How long will these benefits be extended for?

Unemployed workers will receive an additional $600 per week in benefits for up to six months. This is an increase on what would normally have been received – the average at present is around $300 a week.

Unemployment insurance is usually given for around 4 months (although this does vary between states). As a result of the new government guidelines, people who are eligible will get an additional 13 weeks added to the time provided by their specific state.

Although this change is being funded on a federal level, it will be administered via your specific state. Please scroll down to find your state for all the latest links to find out more information about how to apply and track any existing claims.


General Information about the Unemployment Insurance Program:

To file a UI claim online:

To file a claim by telephone number:

Coronavirus update: California is providing updates on Unemployment Insurance changes related to COVID-19 here:

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