The newly passed CARES Act expands unemployment coverage for those who have been unemployed due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

A record 6.6 million Americans filed for unemployment in the last week, bringing the total number who have filed in the last two weeks to 10 million. 

The CARES Act, in addition to providing additional funds for unemployment, also provides Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, which expands benefits to those who were previously ineligible, including self-employed, independent contractors, and freelance workers. 

Who is newly eligible for unemployment? 

Those who are self-employed, including independent contractors, freelancers, farmers and gig workers.

Who does not qualify? 

People who are working from home with pay and those who are receiving paid time off. 

How much money will newly eligible workers get?

A partial wage replacement of, on average, 46% can be expected for those who qualify. 

In addition, unemployed workers can expect $600 per week for dates of unemployment from March 27 until July 31.

When can newly eligible workers start filing for unemployment?

The expectation is that it could take 3-4 weeks for individuals to start receiving payments. 

How do you apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance?

“Each state administers their own unemployment insurance program, so it’s crucial workers check their state department of labor website for the most up-to-date information.”

What if you can’t get through to file a claim?

Don’t worry. Benefits payments will be retroactive going as far back as January 27, 2020. 

“Expanded unemployment assistance under the CARES Act is effective through December 2020.”

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