In some parts of the United States, COVID-19 cases have increased. The highly contagious omicron variant is expected to fuel another wave of infections heading into winter.
In New York, some restaurants and Broadway shows have temporarily closed this week. The infection rate in the city doubled to 7.8% in three days, from December 9 to 12.
The same dynamic could soon affect more Americans. Omicron is more contagious than the delta variant, with cases doubling approximately every two days.
Workers who lose their jobs may be wondering: Am I eligible for unemployment benefits? The situation will vary by state and individual circumstance.
The U.S. unemployment system has ample nuances and complex rules. For that reason, some groups of workers who’d qualified for aid earlier in the pandemic may find that assistance is no longer available.
“It’s ultimately going to be up to the state workforce agency to determine if someone’s eligible,” said Michele Evermore, a senior policy advisor for unemployment insurance at the U.S. Labor Department.
Workers who lose significant hours may qualify, too.
According to Evermore, workers should apply if they think they may qualify. They are careful how they report data on their application. One common mistake is reporting no earnings for the week since payday hasn’t yet come.
Andrew Stettner, a senior fellow at The Century Foundation, said workers need to lose at least half their weekly work to qualify in most states.
So, a restaurant worker who loses two of four work shifts due to a temporary Covid shutdown may qualify.
What are the eligibility rules?
There are many factors that influence your eligibility for benefits. Two primary determinants: earnings history and whether you have collected benefits during the past year.
States determine the weekly amount based on your earnings history. Usually over the last four or five full quarters of work.
Extended federal unemployment benefits in CT to end soon
However, jobless Connecticut residents will soon no longer qualify for federal extended unemployment benefits.
Officials with the state Department of Labor said Connecticut will drop out of the federal extended benefits program effective Jan. 8, because the state’s three-month average unemployment rate has now fallen below 6.5%, the threshold for continued payments.