ATLANTA - We've gotten a ton of calls and emails from viewers about unemployment. It is complicated. But, we are going to try to make this as simple as possible for you.
Question: How many applications Labor Department is processing every day, how many are approved each day, and most importantly - long will it take to get my money?
Answer: The Department of Labor is processing five thousand applications every day. The approval time varies. If you file an individual claim you will get your money within thirty days. But, if your employer files the claim you should get your money within seven days.
That is if the claim has no mistakes. So, be careful.
Question: What if I am called back to work part-time, do I lose my unemployment check?
Answer: No, you don’t. You can work part-time and earn up to $300 a week without affecting your unemployment benefits. You also keep the weekly $600 Federal money as well.
Question: If I lose my job because of COVID-19, do I have to follow the normal Department of Labor job search requirements?
Answer: No, they don’t. Those job search requirements are waived for any claims after March 14 - until further notice.
Question: My company can't get through the Labor Department system to file an unemployment claim, what should they do?
Answer: A Labor Department spokesperson says if there are problems with the employer portal, the boss should email: firstname.lastname@example.org. That should help jump-start the process of figuring out what is wrong.
Question: What if the company I work for goes under and doesn't reopen. Am I still eligible for unemployment benefits?
Answer: Yes, you are. But, your employer needs to continue to file claims on your behalf.
Question: What if you are self-employed, or work as an independent contractor, a so-called gig worker? Are you eligible for federal money?
Answer: Yes. Pandemic Unemployment Assistance was meant for you. This one is a bit complicated.
First, you need to file a regular state unemployment claim. If you are not eligible for state benefits, the Labor Department will email you an application for the federal unemployment money in about three weeks.
Be patient. The Labor Department is building a new computer program from scratch to handle this
Finally, if you do everything right, and by the book, you can get $300 a week in state unemployment, and additional $600 a week in Federal Pandemic Payments, and can still work enough to earn up to $300 without effecting either of those payments.
We know a lot of you aren't getting your calls returned. Be proactive. The Labor Department website is very good. Check their Frequently Asked Questions, tutorials, DeskAids, and Chatbot. Most of your questions can be answered there.