Top 5 Questions And Answers About Unemployment Issues Presented During Court Buddy's May Meet-Up
Cassidy Chansirik Student at U.C. Berkeley
Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Court Buddy began hosting monthly virtual Legal Meet-Ups to help people get advice from real lawyers on pressing legal topics. The Meet-Ups are run in a panel format, mediated by Court Buddy’s Chief Legal Officer Jennifer McGlone who asks the panelists questions submitted by you, our Court Buddy users.
The first legal meet-up was held on May 8th and was attended by around 250 people across the United States. Seven Court Buddy lawyers participated as panelists.
Bradley Bailyn, Eafon Cobb, Lou Russo, Patricia De Fonte, Neil Opdahl-Lopez, Michael Neumann, and Bowen Klosinski discussed topics ranging from landlord-tenant issues to unemployment.
Mr. Eafaon Cobb was our panelist focusing on unemployment-related questions and concerns. After graduating from the University of San Diego School of Law, Mr. Cobb now serves as a partner at Hewgill, Cobb and Lockard, where he specializes in employment law and labor law. He is passionate about securing workers the rights they deserve and has been doing so for the past eight years.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, when nearly 14.1% of Americans are now unemployed, much of the Meet-Up focused on unemployment matters, such as filing for unemployment and obtaining healthcare coverage while unemployed. Court Buddy received 35 questions on unemployment issues, making it the second most-discussed topic. Here are Mr. Cobb’s answers to your unemployment issues and here are the top five questions and answers about handling unemployment issues presented during Court Buddy’s May meet-up:
1. How many weeks am I allowed to receive unemployment benefits?
The number of weeks you are allowed to receive unemployment benefits depends on the state you live in. Because the federal government passed the CARES Act on March 27, 2020, you are able to receive a $600 weekly amount in federal benefits in addition to your state’s benefit.
As of May 29, 2020, this $600 weekly amount is set to expire on July 31, 2020. However, this may be extended until January 2021 if the federal government is able to pass the HEROES Act, a $3 trillion stimulus package.
2. How can I get healthcare while unemployed?
Currently, there is no COVID-19 relief for healthcare. But, you do have options.
First, you can apply through the health insurance exchange and try to receive individual health care coverage. However, this is going to be at least 25-33% more expensive than if you were under a group plan for your employer.
Secondly, you could apply for the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA). COBRA generally applies to employers with 20 or more employees and allows you to lock in your rate through your employer’s group plan.
3. My work as a contractor/subcontractor was impacted directly by the pandemic. Can I receive unemployment benefits or other assistance?
Under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program created by the CARES Act, any individual who identifies as an independent contractor and has been unable to work because of COVID-19 would be eligible to receive federal unemployment benefits. You would receive $600 a week from the federal government.
To qualify for additional unemployment assistance, you would need to check whether or not your state offers PUA that you can qualify for. To find out whether or not you qualify in your state, check out this information page.
4. If I formed an LLC, will I still be considered eligible for unemployment benefits?
Depending on your circumstances, you will most likely be considered eligible for federal unemployment benefits, which is a $600 weekly amount. On a state-level, you may not be considered eligible. As a result, it is important that you check whether or not LLCs are able to receive unemployment benefits in your state.
5. I haven’t received a stimulus check because I have not yet filed my 2018 or 2019 taxes. I am told I am ineligible for unemployment in my state. Since I was laid off, does my employer need to provide me with financial assistance?
As of May 29, 2020, there is no legal rubric that currently exists that makes your employer responsible for providing you with financial assistance.
Even if you were told you were ineligible for state unemployment benefits, you may still be eligible for federal unemployment benefits, which is a $600 weekly amount.
If you would like to learn more, an excerpt of the transcript covering unemployment issues can be found here.
The next Court Buddy Legal Meet-Up will be held via Zoom on June 26th. You can sign up to ask a question on our website or by calling us at 866-653-3017.
Court Buddy is here to connect you with an experienced and trusted lawyer who can help you at an affordable rate. The company assists with the management of your case and lawyer relationship. Your lawyer will assess your legal issue in a timely and confidential manner, explain why you need or do not need a lawyer, and only charge you for the legal services performed and associated out of pocket fees. This article is intended to convey general information and does not constitute legal advice.