Has Your Job Been Impacted by COVID-19? This Information May Help
Just within the past week, almost 300,000 new unemployment claims have been submitted to various states. Since most states have some form of public unemployment insurance, this means that many people will start receiving checks from the state at the taxpayers' expense. However, through payroll taxes, essentially every W-2 job pays for this itself. There has not been an event in modern history where so many people suddenly need unemployment insurance payments, so the actual outcome is still unknown.
With some states claiming they don't have enough in their coffers to pay for unemployment checks, the federal government is trying to put together a few "bail out" packages. Some of these will help companies, while others will help individuals. Here's what you need to know.
Still File a Claim ASAP
If you've been laid off without cause, as most workers have in the face of the Coronavirus, you should always file for unemployment as soon as possible. This is because it often takes awhile to get unemployment checks, so the sooner, the better. Even though some states are asking workers to not do this, there isn't a legitimate reason to not do so, other than to potentially save the states money.
Especially given that a few bills have already passed that ensure there is enough unemployment money to cover every worker, these states have no excuse to keep requesting workers do this.
A Check or Two Is Likely Coming
Although the third "bail out" bill has not yet been passed and is still being debated, it has strong bipartisan support. Unlike traditional bills that only benefit corporations, this bill is very similar to the stimulus checks sent out during the recession a bit over a decade ago.
Every American who is self-employed or employed by someone else and made under $75,000 in the past year will qualify for at least one round of $1,000 checks sent through the mail. The intent is to cover the average worker's lost wages, since state unemployment programs won't be sending money right away, even though life often demands money right away.
President Trump suggested that two rounds of $1,000 checks be sent out over the span of about one month. This would allow workers to have an even greater chance of not needing to rely on credit cards to get by during this difficult time. However, this has its fair share of opponents who criticize the cost of giving every working American $2,000. Regardless, it's almost a given fact that Americans will start receiving $1,000 checks, as long as they've been working or are disabled, are over 18, and aren't currently incarcerated.
For some, this may seem like nothing. However, in cheaper markets, this could easily be multiple months' rent, serving as a huge stimulus and morale booster for former workers. Remember to look at aid like this before resorting to desperately searching out remote job opportunities, since many turn out to be either very low-paying or scams.
If You Can't Wait for Income
While ideally, everyone would have an emergency fund, most Americans do not. This didn't matter too much before, but this reality is hitting many workers hard. Especially for the population vulnerable to COVID-19, finding an in-person job simply will not happen. Remote jobs are becoming more scarce by the day, and so that is generally not the best avenue to find money.
Your best bet is to first apply for unemployment insurance and then monitor the "free check" situation closely. You may need to formally submit something to the IRS or the like, depending on the final text of the bill. Paying attention will minimize the chances of your free check being late. If both of these still aren't cutting it, you may need to apply to some grant programs. Plenty of charities are dishing out temporary money to displaced workers. Though it's difficult to fully ditch pride and ask for financial assistance like this, it certainly beats homelessness.
This is an unprecedented time in history, which is why the government is turning to unprecedented measures to ensure we do not fall into a full Depression. Unfortunately, COVID-19 will not pass without affecting the lives of millions of Americans in many ways, especially financially. With 80% of the population living paycheck-to-paycheck, chances are that these tips could help the vast majority of Americans.
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