The CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act) Act, enacted March 27, 2020, expands unemployment insurance coverage and increases benefits to workers whose employment status has been impacted by COVID-19. The workers who can now receive unemployment under the revised rules include groups normally included, plus self-employed workers (e.g. Uber/Lyft/other freelance workers, gig workers, and other independent contractors). Workers who have been furloughed and certain types of part-time employees and those with limited work experience may also qualify. Although guidance is currently limited on the new Act, it is currently anticipated that small business owners, such as those owning LLC’s and s-corporations, may also qualify for unemployment relief if their business was completely shut down due to the virus.
In order to obtain unemployment benefits under the CARES Act, workers must self-certify that they are able and available to work within the meaning of applicable state law and are unemployed or partially unemployed. The CARES Act includes expansion of the reasons for an individual being unemployed to include COVID-19 (including illness of the individual, his/her family, or care for a family member). Regular employees are also eligible for an additional 13 weeks of unemployment (on top of normal state timelines). Most workers are also eligible for an additional $600 per week for several weeks.
Workers should note that self-employed individuals and individuals who are eligible (as employees) under the normal unemployment compensation rules may receive differing amounts of unemployment compensation under the new rules. Each state is still in the process of implementing the CARES Act requirements for eligible individuals and workers will not generally receive updated amounts until the U.S. Department of Labor issues guidance on the new Act and its implementation.
Virtus Law, PLLC continues to monitor developments in this (and other COVID-19 areas) and will continue to post relevant updates to this website.