Can You Restart Unemployment Benefits If You’re Laid Off Again?

Gabriela Arevalo
July 11, 2020 - 10:45 am

    The economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic has been felt strongly for several months in the United States, with millions of people losing their jobs due to shutdowns.

    As states begin to reopen, some people are returning to their old jobs or finding new ones, and are no longer eligible to receive unemployment benefits.

    But what happens if you lose your job again due to the financial impact of the COVID-19 crisis?

    According to experts, you’re likely eligible to receive unemployment benefits again, but it depends on your personal situation and varies from state to state.

    Here’s what you need to know about restarting unemployment benefits if you’re laid off again.

    Will I be eligible for unemployment if I already filed for it earlier this year?

    Possibly. When you first file for unemployment benefits, you start a “benefit year,” reports NBC New York. Over the next 52 weeks from when you first filed a claim, any unemployment benefits for which you apply will be lumped into that benefit year.

    How do unemployment benefits generally work?

    You can collect benefits over the course of a benefit year, even if there are points in which you are employed, but states have caps on how much, and for how long, you can claim during the benefit year.

    Will I start over from the beginning if I was working again and then got laid off?

    In most cases, the state has a maximum amount of money that you can receive per week, and a limit to how many weeks you can receive payments. If you go back to work and stop receiving unemployment benefits but later need them again, you will draw from the total that is left in your allowance for your current benefit year.

    What if I am still unemployed past the 52-week mark?

    You can continue to apply for unemployment benefits, but it’s possible that you will no longer be eligible to receive payments.

    Unemployment benefits are usually based on your earnings over the past four quarters. That income is what is used to determine your weekly unemployment benefits, but if you haven’t earned any income over the past four quarters, you may not qualify for unemployment benefits in the following benefit year.

    Enhanced federal unemployment benefits, which gave unemployed Americans an additional $600 a week, are set to expire by the end of July. Lawmakers across the aisle have indicated that they are willing to consider another coronavirus stimulus package, but Democrats and Republicans have disagreed on whether to include unemployment benefits in the bill.

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