How to Collect Unemployment in Connecticut
If you have lost your job or experienced a reduction in hours due to COVID-19, you may be entitled to unemployment compensation. Although unemployment insurance is frequently available to eligible employees who are laid off for circumstances beyond their control, many U.S. workers are excluded from this type of coverage.
But the coronavirus pandemic has dramatically increased the pool of eligible workers. In fact, even self-employed and gig workers, who are traditionally excluded from unemployment compensation, may be eligible. And the amount of compensation available has also increased to unprecedented levels.
The skilled employment team at Madsen, Prestley & Parenteau LLC understands the urgency many Connecticut workers are feeling to obtain the full unemployment compensation they are entitled to. Millions of Americans are out of work as a result of COVID-19, and nobody knows how long this economic crisis will last. But you have rights, and it’s in your best interest to be as informed as possible so that you can protect them. Contact Madsen, Prestley & Parenteau LLC today at (860) 246-2466 for more information.
On March 27, 2020, Congress passed and the President signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”) to provide economic relief in response to the coronavirus pandemic. CARES Act included funding for a Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (“FPUC”).
Under FPUC, states, including Connecticut, will administer a $600 weekly payment to individuals who are collecting regular Unemployment Compensation from the Connecticut Department of Labor (“CT DOL”). The CT DOL will determine the initial eligibility criteria for unemployment, including partial state unemployment benefits. An individual is eligible for the full $600 weekly payment so long as they receive $1 or more of regular unemployment compensation for the week from their home state.
In Connecticut, individuals are able to receive unemployment benefits for twenty-six weeks. However, FPUC provides for thirteen additional weeks of unemployment benefits at $600 a week. This means that if you already exhausted the twenty-six weeks of benefits available from the CT DOL you can now re-apply for unemployment benefits with the CT DOL under FPUC for thirteen weeks of unemployment benefits of $600 a week. If you are just now applying for unemployment you will have thirty-nine weeks of benefits.
The $600 weekly payments under FPUC only continue until July 31, 2020 and payments begin the date that you file for unemployment. Due to the corona virus pandemic the Department of Labor has a backlog of unemployment applications but the $600 payment will be paid retroactively starting from the date of your application for unemployment.
Some additional notes:
- Independent contractors and gig economy workers, such as Lyft or Uber drivers, are able to access CARES Act unemployment benefits of $600 a week so long as they are unemployed, partially employed or unable to work because of the coronavirus pandemic.
- The $600 payment for FPUC is considered taxable income. If an individual decides to have taxes withheld then the state must withhold taxes from their weekly benefit amount.
- if you have received a seven day notice from your employer that your time worked will be reduced as part of a shared work program, you still qualify for the $600 benefit under FPUC. Under this you will receive your unemployment benefit amount and the additional $600.
Connecticut Department of Labor is responsible for administering CARES Act benefits and as of the date of this article(4/23/20) they are not sure when payments will begin.
How Long Does the CARES Act Last?
The $600 weekly payments, which begin the date you file for unemployment, ended July 31, 2020. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Department of Labor has a backlog of unemployment applications, but the $600 payment will be paid retroactively starting from the date of your application for unemployment. Therefore, if you are eligible but haven’t begun receiving payments because you haven’t filed, or due to the backlog, you can still receive the full benefits owed to you. An experienced CT employment lawyer can help if you are unsure how to proceed.
Facts About CARES and the New Executive Order
According to a new Executive order, dated August 8, 2020, states an intention to provide some additional unemployment benefits beginning with the week ending on August 1, immediately following the end of the $600 benefit. However, there are many uncertainties surrounding the Executive Order and how it will be implemented.It is not yet known when the extra funds will appear in people’s weekly unemployment checks or direct deposits.
Contact Madsen, Prestley & Parenteau LLC Today
If you have been fired illegally due to COVID-19, the skilled legal team at Madsen, Prestley & Parenteau LLC may be able to help. Our experienced employment attorneys have been fighting for the rights of CT workers for more than 20 years. These are unprecedented times, but you still have rights. Contact Madsen, Prestley & Parenteau LLC today at (860) 246-2466 for a confidential consultation about your case.