Unemployment in Phoenix Due to The Coronavirus
The coronavirus has affected every part of our lives, from how we travel and shop, to sending our children to school and our employment. Millions of people have been left struggling to pay bills and stay afloat as unemployment rates skyrocket, and social distancing restrictions make many jobs difficult or impossible to perform altogether.
It has been a stressful year, and many have been left with a ton of questions about where to turn and how to deal with these economical burdens due to the coronavirus. The Phoenix bankruptcy attorneys at Allegiant Law Group want to help answer some of the common questions about unemployment and layoffs due to the coronavirus in Phoenix and provide some helpful information about services and programs in Arizona.
How Does the CARES Act Help If I Lose My Job Due to the Coronavirus?
The Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security or CARES Act was put into motion on March 27, 2020, to help people dealing with loss of income because of COVID-19. The legislation has changed who is now eligible for unemployment benefits and the timeframe of eligibility. Most notably:
- For employed full-time workers, the Act extends unemployment benefits for an additional 13 weeks. It also adds $600 per week to the amount of compensation paid by the state.
- For part-time workers, gig workers, self-employed individuals, and independent contractors who used to be excluded from these benefits there is now the possibility of eligibility.
How Do I File Unemployment in Phoenix, AZ?
Claims for unemployment benefits may be filed online with the Arizona Department of Economic Security (DES), over the phone, or by mail. The department has detailed information available on its website regarding who may be eligible for benefits and how to apply for the benefits. When you are ready to fill out the application make sure to have your social security number, mailing address, county of residence, and driver license or state-issued ID number ready and on hand.
Am I Eligible for Unemployment Benefits?
During these extraordinary circumstances the standards of eligibility for unemployment benefits in Arizona and across the country have been widened to include:
- Workplace shutdowns due to the coronavirus
- Being unable to work because of a quarantine
- You or a member of your household has COVID-19
- You serve as the primary caregiver for a child whose school is closed
- You have quit working due to workplace safety issues related to COVID-19
Although the eligibility restrictions are looser, not everyone qualifies for unemployment. You may be denied unemployment benefits if your employer fired you for cause, or if you have quit for reasons not related to the coronavirus.
If you do receive a denial of benefits, ask for a written explanation of the reason for the denial. Review the notice carefully and make a note of any deadlines and procedures for filing an appeal.
Contact an attorney to discuss your options as soon as possible to avoid missing the deadline to appeal. The denial could be a matter of miscommunication with your employer and the DES. You may also want to check with your employer to ensure that your employer notified the DES you were laid off, not fired.
What is the Difference Between Being Fired, Laid Off, or Being Furloughed?
When an employee is fired from a workplace there is generally some level of misconduct involved or an inability to perform the duties and tasks required of the position. Typically this type of job termination does not qualify for unemployment benefits. As opposed to a layoff, where an employee’s job with the company is terminated through no fault of the employee, and the employer does not anticipate rehiring the employee. A furlough, on the other hand, is a temporary absence from work. The employee is typically not paid during a furlough, but the employer expects to bring the employee back at a future date. The employee should return to work in the same position and at the same pay rate.
How Can I Pay My Bills If I Am Laid Off or Unemployed?
Although seeing a mountain of unpaid bills starting to stack up can be quite stressful and overwhelming, most lending agencies and service providers have put new policies in place offering payment deferrals, or reductions to help people pay what they can afford while having enough money for basic living needs. Included in this list are mortgage companies, landlords, creditors, and service providers like electricity or even cell phone companies. It is worth reaching out to them to discuss a suitable payment strategy that works for your family during these difficult times.
Another important payment deferral to make note of is that the federal government issued an automatic forbearance on federal student loans through September 2020. If you have other student loans, contact the lender to inquire about forbearance or deferral of payments.
The Arizona Department of Housing has information and resources on its website for tenants and homeowners who are struggling to pay rent and mortgage payments. You can also find a great deal of information about resources and assistance available for Arizona residents on the website for 2-1-1 Arizona.
Should I Contact a Bankruptcy Lawyer in Phoenix?
Finding work amidst this pandemic has been challenging. If you have lost your job and do not qualify for unemployment benefits a bankruptcy filing might provide the debt-relief necessary to continue providing for the basic needs of yourself and your family.
If you are struggling, contact our Phoenix bankruptcy lawyers for a free case review. Because you have been out of work or receiving a reduced income, you may qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case, which can provide debt relief quickly and affordably.
Contact Our Phoenix Bankruptcy Lawyers for More Information
The legal team of Allegiant Law Group is working for you during this difficult time. We are here if you have questions or concerns about debt problems.
Call 602-562-1000 now to schedule your free consultation with a Phoenix bankruptcy lawyer.
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