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Unemployment Benefits

Many hardworking Americans have found themselves unemployed due to COVID-19. The CARES Act includes additional help for these Americans. There will be $600 more per week through the end of July for those impacted. Additionally, those who are not usually able to access unemployment, like self-employed, gig workers, and independent contractors, will be eligible. To be alerted when the system is ready to process unemployment for those who qualify under expanded eligibility, sign up here. More information about unemployment provisions under the CARES Act can be found here

The Department of Labor is working quickly and coordinating with the Arkansas unemployment office to ensure that the expanded unemployment assistance in the CARES Act is available as soon as possible. Congressman Womack wrote a letter to the Department of Labor pushing them to work quickly to release their guidance to the states, which was a necessary first step to implementing the expansion.

Please NoteDue to high volume, please file your claim online if possible. With a surge of unemployment questions and applications, delays should be expected when calling.

I’m a self-employed, independent contractor or gig economy worker and am now eligible for unemployment – how do I apply?

  • Systems for processing these claims are currently being built. Charisse Childers, Director of the Arkansas Division of Workforce Services, stated that these individuals will be provided with updates on how to file a claim in the coming weeks. You can sign up to receive updates on this issue here. Given the importance of supporting these workers, I wrote a letter to the Department of Labor that urged them to work quickly to release their guidance, which was necessary to implement the expansion, to the states.

I can’t go to work because I am sick with coronavirus, taking care of someone with coronavirus, or have to stay home because my child’s school is closed due to the outbreak – do I qualify for paid leave?

  • The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) implemented new paid leave benefits to Americans working for small businesses (those with fewer than 500 employees) affected by the virus, while ensuring that businesses are reimbursed dollar-for-dollar.
  • Employees working at a business that must provide leave under the FFCRA should consult this FAQ. Workers will be required to keep records that clearly show why they are out due to COVID-19 and have documentation to back it up.

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