In response to the coronavirus outbreak, the U.S. Department of Labor recently announced new guidance outlining ways states can be more flexible in administering and expanding unemployment insurance (UI) programs in order to assist employees affected by COVID-19.
Generally speaking, UI is a joint state–federal program that provides cash benefits to eligible workers. Although each state has discretion to establish its own eligibility guidelines, an employee typically is eligible for UI benefits if they:
- Are unemployed through no fault of their own;
- Meet certain work and wage requirements; and
- Meet any other additional state requirements.