04 Aug Resources: COVID-19 and Unemployment
Coronavirus has not only brought devastation to the US, causing over 600,000 deaths as of August 2021, but it has also created serious challenges for those who continue to live through the pandemic. Approximately 1/3 of American’s economic situation has worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in massive economic challenges for communities across the nation.
One quarter of people say their ability to pay for basic expenses, including food, has suffered during the pandemic, with a peak of more than 1/3 of people struggling to pay for basic expenses in December 2020. Additionally, many Americans continue to face unemployment challenges. Interestingly, a study conducted by Healthcare Ready found that the number of people who reported needing help with unemployment exceeded the number of people that reported seeking help. Yet, people feel the unemployment challenges they’ve faced will continue for years after the pandemic is over, with more than half of Americans expecting they’ll need help with unemployment in the next two years.
Many barriers have stood in the way of people getting assistance, including help with unemployment, during COVID-19, which could explain the disparity between persons who have needed help and persons who have sought out help. The most common barrier has been a fear of getting sick with COVID-19; another common fear was anxiety over being judged by fellow community members.
In an emergency or natural disaster, these barriers only become more difficult to navigate, especially for underserved communities. Please see below for resources if you or a loved one is struggling with unemployment during COVID-19:
- Contact your state’s unemployment insurance program to find out the most updated COVID-related unemployment benefits.
- Visit CareerOneStop.org for help with unemployment insurance, job training and finding a job.
- Visit this website to apply for unemployment insurance.
- Sign up for a free or low-cost unemployment education and training program.
- Consider signing up for a self-employment assistance program if this direction is right for you.
- Learn more about staying on your health insurance plan through your previous employment with the Consolidated Omnibus Reconciliation Act (COBRA).
- If you or a loved one is a person with a disability, learn more about disability insurance and benefits.
- If you feel you were wrongfully fired or let go from your employer, contact your State Labor Office for information on wrongful termination laws in your state.
- Contact your local Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) office to apply for TANF benefits.
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