WASHINGTON — With communities feeling the financial burden of businesses shutting down due to the impacts of the coronavirus — or reducing hours for workers due to lack of business — unemployment offices in D.C., Maryland and Virginia are anticipating an influx in demand.
Emergency legislation across both states and the District are expanding the eligibility for unemployment during these difficult times.
"Everyone must play a role to help flatten the curve and mitigate the spread of this virus, and that starts with social distancing," Gov. Northam said. "We know this will be a hardship for many businesses, and we are assisting workers affected by closures. Public health relies on every individual using common sense and making responsible decisions. We can and will get through this difficult time. But we must work together to do so."
So far, across the DMV there are 155 people that have tested positive for the coronavirus: 31 in the District, 57 in Maryland and 67 in Virginia.
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Below is a look at how you can get unemployment across the DMV amid the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak:
Employees eligible to file a claim:
An employee (an employee means any individual employed by an employer) taking care of:
- A spouse or domestic partner
- The parents of either the employee or the spouse
- Children, including grandchildren and foster children
- Brothers and sisters of either the employee or the spouse
- A residing child for whom the employee has parental responsibility
- A person who has co-habituated with the employee for no less than 12 months
Employees Not Covered:
- Independent contractors
- Healthcare workers who choose to participate in a premium pay program
- Volunteers who work in nonprofit organizations, charitable, religious or educational establishments
- Appointed or elected lay members engaged in religious functions in any religious organization
- Employees in the construction or building industry covered by a bona fide collective bargaining agreement
- Casual babysitters
How To Apply: Learn more about the unemployment insurance guidelines, click here.
Application: To apply for unemployment insurance, click here.
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Eligible for unemployment in Maryland?
Employees who need to miss work due to illness should use their employer-paid time off. The Maryland Healthy Working Families Act requires employers with 15 or more employees to provide paid sick and safe leave for certain employees. Maryland employers who employ 14 or fewer employees are required to provide unpaid sick and safe leave for certain employees. Find more information about the Maryland Healthy Working Families Act.
As a rule, once an individual becomes unemployed, they should apply for benefits immediately. Section 8-101 of Maryland's Unemployment Insurance Law states that claims are effective only from the week that they are filed and will not be backdated. Therefore, if a claimant is eligible, that person can only be paid benefits from the time that they filed.
Unfortunately, a claimant would not be eligible for benefits in the instance where they are not working due to being quarantined and their job is being held for them. This situation is akin to a medical "leave of absence" from a job. A medical leave of absence is when work is available, but the individual is not medically able to perform the work. Section 8-903 of the Law requires claimants to be able and available to work without restriction. Although the circumstances of the quarantine are compelling, individuals in this situation would not meet the requirements of Section 8-903 and would not be eligible for benefits.
How To Apply: For a variety of COVID-19 questions on how to apply and the new guidelines for Maryland, plus more on unemployment eligibility, click here.
Application: To apply for unemployment in the state, click here.
Are you eligible for unemployment in Virginia?
- No waiting for unemployment benefits. Gov. Northam has directed the Commissioner of the Virginia Employment Commission to waive the one-week waiting period to ensure workers can receive benefits as soon as possible.
- Enhanced eligibility for unemployment. Workers may be eligible to receive unemployment benefits if an employer needs to temporarily slow or cease operations due to COVID-19. If a worker has been issued a notice to self-quarantine by a medical or public health official and is not receiving paid sick or medical leave from their employer, they may be eligible to receive unemployment benefits. In addition, a worker may be eligible for unemployment benefits if they must stay home to care for an ill family member and are not receiving paid family medical leave from their employer.
- Fewer restrictions. For individuals receiving unemployment insurance, Gov. Northam is directing the Virginia Employment Commission to give affected workers special consideration on deadlines, mandatory re-employment appointments, and work search requirements.
How To Apply: To learn more for unemployment insurance in the state of Virginia, click here.
Application: To file an initial claim for unemployment insurance in Virginia, click here.
RELATED: Northam issues 'public health emergency order' to enforce 10-person limit in restaurants, gyms, theaters