Phase 3: H.R. 748, The CARES Act
The federal government, through the CARES Act, is supplementing state unemployment insurance benefits by providing up to 13 weeks of financial assistance, on top of state benefits, through December 31, 2020. This is a 13 week extension, so for example, if your state provides up to 26 weeks of unemployment insurance then you may receive up to 39 weeks of total unemployment insurance from this program, through December 31, 2020. If you file for unemployment between now and July 31st, you will also be paid an additional $600 per week on top of state benefits during that time. These Enhancements of Employment Benefits apply to independent contractors, those who are self-employed (aka most photographers!), and gig economy workers, of whom were not covered for unemployment prior to this bill.
Through the CARES Act, the federal government is subsidizing unemployment insurance benefits but it is up to the individual states to administer the program. In order to file for unemployment benefits, individuals must seek assistance through their state. Since the passage of the CARES Act, it has been up to the states to modify their existing unemployment benefit infrastructure. It is expected that the state will become compliant with the recently passed legislation within a matter of days. To find information about how to file for unemployment benefits please visit Career OneStop Service Locator and use the provided “Unemployment Benefits Finder” to filter by state. The “finder” provides you with general information about the unemployment insurance program, how to file a claim online, how to file a claim by telephone, and a coronavirus update for your state.