As businesses respond to COVID-19 changes, the number of coronavirus layoffs is expected to rise significantly in the coming months.
Still, due to recent legislation designed to offer relief to struggling workers during the pandemic, there are plenty of resources to get you through this. We’ve compiled a list of steps you can take to make sure you stay afloat — and as financially healthy as possible — during the coronavirus outbreak.
What Should I Do If I Lost My Job Due to Coronavirus?
If you’ve lost your job in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, efforts are being made to help. Access to unemployment benefits — which vary by state but usually cover around 45% of your typical pay — has been greatly expanded, thanks to a new coronavirus relief package.
Under the new coronavirus unemployment insurance guidelines, if you’re laid off, on hiatus, quarantined or caring for a sick family member, you may be eligible to receive unemployment. In many states, unemployment waiting periods are also being waived so that you can get relief faster.
Officials recommend that you file your unemployment claim as soon as you can to expedite the process. Even if you think you won’t qualify, you may have much more of a chance of filing successfully due to the current public health crisis. If you’re denied at first, don’t be afraid to appeal.
Here are some crucial resources to help you find out if you qualify for unemployment benefits during the outbreak.
- CareerOneStop: A one-stop shop for coronavirus unemployment insurance claims through the U.S. Department of Labor
- Unemployment Insurance Flexibilities: Information on who is newly eligible for unemployment benefits due to coronavirus layoffs
- COVID-19 and the Fair Labor Standards Act: Information on your rights as an hourly or salaried worker under the Fair Labor Standards Act during the outbreak
How to File for Unemployment in Your State
Unemployment claims are filed on a state level. If you've lost your job as a result of the coronavirus, you can apply for unemployment benefits through your state's individual program. Because states are experiencing a high volume of claims, filing a claim online through your state's website can help you avoid a long wait time over the phone.
What If I Have to Miss Work Because of COVID-19?
Whether because of a sick family member, coronavirus layoffs or worrying symptoms, many employees are finding themselves having to miss work during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), eligible employees are entitled to a certain amount of unpaid medical leave to handle medical emergencies or to care for sick or disabled family members.
A recently-passed coronavirus stimulus package, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, allows part-time employees and gig workers (such as Uber drivers) to access paid medical leave as well. Take a look at the following resources to see if you qualify for paid leave.
- COVID-19 and the Family Medical Leave Act: Frequently asked questions about leave, coronavirus lost wages, and job security during the outbreak
- Here’s How to Qualify For Paid Leave for Coronavirus: A checklist to find out if you’re eligible for paid leave during the outbreak
Where Can Freelancers, Small Business Owners and Gig Workers Go for Help?
Freelancers and gig workers have, in many cases, been hit the hardest financially by the global coronavirus pandemic. They don’t enjoy many of the same benefits and security as full-time, salaried employees, making them all the more vulnerable to financial stress in a crisis.
If you’re a freelancer or gig worker, consider finding a temporary work-from-home job or project to fill in the gaps (and to keep yourself and others healthy). Meanwhile, if you’re a small business owner in certain states, you may qualify for a low-interest emergency loan through the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program.
Here are some key coronavirus resources for self-employed workers, small business owners, and artists.
- Where to Find Remote Work: A list of remote job and gig boards
- CERF+ Emergency Assistance: An emergency relief fund for artists
- Resources For Artists: Financial resources for artists affected by the coronavirus
- Small Business Guidance & Loan Resources: How to apply for a low-interest loan for your nonprofit or small business
- One Fair Wage Emergency Fund: Emergency fund for tipped and service workers during the COVID-19 pandemic
Financial Resources for Students, Parents, Taxpayers and Homeowners Affected by Coronavirus
Workers aren’t the only ones worried about their financial well-being during the COVID-19 crisis. Parents who depend on child care, student loan borrowers, homeowners and renters are all affected as well.
Luckily, some initiatives to ease the financial strain of coronavirus have already been passed. Federal student loans aren’t accruing interest at the moment due to a waiver. Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has issued a 60-day moratorium on foreclosures and evictions for FHA-insured single-family mortgages.
Still, many families are finding themselves in a tight spot financially during the outbreak. These resources could help you if you’re feeling the coronavirus economic impact.
- Child Care Aware of America: For parents who have lost childcare due to coronavirus
- Coronavirus Information for Students, Borrowers, and Parents: COVID-19 information for federal student loan borrowers
- Loan Servicers at Federal Student Aid: Who to contact if you’re having trouble making student loan payments
- Coronavirus Tax Relief: Instructions on how to deduct COVID-19-related costs from your taxes
- Medicaid Payments During Coronavirus: Information for Medicaid recipients and those who need health care coverage during the outbreak
- 211 Resources: A list of 211-related resources and advice for people who need assistance with food, housing, or childcare during the outbreak
- Disaster Recovery Housing Coalition: Homelessness-related resources on coronavirus and the economy through the National Low Income Housing Coalition
Comprehensive Government Resources for Coronavirus
As the COVID-19 pandemic evolves, so will the government response. Here’s where you can find all the latest updates on financial assistance, public health information and government action moving forward.
- Government Response to Coronavirus: Information on how every U.S. agency is responding to COVID-19
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): Updated public health information on COVID-19 from the CDC
- Coronavirus.gov: Frequently updated coronavirus information from the White House and the CDC
- World Health Organization (WHO): Information, advice, and resources on COVID-19 from a global perspective
Remain Vigilant and Financially Proactive
The coronavirus outbreak has caused financial stress and strain for millions of American families. Remember, though, that there are countless others in the same boat. U.S. legislation is currently being introduced that will continue to help us keep our heads above water. Stay informed and cautious as the situation evolves.
Laura Dorwart has written for The New York Times, The Guardian, VICE, SELF, Bustle, and many other outlets. She has a Ph.D. from UCSD, an MFA in nonfiction writing from Antioch University, and a B.A. from Barnard College.
Coronavirus.gov. “Coronavirus (COVID-19).” Accessed Mar. 19, 2019.
Marist Poll. “NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll.” Accessed Mar. 19, 2019.
The New York Times. “Who Qualifies For Paid Leave Under the New Coronavirus Law.” Accessed Mar. 19, 2019.
The New York Times. “Your Money: A Hub For Help During the Coronavirus Crisis.” Accessed Mar. 19, 2019.
The Wall Street Journal. “Plunging Rates Spell Opportunity For Student Loan Borrowers.” Accessed Mar. 19, 2019.
World Health Organization. “Coronavirus Disease 2019.” Accessed Mar. 19, 2019.