By Gregory C. Sinning, Esq. & Joshua C. Black, Esq.
On March 27, 2020, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“the CARES Act”) was signed into law. The CARES Act expands eligibility for unemployment and provides up to an additional $600 per week in unemployment benefits to qualified workers.
Who qualifies for unemployment under the CARES Act?
The CARES Act expands the eligibility for unemployment to include hundreds of thousands of American workers affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic. This includes workers who are furloughed or out of work as a direct result of COVID-19; self-employed or “gig” workers; and individuals who have exhausted their existing state or federal benefit provisions. To qualify the individual must be able and available to work and actively seeking work or must be unable to do so as a result of COVID-19 illness, quarantine, or movement restrictions.
How much am I entitled to under the CARES Act?
The CARES Act provides an additional $600.00 per week in unemployment benefits, in addition to the amount an unemployed individual qualifies for in their own state.
In Arizona, the rate of unemployment is calculated based on previous wages earned by the individual. The current maximum an Arizona worker can receive in unemployment benefits is $240.00 per week. With the addition of the CARES Act funds, that same individual could be eligible for $840.00 per week (i.e. $240 from Arizona and $600 from the Federal Government).
How long will the additional pay benefits last?
The CARES Act provides this $600 additional weekly pay through July 31, 2020. It is unclear if there will be an extension of the program at that time.
Other important expansions to Arizona Unemployment.
In addition to the Federal CARES ACT, Arizona’s Governor signed Executive Order 2020-11 to add additional state-level expansions to the unemployment system. These expansions include a waiver of the waiting period to collect unemployment and a waiver of the requirement that an individual on unemployment be able to work and actively seeking a new job.
Who qualifies for unemployment under Arizona’s expanded program?
The Order expands unemployment eligibility and provides that the Arizona Department of Economic Security “shall allow the following individuals to apply for and be approved for unemployment in Arizona:”
Individuals whose employer has permanently or temporarily closed or drastically reduced its operations due to COVID-19 resulting in reduced wages as defined by the United States Department of Labor;
Individuals who are required to be quarantined, not able to work and do not have available paid leave. Individuals who have an expectation of returning to work after a required quarantine is over will also be eligible;
Individual that leaves employment due to risk of exposure or infection or to care for a family member who has been infected with COVID-19; or
Individuals that for any other scenario are separated from work for reasons related to COVID-19, if the ADES determines that such scenario is consistent with the guidance issued by the US Department of Labor for Unemployment Compensation for Individuals Affected by the Coronavirus Disease 2019.
*To qualify for these expanded protections the individual must still meet the existing unemployment eligibility requirements of work history, earnings, and residency.
If you have would like to speak with an Arizona Employment Attorney regarding your potential eligibility for unemployment under these new guidelines please reach out the the authors at 623-738-2225.
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