Unemployment claims skyrocket due to coronavirus

Pennsylvania

DILLSBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — With so many businesses closed down for at least two weeks, many people are having to file for unemployment.

Since announcing waivers for workers impacted by COVID-19, the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry has received approximately 121,000 online claims for unemployment benefits.

“Being a school bus driver, we can claim unemployment over the summer, so luckily, I was already in the system, so it was a lot quicker of a process for me to go ahead and go in and file because my information’s already there,” said Diane Nickel.

Nickel has been a school bus driver for 14 years. She’s also a part-time server at a restaurant, but she had to file for unemployment on Monday.

“I know it’s putting a lot of strain on a lot of families,” Nickel said. “Luckily we’re in a fortunate situation where we are able to then now be home with our kids. Some people who still have to work don’t have daycare.”

You may be eligible if:

  • Your employer temporarily closes or goes out of business because of COVID-19
  • Your employer reduces your hours because of COVID-19
  • You have been told not to work because your employer feels you might get or spread COVID-19
  • You have been told to quarantine or self-isolate or live/work in a county under government-recommended mitigation efforts

“I’m sure they’re inundated with people filing, and they realize when people are filing, this is why they’re filing,” Nickel said.

According to the department, if approved, your first benefit payment should arrive within four weeks of filing.

Previously, claimants were not eligible for benefits during the first week of unemployment. The “waiting week” has since been suspended because of Covid-19.

Work search and work registration requirements are also temporarily suspended.

To file an initial claim, click here.

For more information about filing for unemployment because of Covid-19, click here.

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