We are living through unprecedented times right now. The global health crisis has all of us on edge and millions of us unemployed. Thankfully, our government has a system to help those of us struggling to pay the bills and support our families – unemployment assistance. 

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In Ordinary Times 

In a typical economy, the federal and state unemployment insurance program (UI) is meant to temporarily replace a portion of wages for workers who have been laid off, as long as they are looking and available for work. 

Ordinarily (depending upon the state where you live), the program provides up to 26 weeks of benefits to unemployed workers and, on average, replaces half of a workers’ previous wages. Because more workers lose their jobs during economic downturns, this program also provides needed economic stimulus that helps mitigate the severity of recessions. (Brookings

In Unprecedented Times Such as These

In times such as this world-altering pandemic, things in regard to unemployment have been drastically different. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, enacted in March 2020, expanded the unemployment insurance system to provide relief to those who are out of work. These benefits, which included an extra $600 of weekly stimulus added to the unemployment check, ran out on July 31, 2020. The legislature worked to reinstate benefits for those who continue to find themselves out of work as well as businesses that have been severely impacted by this economic downturn. 

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Applying for Unemployment 

While you may feel alone in this situation, believe us…  you are not. Millions of Americans are finding themselves having to choose between paying rent and buying food for their family. Not a place anyone wants to be in at any stage of their lives. Applying for unemployment is a way to help you stay afloat during this historic time. 

In the state of Massachusetts you can apply online for unemployment. Check out our link here to get yourself started. 

To complete the application and qualify for unemployment, you need to provide personal information including your Social Security number, birth date, home address, email address (optional), and phone number.

You will also need information about your employment history from the last 15 months, including: employer’s names, addresses and phone numbers. You will need to give reasons for why you left those positions including work start and end dates. You will also need to give the most recent recall date and return date if you were furloughed. 

For more resources on the current state of unemployment and what the most recent news is regarding coverage and amount of UI payouts, check out our resources pages at North Shore Career Center and MassHire North Shore