If you’re a Kansas resident who’s lost your job as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, you’re not alone. Over 26 million Americans have now filed for unemployment, pushing the unemployment rate to over 20%. In Kansas, the situation is no less dire than elsewhere, with 247 Wall Street putting the current number of unemployment’s claimants at 14.6% of the workforce. Although unemployment benefits won’t replace a lost income entirely, they can make a huge difference to those with no other recourse. Since the introduction of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act on March 27, the unemployment package has been expanded to accommodate the growing numbers of unemployed workers. Of its provisions, the ones of most interest to new claimants include:
- An additional 13 weeks of paid benefits on top of what the state allows, up to a maximum of 39 weeks
- An across the board payment of 600 USD on top of what the state allows for 4 months in total, or until the end of July
- Payable benefits for self-employed workers and gig workers
If you’re a resident of Kansas, all unemployment claims are administered directly by the Kansas Department of Labor. As claims are backdated to the date of filing only, the department recommends filing your claim as soon as possible after becoming unemployed. Filing an unemployment claim can seem daunting, but the application process has been created to be as streamlined and intuitive as possible. Here’s how to get started.
Check Your Eligibility
Before beginning your claim, check your eligibility. In Kansas, eligibility is limited to workers who satisfy the following conditions:
- You are legally authorized to work in the US
- You’ve lost income or had your hours reduced through no fault of your own
- You’re able and willing to work
- You are actively seeking employment
- You have earned at least $3,660 over the base period (this is classed as the first four of the five most recently completed quarters) and have earned in at least two-quarters of the base period.
- While the above applies in most circumstances, those who’ve lost their job as a result of the COVID-19 crisis are not required to fulfill the work-search requirement. If you’ve lost your income for any of the following reasons, you could still receive support even if you are either unable to work or are not actively seeking employment:
- You have COVID-19 or in quarantine after exposure.
- You are the primary caregiver to someone who has COVID-19 or who is in quarantine after exposure.
- You’ve been laid off without pay due to COVID-19.
- Your ability to work has been affected by school closures.
Gather the Required Information
Before starting your claim, it’s advisable to gather all the documents and information that will be requested as part of your application. To process your claim, the Kansas Department of Labor requires the following:
- Your Social Security number
- Your driver’s license or state ID card number
- Your mailing address and a contact number on which you can be reached during business hours
- The name, address, and telephone number of all your employers for the last 18 months, in addition to your first and last working day with each employer, your gross earnings during the period of your employ, and your reason for separating
- Your bank account information, if you choose to have your benefits paid by direct deposit
- Depending on your circumstances, you may also be asked to verify:
- Your Alien Registration card and number, if you’re not a US citizen
- Form SF-8 and SF50, if you were a federal employee during the previous 18 months
- Form DD 214, if you have served on active military duty within the last 18 months
- Details of any severance or holiday pay you have received or will receive
Begin your Application
You can choose to file either online at the Kansas Department of Labor website or by phone. If you choose to file online, you’ll need to do so at the following times:
- 12:00 p.m. Sunday thru 9:00 p.m. Monday
- 7:00 a.m. Tuesday thru 9:00 p.m. Friday
- 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Saturday
You’ll first be asked to create a username and password. Once you’ve created your profile, follow the prompts to complete your application. As File Unemployment notes, once you’ve created an account, you’ll be able to use the website at any time to file your weekly claim, check payments, confirm your claim status, update personal information, or reset your PIN. Although most people find filing online the most convenient option, you also have the option to file by phone at one of the following times:
7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Monday thru Friday OR 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Saturday.
The contact numbers are:
- Kansas City Area (913) 596–3500
- Topeka Area (785) 575–1460
- Wichita Area (316) 383–9947
- Toll–free number, if you live outside the local calling area: (800) 292–6333
If any of the below circumstances apply, you are advised to file by phone only:
- • You have worked in another state within the past 18 months
- • You have filed an unemployment claim in another state within the past 12 months
- • You have served on active military service or have worked as a federal employee within the past 18 months
Check How Much You’ll Get
Your weekly benefit amount (WBA) is calculated at 4.25% of what you earned during the highest-earning quarter of your base period, to a minimum of $122 and a maximum of $488 per week. In addition to what the state allows, you’ll also receive an additional weekly payment of 600 USD, effective until the end of July.
Know the Next Steps
Once the Kansas Department of Labor has reviewed your application, they’ll issue a Notice of Determination confirming their decision. If you do not agree with the decision, you have 16 days from the mailing date of the determination to file an appeal. The determination will include full details of the appeals process.