Millions of citizens in the United States have lost their jobs or have their working hours reduced due to the economic impact of the novel Covid-19 (Coronavirus). If you've also been affected, you may be wondering how you will continue supporting yourself financially during this tough time. Luckily, the government has come to the aid of many Americans by providing the unemployment insurance program. If you reside in Louisiana, here is what you need to know about filing for unemployment, eligibility criteria, calculation of benefits, and much more.
Eligibility for Unemployment Benefits in Louisiana
In Louisiana, employees affected by the Coronavirus pandemic can qualify for unemployment benefits if they are sent home without compensation after the temporary closure of workplaces. Additionally, they may be eligible if they have reduced work hours, or let go from work without getting paid while at home.
To qualify for unemployment benefits, they must meet the following requirements :
- Must be unemployed, either fully or partially through no fault of your own
- Must be available and physically able to work.
- Must currently be looking for work actively unless you have a set date to resume your work.
- Must have earned at least $1,200 in your working base period
- Salary earned during the base period must exceed 1.5 times the wages earned in the base period quarter with the highest earnings.
Applying for the Unemployment Benefits in Louisiana
According to Kaylee Poche, Louisiana residents can file for unemployment benefits through the online platform or via phone on 866-783-5567. You may experience longer waiting times when filing via phone due to increased call volumes. To file for unemployment in Louisiana, you require the following:
- Social Security number
- Employment details for the past 18 months: job site location, address, name, and employer's telephone number.
- Name and address of union hall (for union members)
- Non-US citizen members should provide an Alien Registration Number.
- SF-8 and SF-50 for federal employees for the past one and a half years.
- A DD214 member copy if you've served in the military for more than 18 months.
After filling, claimants are supposed to request weekly unemployment benefits payment via phone or online. Additionally, this must be done starting the first Sunday after application, whether it's approved or not.
When and How Weekly Unemployment Benefits are Paid in Louisiana
After your unemployment benefits application has been approved, you can receive weekly unemployment benefits through direct deposit or debit card. During the filing of the initial claim, applicants can choose either one of the two payment methods.
1. Debit Card
If you choose this option, you receive the card shortly from the U.S. Bank after filing your claim. There are several instructions you must follow to activate your card immediately you receive it. However, if you already own a debit card from a previous claim, you’ll continue using it rather than request a new one. For lost or expired debit card replacement, contact the U.S. Bank on (855) 282-6161 or (855) 274-0354.
After meeting all eligibility requirements and approval, a weekly deposit is made to your debit card. It takes 3-4 days after filing a weekly benefits claim before accessing the money through your card. Also, you can check the card's balance by contacting customer support through the number provided on the credit card. This card can remain active for three years after it's been issued and can be used multiple times when filling other unemployment benefit claims.
2. Direct Deposit
If you select the direct deposit option to receive benefits, funds will be deposited in a bank account or financial institution of your choice. Therefore, you must provide the Louisiana Workforce Commission (LWC) with your relevant banking details. These are kept highly confidential. If there are any issues or problems with the direct deposit, you are immediately notified and provided several ways you can help in resolving it. Besides, if the problem isn't solved, all payments will be made through your mailing address.
How Much Can You Receive as Unemployment Benefits in Louisiana
According to LWC’s secretary, Ava Dejoie, $247 is the maximum weekly benefit you can receive in the state, one of the least countrywide. There are various factors taken into consideration while calculating these benefits, but generally, they are calculated by: Determining the average of an applicant’s total base period employment salary, taking 1/25th of this average, multiplying the result by 1.05 and increasing the outcome by 1.15. Workers may also be entitled to receive an additional $600 weekly as per the federal stimulus bill, through the end of June, in unemployment benefits. And this comes as part of the $2 trillion relief package passed by the congress.
How Long Can You Continue Receiving Unemployment Benefits in Louisiana?
You are entitled to collect unemployment benefits for 26 weeks out of the 52 calendar weeks, commencing with the first week you filed the claim. In situations where the rate of unemployment is high, the Extended Benefits Program allows you to enjoy more benefits. The CARES Act also prolonged this period by an additional 13 weeks, which allows up to 39 weeks of unemployment benefits collection.
What to Do When Denied Unemployment Benefits in Louisiana
After receiving the determination letter, you have 15 days to file your appeal, but any late submission date must accompany a concrete explanation. Full guidelines for submitting your petition are provided in the decision. According to Eligibility website, there are four ways to file your appeal, including:
- File online through the official HIRE (Helping Individuals Reach Employment) website
- Fax your appeal to (225) 342-4223.
- Mail it directly to – Louisiana Workforce Commission, Appeal Unit, P.O.BOX 94094, Baton Rouge, LA 70804-9094
- Send an email to email@example.com to let them file for you
After the LWC receives your appeal submission, you'll be notified when the hearing can be done. Typically, most appeal cases are executed via telephone, and it's crucial to provide a phone number that they can use to reach you.
The Covid-19 pandemic has led to an economic crisis across America and beyond, with most employees being sent home without pay and even others losing their jobs. However, Louisiana residents can now apply for unemployment benefits program to cushion the effects of this epidemic. This essential guide is crucial in assisting you file for unemployment, check your eligibility, calculate your benefits, and know what to do when your claim is denied, etc. Good luck!
Written by Bill Vix
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