by Lyle Daly | April 1, 2020
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Vermont residents can apply for unemployment benefits quickly and easily online.
Employers across the nation have had to shut down or lay off workers because of the novel coronavirus, also known as COVID-19. Many people face difficult financial decisions as a result of business and school closures designed to slow the spread of the disease.
If you've lost your job or seen your hours reduced, one of the first things to do is open a claim for unemployment benefits. Here's everything you need to know about unemployment claims in Vermont.
The Vermont Department of Labor requires that you're unemployed through no fault of your own and that your past earnings meet minimum requirements. You would normally also need to be able to work and actively seeking work, but there are some exceptions related to COVID-19.
If your employer either lays you off or reduces your hours due to COVID-19, you're likely to be eligible for unemployment benefits. You may also be eligible in the following situations:
If you need to take time off work because you contract COVID-19, the Department of Labor recommends employer-paid time off as the best option.
To apply for unemployment benefits in Vermont, fill out the Department of Labor's online unemployment application. You can also call the state's Unemployment Service Claims Center at 877-214-3330 Monday through Friday between the hours of 8:15 a.m. and 6 p.m. or Saturday between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. EDT.
You will need to provide personal information such as your Social Security number, and drivers license as well as details of your last 18 months of employment.
Be aware that you will need to make a weekly claim certification, beginning on the first Sunday or Monday after you have filed your application -- even if your claim has not yet been approved.
The Department of Labor calculates your weekly benefit amount by taking your total wages earned in the two highest quarters of your base period and dividing that number by 45. The maximum weekly benefit amount is $513.
In addition, the government's recently passed Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act should entitle claimants to an extra $600 per week through July 31, 2020.
After you file for unemployment benefits, you'll receive a monetary determination in the mail with your weekly benefit amount and the wages used for this calculation. Your base period is usually the first four of five completed quarters before your benefits application. So if you file your claim in April 2020, your base period would be January to December 2019.
Benefits are issued either by check or direct deposit to your bank account. If you prefer direct deposit, you'll need to enroll in that service.
The maximum amount of time you can collect unemployment benefits in Vermont is 26 weeks. However, the CARES Act extends that period by 13 weeks, allowing you to collect unemployment benefits for up to 39 weeks.
You may file an appeal if your unemployment claim is denied. Information on the appeals process will be available in the determination you receive in the mail, and you must file your appeal within 30 calendar days of the determination date.
Appeals must be submitted to the Department of Labor in writing. You can deliver yours by mail, email or fax.
Filing for unemployment is a smart first step, as these benefits can replace a portion of your lost income and cover essential expenses. If you're still having difficulties, we've put together a detailed guide about where to find financial help during COVID-19.
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