TUCSON, Ariz. - In just a few days the coronavirus has forced thousands of Arizonans out of work. Arizona’s Department of Economic Security says last week alone, more than 88 thousand of us applied for unemployment benefits.
A lot of those workers may have never filed before. KGUN9 has more on what is and is not covered.
Coronavirus has changed the rules---including the rules of what situations let you collect unemployment and the requirements to keep those benefits coming.
Grocery stores have been asking for workers to help stock stores during a surge of demand but social distancing’s made most other businesses cut back or shut down.
Erica Hopkins says she was driving a bus for Greyhound when she became a coronavirus layoff.
“I applied for unemployment, and obviously food stamps and stuff because I have kids, and the line is insane. It's crazy. There's no way that you can get seen right now.”
For social distancing and efficiency the state Department of Economic Security recommends applying on line or by phone but with so much demand you probably will face a wait.
The Department of Economic Security website has extensive information on filing. Find more at this link.
You can qualify for benefits:
if you are laid off or furloughed because your work has shut down or cut back
If you’ve been forced into quarantine
If you’ve had to leave work because you’re in a sensitive population in extra danger from COVID-19
Or if you’re caring for someone infected with the virus.
Self employed and gig workers are not covered right now but DES is accepting applications from them in case Federal assistance expands to cover them.
Here’s a major change. Normally to keep getting benefits you have to prove you are out there aggressively looking for a new job.. Now because a lot of people are temporarily away from jobs they expect to return to that requirement has been suspended.