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ADOL urges workers to apply for benefits under CARES Act

The economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, which has shuttered businesses and left workers without paychecks all across the nation, has many in the U.S. worried about how they’ll survive the crisis, which will likely last much longer than leaders had forecast.

Already, the federal government has passed a trio of relief packages aimed at staving off the worst effects of the crisis – the third package, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which was signed into law late last week, provides direct payments to U.S. workers and families and dramatically expands unemployment benefits for those feeling the pandemic’s sting.

With that in mind, the Alabama Department of Labor (ADOL) issued a statement Tuesday evening encouraging all laid-off workers who believe they may qualify for benefits under the CARES Act to file a claim.

“Although ADOL does not yet have technical guidance or a start date regarding CARES Act programs, benefits may be paid retroactively from the time the employee separated from his or her job or otherwise became eligible under the federal CARES Act, not from the time the application was submitted or approved,” the press statement read.

A wide swath of workers may be eligible, including self-employed workers, church employees, nonprofit and governmental employees, independent contractors, gig economy workers and those that have exhausted their regular unemployment insurance benefits.

However, these workers will have to meet at least one of the following conditions to be eligible for the expanded benefits:

• The individual, or a member of the individual’s household, has been diagnosed with COVID-19;

• The individual is providing care to a household or family member;

• A child or other person for which the individual is primary caregiver is unable to attend school or another facility as a result of the virus;

• The individual is unable to reach their job due to quarantines restrictions imposed as a result of the public health emergency or self-quarantine as recommended by a physician;

• The individual was scheduled to start work but couldn’t due to the outbreak;

• The individual has become the breadwinner for a household due to the previous head’s death as a result of COVID-19;

• The individual has quit their job due to COVID-19 or their place of employment has been closed.

The ADOL press release notes that this list is not exhaustive and displaced workers should seek more information or file claims online at www.labor.alabama.gov or by calling 866-234-5382.