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COVID-19 –related unemployment benefits available

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff Writer

The Alabama Department of Labor has released information about applying for COVID-19 related unemployment and relief for impacted businesses.

Unemployment benefits are available to “those who are quarantined by a medical professional or government agency, those who were laid off or sent home without pay for an extended period by their employer due to COVID-19 concerns, those who are diagnosed with COVID-19 or those who are caring for an immediate family member who is diagnosed with COVID-19,” according to a March 16 press release.

However, unemployment cannot be claimed for those in these situations who are working from home or using sick/ vacation days.

“The requirement that a laid-off worker be ‘able and available’ to work while receiving unemployment compensation benefits has been modified for claimants who are affected by COVID-19 in any of the situations listed above,” the release stated. “Additionally, claimants will also not have to search for other work provided they take reasonable steps to preserve their ability to come back to that job when the quarantine is lifted or the illness subsides. The waiting week, which is typically the first week of compensable benefits, will also be waived.”

A claim can be filed here or by calling 1-866-234-5382.

According to a March 20 press release, “Alabama Department of Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington has temporarily ordered that relief be offered to employers whose employees must file unemployment compensation claims for weeks filed due to COVID-19 related issues. All charges will be waived against those employers who file partial unemployment compensation claims on behalf of their employees. These charges will be waived until further notice. ADOL is encouraging all employers who can file on their employees’ behalf to do so.
This waiver means that employers’ experience ratings will NOT be affected by COVID-19 related claims.”

“We hope that this additional relief to employers will help ease the burden so many of us are facing during this unprecedented situation,” said Washington in the release. “We are encouraging all employers that are able to file these partial claims on behalf of their employees.”

Employers can file for these benefits here.

Those with general question about the unemployment process can call 1-800-361-4524.