Coronavirus has brought with it nothing but a dark cloud in most areas of our lives. It is not enough that you have to stay locked down within your house, you also have to forego your main means of income. While every country across the world has been negatively affected, Americans might have some reprieve since they can apply for unemployment benefits. By mid-March 2021, 282,000 people had filed, and a week later, the number had grown to three.3 million. In the state of Alabama, the governor issued a purchase closing down all non-essential businesses meaning that the unemployment rate has grown. That said, let's check out details surrounding unemployment in Alabama and how you can file for benefits.

How the coronavirus has affected the unemployment rate in Alabama

Before coronavirus pandemic started, Alabama had experienced an improvement in its rate of unemployment. While in February 2021, the rate was 3.5%, the amount had gone down to 2.7% by February 2021. The wages and salaries also increased. For instance, in February 2021, the average weekly wage within the private sector was $842.75, whereas annually later, in February 2021, it had grown to $878.55, based on Alabama News.

Unfortunately, these impressive figures will not last long because projections, according to new data revealed that the unemployment rate in March 2021 might have grown to 8.1%. Nevertheless, the figure is still among the lowest since other states like Louisiana and Nh were expected to have their unemployment rates increase to 44.9% and 44.6%, up from 5.3% and 2.6%, respectively. Moreover, the 8.1% is much lower compared to the highest figures recorded within the last quarter of 2009, once the unemployment rate in Alabama was 11.8%.

Applying for that unemployment benefit in Alabama

The Secretary at work in Alabama, Fitzgerald Washington announced that they had $700 million in the unemployment trust fund, during a conference call with employers. The total amount is the highest the state has ever held, and people are ready to claim it to help themselves during these hard economic times. Consequently, in the week ending March 21, 2021, more than 6000 people had filed for unemployment claims, and on 22 and 23rd March, around 17,000 more filed.

The technique of applying for your benefits is simple since you can do so online by going to the Alabama Department of Labor site. You can also call the first Claims Line on (866) 234-532, in which you will first answer some questions before being connected to a customer service representative. A cell phone is not recommended to make the call, if you cannot access a touch-tone telephone, then you need to visit your nearest Employment Service Office or One-Stop Career Center.

As you prepare to call them, ensure that you have personal details such as your social security number, most recent employment dates, name, and address of the most recent employer. You should also submit your license number or any other number from the state-issued identification document, mother's maiden name, and work authorization number for non-US citizens. Once filed, you'll receive documents including a monetary determination showing should you qualify and how much you should expect per week. You should, however, note that failing to give accurate and finish information will delay the benefits you are entitled to, so be as thorough as you possibly can.

Eligibility of unemployment befits

As much as you may be in a hurry to get your slice of that $700 million, not everyone is eligible to file such claims. Those who work in quarantine or have been laid off without pay due to the coronavirus are eligible. However, you must have been quarantined through the government or medical professional agency, so if you choose not self-quarantine, then you don't qualify.

In the past laid-off workers should have been available and able to work while still finding the benefits. That criteria has, however, been modified for the sake of those with COVOD-19. They should, however, take necessary measures to enable them to return to work when their condition improves or aren't in quarantine. Moreover, claimants will also be expected to be actively searching for work while still receiving benefits, but in this instance, they do not have to do so. Also, if you have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or are caring for a member of your immediate family who has been diagnosed with the coronavirus, you are able to apply.

Finally, if you have been unemployed during the last two quarters, do not bother applying. That you should be eligible, you must have been earning in at least two quarters of your base period, the base period being the first four from the last five quarters since you filed your claim. That signifies that if you filed your claim in March 2021, The Ascent explains that the base period would be Twelve months beginning from October 1 to September 30, 2021. Additionally, the entire of your base period wages should be equal or more than 1.5 times what you got in your highest quarter for the reason that base period.

Now you can get a $600 weekly bonus

Usually, within the state of Alabama, the minimum amount you can receive is $45 per week, while the maximum is $275. In late March 2021, however, a bill was proposed to improve the weekly benefits by $600 'till the end of June to enable the unemployed to cope with the lack of income due to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Dothan Eagle, the payment goes into effect for eligible weeks ranging from March 29 to July 25, 2021.

While that's quite a relief, you can, unfortunately, not claim it for longer than 20 weeks. Some states permit the weekly benefits to choose more than 26 weeks, but in Alabama, you can only have them for between 14 to 20 weeks. However, all eligible workers might get an additional 13 weeks thanks to the federal CARES Act and when the high rate of unemployment persists.

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