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Yes, You Can Restart Unemployment Benefits If You’re Laid Off Again

  • American workers may find themselves unemployed a second time due to resumed shutdowns or PPP depletion
  • The CARES Act and other rules allow people to get benefits over a longer period of time
  • What happens when the ‘benefit year’ ends

People who found themselves unemployed during the COVID-19 pandemic may be rehired or find a new job, only to find themselves out of work again due to renewed shutdowns or a depletion of Paycheck Protection Program loans.

Applying for unemployment starts a 52-week “benefit year” when you can collect funds. The CARES Act funds unemployment for an additional 13 weeks, though it expires at the end of 2020. Many states also have similar relief options during periods of high unemployment.

Workers have options such as continuing the remainder of a previous benefit year if they stopped collecting unemployment or collecting a pro-rated amount while working part-time.

You can reapply for unemployment at the end of the benefit year, but may not qualify (or receive reduced benefits) since payments are based on earnings over the past four quarters. Congress previously passed legislation to prevent such a reduction in benefits during the Great Recession.

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