CHICAGO (CBS)– More than 650,000 people have filed for unemployment in Illinois in the last six weeks. That number is continuing to rise as more people get laid off or have their hours cut during the coronavirus outbreak.
CBS 2’s Audrina Bigos called on Jeremy Glenn, a Labor & Employment attorney with Cozen O’Connor, to help answer some of your biggest questions regarding unemployment benefits.
Do I have to be completely out of work to qualify for unemployment benefits? What if my hours are cut?
“If you have a reduction in hours, a reduction in earning that takes you below the weekly benefit amount, then you will qualify for the unemployment assistance from the state,” Labor & Employment attorney, Jeremy Glenn said. “If the reason that you have a reduction in hours is tied to COVID-19, you should qualify for an additional $600 from the federal program.”
Glenn said typically, in Illinois, if your earnings are less than $484 a week, you should be eligible.
If I left work to watch my child during the coronavirus pandemic, can I still receive benefits?
Glenn said the short answer is, maybe.
“I would encourage people to apply in that situation and then the state will evaluate, the reason for closure, age of child, were other arrangements available and if the individual is still able to work from home,” he said.
What if I leave work because I am concerned over the coronavirus? Can I still receive benefits?
“If you leave work voluntarily because a concern over condition, you will not get unemployment,” Glenn said. “So, I encouraged individuals to speak up. Tell the company what causes concern. Is it the need for gloves or a mask or ventilation? Is it the need for a rotating work schedule?”
He said if you can prove to the state you spoke up and made reasonable efforts to raise concerns about those problems, the agency could conclude you left work at no fault of your own.