The passage of the CARES Act has created an expanded definition for unemployment benefit eligibility under the Disaster Unemployment Assistance program. This program makes unemployment benefits available to people who would not have previously been eligible for these benefits, including self-employed people, independent contractors, and part-time workers. Applications are now open for these groups of people here.
Emergency rules to streamline unemployment benefits for workers impacted by COVID-19 have already been implemented in the state of Montana. Traditionally eligible individuals may apply here immediately for unemployment.
These emergency rules:
- Allow a claimant directed by their employer to leave work or not report to work due to COVID-19 to qualify as being temporarily laid off by the employer and eligible for benefits.
- Designate that workers who must quarantine or who need to take care of a family member due to COVID-19 are also considered temporarily laid off and eligible for benefits.
- Allow Department of Labor to waive the one week waiting period before typically receiving benefits to ensure Montanans don’t experience a long gap without a paycheck.
Montana employers will also receive help through these rules. Individual claims will not be chargeable to a specific employer’s account. The rules also include a provision that could extend the time employers have to file wage reports and pay unemployment insurance contributions if the delay is related to COVID-19.