COVID-19 FAQs

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UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE - EMPLOYEE

No. Governor Burgum signed an Executive Order on Friday, March 20th that temporarily waives the work search requirement for all claimants. Job Service has adjusted our systems so that you will not be asked to enter any work searches you have completed when you certify your weekly eligibility.

There are several reasons your claim could be denied, but it is important to remember that with the new federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), almost all individuals will be eligible for benefits if they are unemployed due to the pandemic.  The federal government considers PUA and PEUC to be programs of last resort.  This means that they are only available to individuals who are not eligible for regular state unemployment insurance, or those who have been denied regular state unemployment insurance.

Following are some details explaining why you may have been denied regular UI benefits and what you should do next:

  • Your earnings do not qualify you for regular unemployment insurance benefits
  • You filed a claim less than a year ago but you have used up all of your benefits (exhausted your claim)
  • You are unemployed for a reason other than the pandemic
    • If you are unemployed for a reason not related to the pandemic, you will need to follow normal procedures in place for state unemployment insurance benefits (click “File a Regular UI Claim”).  The most common reasons for these types of denials will be if you quit a job or were terminated by your employer.  You will be notified of your eligibility with a Non-Monetary Determination.  This determination will provide you with information and actions you should take if you do not agree with the determination. 

If your employer shuts down or lays you off due to lack of work caused by the impact of COVID-19 on the business, you will generally be eligible for Unemployment Insurance benefits.

 

Yes, if you cannot work due to contracting COVID-19 but will be returning to your employer, you would be eligible to receive benefits based upon recent federal guidance relating strictly to COVID-19.

Yes, if you are quarantined and physically able to work but cannot work from the quarantine location do to other reasons, you would be eligible to receive benefits based upon recent federal guidance relating strictly to COVID-19.

Yes, generally your employees will be eligible for benefits, if they cannot report for work because they no longer have childcare available to them. If childcare is available, and they choose to not use it, and do not report for work they would most likely be found ineligible as they are not available for work.

No. Governor Burgum signed an Executive Order on Friday, March 20th directing that individual base period employers accounts will be relieved of charges (I.e. No Charged) on claims filed as a direct or indirect result of COVID-19.

Initially, they will not lose unemployment benefits. With the opening being voluntary, we would be more considerate on the circumstances surrounding why they are not open yet. If it can be tied back to COVID-19, it will be easier to keep them on unemployment benefits.

Yes. Governor Burgum signed an Executive Order on Friday, March 20th to assist business owners in the receipt of Unemployment Insurance by temporarily eliminating income reduction requirements for business owners.

If you have work and need your employees to come back to their jobs, they have to return to work. If you have an issue with your employees not responding to call back, you need to contact JSND. The phone number is (701) 328-2814

If a business does open and a worker does not feel safe working there, they could still receive unemployment benefits. It would have to looked at on a case by case basis on the reason why the worker feels unsafe.

With the passage of the CARES Act those who have current Benefit Year Ends and have exhausted their benefits would most likely be eligible to receive the PEUC extension of 13 additional weeks of regular UI. Other regular claims would be potentially eligible for PEUC at the point they exhaust. We are awaiting guidance on claims where the benefit year has expired and how they might be processed.

CARES Act – Unemployment Insurance Benefits The CARES Act includes expansion of unemployment insurance benefits:

Expands eligibility for unemployment insurance and provides people with an additional $600 per week on top of the unemployment amount already offered by North Dakota Unemployment benefits.

  • Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) – provides an additional 13 weeks of benefits for regular claims that exhaust benefits and whose benefit year has not expired
  1. Weekly benefit amount is the same as what was paid on the regular claim
  2. Eligible to receives the $600 supplemental payment for each week certified
  • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)
  1. Available to those who do not qualify for a regular unemployment claim
  2. Receives the $600 supplemental payment for each week certified and found eligible

The additional unemployment compensation provided is not considered “income” for purposes of Medicaid and CHIP

Included in the CARES Act is Pandemic Unemployment Assistance which is a program for those who do not qualify for regular unemployment benefits. You can apply at this link for PUA benefits. Please know that the applications for these benefits will not be processed until the federal government provides guidance to the states on implementing this new program.

The waiting week is a one-week delay between the date a claim is filed and the date of the first payment issued. It has been built into the Job Service North Dakota mainframe since before online filing became commonplace. It allows Job Service to verify statements made on claims and is a tool in the fight against insurance fraud. Governor Burgum waived the waiting week on April 1, 2020 in an executive order

Yes, as of April 1. Waiting week payments began going out the week of April 5, and will be back-paid to all claims filed March 8 through April 4.

Waiving the waiting week does not increase the amount of money an individual will be eligible to receive; however, it does help get benefit payments into the hands of claimants sooner

All individuals filing claims with a week ending date of March 14 and going through the duration of this pandemic situation WILL NOT be required to serve a waiting week

No, the benefit payment will be automatic, so individuals do not have to contact Job Service to ask about it or receive it.  In fact citizens are encouraged NOT to call Job Service about it simply because of the call volume they are currently experiencing.

We expect the programming associated with waiving the waiting week to be completed sometime during the week of March 30, and payment of these weeks should be made the week of April 6, barring any unforeseen circumstances.

No, all individuals filing unemployment insurance claims will have their waiting week waived.  Remember, this does not increase or decrease the benefit amount people receive, it simply speeds the process for receipt of that benefit.

Because of the many programming changes associated with new programs introduced in the CARES Act, Job Service North Dakota recognizes the critical need to get each of these programs in place. We had to prioritize the order of programming all while weighing the risk of complete system failure, which could have resulted in the inability to provide any individual a benefit payments at all.  We also took into account the fact that no benefits would be lost by anyone if we could not find a way to program it.

At this time, the federal government still has not provided the guidance necessary to program the new CARES Act programs and has told the states not to act until they have completed it.  We have updated our systems to accept claim applications to PUA and PEUC but will not be processing these types of applications until we receive guidance from the US Department of Labor.

We have waived the waiting week and are currently back paying UI claims filed March 8 through April 4.

Yes, employers will not be directly charged for benefit payments due to the pandemic.  During this time, benefit charges will be charged to the statewide pool of employers.

It is critical that employers respond to Notices of Claims they receive if an individual quits or refuses to return to work when work is available.  Employers can also write or call separate from the Notice of Claim if they run into issues with their employees wanting to remain on UI when work is available.  These are disqualifying situations.

If you get denied through regular UI process and you meet the COVID-19 circumstances, you should apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance PUA). The PUA application went online April 4th. Once your application is in the system you do not have apply again. We are in the process of having the PUA applications synched with our IT main frame. Hopefully, this will happen in next couple of weeks.

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