Stimulus package benefits furloughed workers, too

Extended unemployment benefits apply to freelancers, furloughed employees and gig workers

Consumer adviser Clark Howard breaks down what you should know about money being handed out.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, signed Friday by President Donald Trump, expands unemployment benefits to include not just more money, but also more people who can receive that money.

The CARES Act expands unemployment insurance by 13 weeks and includes a four-month enhancement of benefits — an additional $600 per week — on top of what state unemployment programs pay.

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The program includes freelancers, furloughed employees and gig workers, such as Uber and Lyft drivers.

One benefit of the federal program, the National Law Review notes, is that it doesn't require an individual to be actively seeking work to receive unemployment benefits.

Benefits are available for the duration of a person’s unemployment, partial unemployment or inability to work, up to a maximum of 39 weeks. This is a 13-week increase of the 26-week maximum states allow.

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The Georgia Department of Labor has updated its website in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, but is awaiting guidance from the U.S. Department of Labor.

“Once the Department is provided with operational instructions from USDOL, we will work to make the benefits approved by the Act available to qualified individuals. Please continue to monitor our website and your My UI account for updates,” the website states.

In the meantime, you can get information on filing an unemployment claim, applying for benefits and answers to frequently asked questions.

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