Labor Commissioner Announces Unemployment Insurance Updates
LINCOLN - The Nebraska Department of Labor (NDOL) announced unemployment insurance updates today, including the extension of waivers for COVID-19 to August 1. Albin also announced that workers participating in Short-Time Compensation (STC) plans will be eligible for $600 per week in federal benefits under the CARES Act, in addition to their partial unemployment benefits through STC.
Executive Order Extends Waivers Through August 1
- Work Search - This waiver applies to all workers filing for regular state unemployment and federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. While many job search efforts are conducted online, waiving the requirement to search for work is in line with the social distancing practices that are needed to limit the spread of COVID-19 and potential exposure to the disease.
- Unpaid Waiting Week - This change will make the first week of eligibility payable rather than an unpaid waiting week.
- Employer charging - Unemployment benefits are typically paid with contributions from employers. NDOL will temporarily waive charges incurred by employers whose team members are filing claims related to COVID-19. Nebraska has a healthy Trust Fund that will be utilized to pay for unemployment benefits tied to COVID-19.
Increase in Short-Time Compensation
The Short-Time Compensation program helps prevent layoffs by allowing employers to uniformly reduce affected employees’ hours by 10 to 60 percent while permitting the employees to receive a prorated unemployment benefit. The latest federal guidelines under the CARES Act allow workers under this program to receive an additional $600 per week, effective March 28.
The federal CARES Act created a temporary program that offers benefits to individuals not eligible for regular unemployment insurance benefits including the self-employed, independent contractors, gig workers, and others (Pandemic Unemployment Assistance or PUA). The act also increases the amount an individual on regular unemployment or PUA will receive by $600 for every week an individual is unemployed. Once the Department receives guidance from the Federal Government, all individuals who qualify will receive $600 in additional benefits for each eligible week of unemployment, including prior weeks. Workers who have been affected by the pandemic should file a claim for unemployment. NDOL will automatically review every claim that comes in for eligibility under the CARES Act.
Filing A Claim
Any worker in a non-paid status due to COVID-19 may file a claim for unemployment insurance benefits. Unemployment claims in Nebraska are filed online at NEworks.nebraska.gov. The NEworks mobile app is available to download for free. After filing a new initial claim, applicants must certify their eligibility every week that they continue to be unemployed by logging into their NEworks account. These weekly certifications must be completed even while the new claim is still being processed. Claim and payment status can be viewed by logging into the NEworks account.