LINCOLN - The Nebraska Department of Labor (NDOL) announced today that 24,527 new unemployment insurance claims were filed during the week ending March 28, 2020. This is an increase of 56.6 percent from the previous week when 15,666 initial claims were filed. The number of initial claims filed in the past two weeks nearly equaled the total for the entire 2019 calendar year (41,727). Spreadsheets showing claims data are available here and will be updated every Thursday.
Initial claims are filed by individuals to request a determination of eligibility for unemployment insurance benefits. NDOL processes initial unemployment insurance claims and, if an individual meets eligibility critieria, benefits are paid for each week of continued unemployment.
Claims by Industry
The highest counts of initial claims were in the accommodation and food services industry (5,163), although this industry declined from the prior week (6,040). Manufacturing saw a 216% increase in initial claims (1,490, up 1,019) over-the-week; health care and social assistance had the biggest numerical gain (3,539 claims, up 1,822 or 106%).
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 eligilibity 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 also be viewed by logging into the NEworks account.
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. This act also increases the amount an invidual will receive by $600 for every week an individual is unemployed. Once the Department receive guidance from the Federal Government, all individuals who qualify will receive $600 in additional benefits for each eligible week of unemployment, including prior weeks.