LINCOLN - The Nebraska Department of Labor (NDOL) announced today that payments are being issued for the new federal unemployment insurance benefits provided by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The COVID-19 relief package temporarily provides an additional $600 per week in addition to Nebraska’s regular unemployment benefit, which is about half of a person’s full-time weekly income up to $440 per week for 26 weeks.
Additional $600 Per Week
As part of the CARES Act, unemployment benefits are being expanded to provide an additional $600 per week beginning the week ending April 4, 2020, through the week ending July 25, 2020. This temporary emergency increase in benefits is referred to as the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) program.
On Sunday, Nebraska issued the first $600 payments for the week ending April 11. Payments will be issued soon to individuals eligible for benefits the week ending April 4. The $600 is paid separately from regular unemployment insurance benefits, but no application is needed. Under federal guidelines, $600 payment cannot be issued for weeks of unemployment prior to the week ending April 4.
Anyone who currently has federal or state withholding tax taken out of their benefits will see the same reductions in the FPUC payment. Withholding preferences can be managed in NEworks.nebraska.gov. Other deductions, such as child support, also apply.
The additional $600 per week will also be paid to recipients of Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). This program provides benefits to those not traditionally eligible for unemployment benefits. Every unemployment claim is automatically reviewed for PUA eligibility. Further details regarding PUA will be announced soon.
Unemployment Insurance Waivers
Last week, Governor Pete Ricketts extended waivers to August 1 for COVID-19 unemployment insurance claims. These include the waiver of the requirement to search for work, the waiver of the requirement to serve a waiting week between claim processing and the first payment, and the waiver of employer benefit charges.
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 a new claim is still being processed.