Team Management

COVID-19 Unemployment Benefits for Every State in the U.S.

Caleb Newquist Editor-at-Large, Gusto 
Unemployment Insurance Benefits COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused millions of people to be unemployed and seek unemployment insurance benefits. In December, the federal government passed a new bill that includes an extension of the pandemic unemployment assistance programs that began last spring (for an overview of federal updates to COVID-19 unemployment programs click on this link). However, the states are in charge of distributing those benefits, and several states have even stepped in with their own measures to support the un- and underemployed. Below is a comprehensive list of state-by-state resources to direct those affected to the latest information on changes to unemployment insurance benefits.


  • FAQ or other general info: Alabama’s Department of Labor has issued an FAQ on coronavirus and unemployment benefits.
  • Expanded eligibility: Alabama maintains that “unemployment benefits are available to individuals who are unemployed through no fault of their own,” however, it notes that anyone under mandatory quarantine due to “suspicion of having the coronavirus” or “ ill because of the coronavirus and unable to work,” or “those who are caring for an immediate family member who is diagnosed with COVID-19,” would be eligible for unemployment benefits. 
  • Waived requirements: Additionally, the one week waiting period will be waived for claimants who have been impacted by COVID-19, and they may not have to search for other work in order to receive benefits.
  • How to file: Start a new benefit claim or file online.



  • FAQ or other general info: Arizona’s Department of Economic Security offers information about unemployment benefits for those individuals impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.
  • Waived requirements: The state is temporarily suspending the “actively seeking work” requirement and the 1-week waiting period during the duration of the emergency declaration.
  • How to file: Apply or file your weekly claim online.



  • FAQ or other general info: The California Labor & Workforce Development Agency has a wealth of information and resources for those affected, including a chart of their various programs, their benefits, and links that point users where to file a claim.
  • Expanded eligibility: The guidance from the Employment Development Department (EDD) states that workers whose employers have shut down or reduced operations due to COVID-19 may apply for unemployment benefits.
  • Waived requirements: The one-week waiting period for unemployment insurance has been waived. Also, on March 24, the California Labor Secretary directed EDD to streamline the benefit claims process. It will allow EDD the flexibility to award benefits before making a final determination on whether the claimant is able and available to work, as is typically required.
  • How to file: Claims are made online.



  • FAQ or other general info: The Connecticut Department of Labor has issued a COVID-19 FAQ for both employees and employers. 
  • Expanded eligibility: Furloughed employees are eligible for at least six weeks of benefits.
  • Waived requirements: CDOL has suspended its work-search requirements, including the requirement that recipients of unemployment come in person to receive one-on-one help.
  • How to file: File your claim online.


District of Columbia


  • FAQ or other general info: The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity has a COVID-19 resources webpage for individuals and employers. 
  • Expanded eligibility: Individuals who may be eligible for assistance include:
    • Those who are quarantined by a medical professional or a government agency,
    • Those who are laid off or sent home without pay for an extended period by their employer due to COVID-19 concerns, or
    • Those who are caring for an immediate family member who is diagnosed with COVID-19.
  • Waived requirements: Governor Ron DeSantis has temporarily waived the work search and waiting period requirements.
  • How to file: Create a profile or log on to file a claim.


  • FAQ or other general info: The Georgia Department of Labor has a COVID-19 information page. 
  • Waived requirements: The state has temporarily waived the work search requirement.
  • How to file: Apply or file for weekly benefits online.



  • FAQ or other general info: The Idaho Department of Labor has posted a page of Claimant FAQs about Unemployment Insurance and COVID-19.  
  • Waived requirements: Claims filed after March 8, 2020, will not be subject to the waiting week.
  • How to file: Users log on into the Idaho Claimant Portal to file.


  • FAQ or other general info: The Illinois Department of Employment Security has an FAQ page with information on UI, PUA, PEUC, extended benefits (EB) as well as considerations for employers. 
  • Expanded eligibility: Employees may be eligible for benefits because: 
    • A medical professional has diagnosed the employee as having COVID-19; 
    • The employee must stay home to care for their spouse, parent, or child, whom a medical professional has diagnosed as having COVID-19
    • Or because of a government-imposed or government-recommended quarantine
  • Waived requirements: Under the emergency rules, individuals would not have to register with the employment service to search for work. They will be considered to be actively seeking work as long as the individual was prepared to return to his or her job as soon as their employer reopened. Illinois is also waiving the 7-day waiting period for residents to apply for unemployment benefits, meaning anyone who qualifies can file and become immediately eligible.
  • How to file: Claims are filed online, and users are encouraged to review all the information required to file.



  • FAQ or other general info: Iowa Workforce Development (IWD) has a COVID-19 webpage with updates and resources. Expanded eligibility: Anyone laid off due to COVID-19 or required to stay home to self-isolate, care for family members, or due to illness related to COVID-19, can receive unemployment benefits, provided they meet all other eligibility requirements. Additionally, individuals who are or will be laid off, or are unable to work for reasons related to COVID-19, will no longer be required to use all paid leave prior to being eligible for unemployment insurance benefits.
  • Requirements: The work search requirement was reinstated in September 2020. 
  • Additional resources: The IWD website also has a list of temporary job opportunities.
  • How to file: New users to the system can apply online, and returning claimants file here


  • FAQ or other general info: The Kansas Department of Labor has distributed a COVID-19 FAQ for unemployed residents. 
  • Expanded eligibility: Anyone who is unemployed or working reduced hours due to COVID-19 and who has taken all necessary steps to return to work for their regular employer may be eligible for UI.
  • Waived requirements: Individuals affected do not have to look for other work, and the waiting week requirement has been waived. 
  • Additional resources: KDOL has set up a page with COVID-19 Response Resources on its website as well.
  • How to file: Call 1-800-292-6300 or create a profile or log on to file your claim.


  • Expanded eligibility: The Kentucky Career Center states that anyone laid off due to COVID-19 may be eligible for UI benefits. Individuals typically not covered by unemployment insurance, including self-employed, independent contractors, freelance workers, substitute teachers, childcare workers employed by religious-affiliated organizations and non-profits can now file. Those who left their job for “good cause” because of reasonable risk of exposure (self-quarantine) or due to caring for a family member affected by the virus are also eligible. Waiting period week and job search requirements are waived.
  • Waived requirements: The seven day waiting period and the work search requirements have been temporarily suspended for individuals laid off due to COVID-19.
  • How to file: File your claim online.


  • FAQ or other general info: The Office of the Governor has a COVID-19 resources webpage that provides a range of information for individuals and businesses that need support with essentials including unemployment, healthcare, loans, and food insecurity.
  • Waived requirements: Work search requirements and the week of waiting have both been waived.
  • How to file: You can apply online through the Louisiana Works HiRE website.




  • FAQ or other general info: Massachusetts has developed a robust page of COVID-19 unemployment information. Massachusetts residents can also sign up to receive COVID-19 related alerts via text, email, or phone.
  • Waived requirements: The worker does not need to provide medical documentation and need only be able and available for work. The one-week waiting period for unemployment benefits is also waived.
  • How to file: Apply for unemployment benefits in Massachusetts online. You can contact the Department of Unemployment Assistance at 617-626-6338 for assistance. 

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  • FAQ or other general info: Minnesota’s Department of Employment & Economic Development COVID-19 page has information for workers affected.
  • Expanded eligibility: An executive order signed by Governor Tim Walz has extended unemployment benefits eligibility to persons who:
    • Have been ordered to avoid contact with others by healthcare professionals or health authorities.
    • Have been ordered not to come to their workplace due to an outbreak of a communicable disease.
    • Have received notification from a school district, daycare, or other childcare provider that either classes are canceled or the applicant’s ordinary childcare is unavailable, provided that the applicant made reasonable effort to obtain other childcare and requested time off or other accommodation from the employer and no reasonable accommodation was available.
  • Waived requirements: The state has temporarily waived the waiting week to give applicants access to unemployment benefits as quickly as possible.
  • How to file: File online




  • FAQ or other general info: The Montana Department of Labor & Industry has a FAQ for both employers and employees that has up-to-date information.  
  • Waived requirements: The work search requirement has been temporarily waived.
  • Additional resources: Montana’s Benefits Estimator helps determine the approximate amount a claimant will receive.
  • How to file: File claims online.


  • FAQ or other general info: Nebraska Department of Labor (NDOL) has distributed COVID-19 FAQs for those who are unemployed as well as employers. Nebraskans can also sign up for COVID-19 updates from Governor Pete Ricketts.
  • How to file: File for unemployment insurance benefits at NEworks. For questions about your claim email:


New Hampshire

New Jersey

  • FAQ or other general info: The New Jersey Department of Labor & Workforce Development includes various scenarios that may arise for workers who find themselves un- or underemployed on their website. There is also an information hub that covers a wide range of COVID-related resources.
  • Additional resources: New Jersey’s COVID-19 information hub includes a jobs and hiring portal with listings from employers looking to hire people immediately.
  • How to file: Apply online on the Official Site of the State of New Jersey.

New Mexico

  • FAQ or other general info: The New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions has a page dedicated to information for workers and employers affected by COVID-19. There’s also an FAQ sheet.
  • Expanded eligibility: Workers may be eligible for Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits if:
    • Employers may lay off some or all of their workforce as a result of the impact of COVID-19; for example, a restaurant that sees a significant reduction in business due to lack of customers dining out during this time, or an event facility that cancels all events until a later date, or bus drivers who are out of work due to temporary school closures.
    • Workers who are self-quarantined or directed to be quarantined, or who have immediate family who is quarantined.
    • Workers who have their hours reduced as a result of COVID-19.
  • Waived requirements: The state has temporarily waived the work search requirement for up to four weeks.
  • How to file: File New Mexico claims online at or call 1-877-664-6984 Monday–Friday, 8:00am–4:30pm.

New York

  • FAQ or other general info: New York offers information on COVID-19 resources for businesses and individuals
  • Waived requirements: The state has temporarily waived the work search requirement and the 7-day waiting period.
  • How to file: to file a new claim in New York, visit this website and follow the instructions, or call the claims center at 1-888-209-8124 Monday through Friday, 8 am to 7:30 pm, Saturday and Sunday, 7:30 am to 8:00 pm.

North Carolina

  • FAQ or other general info: The North Carolina Division of Employment Security (DES) has a page dedicated to UI changes due to COVID-19 that includes an FAQ. 
  • Waived requirements: The Department of Commerce may waive any of the following requirements: 
    • The one-week waiting period to receive benefits
    • The ability and availability to work
    • Work search
    • The actively seeking work requirement
    • The “lack of work” requirement
  • How to file: You can file at or by calling the NC Commerce Customer Call Center at 888-737-0259.

North Dakota


  • FAQ or other general info: The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services has extensive information for employees, employers, and those who are unemployed. 
  • Expanded eligibility: Unemployment benefits will be available for eligible individuals who are requested by a medical professional, local health authority, or employer to be isolated or quarantined as a consequence of COVID-19, even if they are voluntarily in isolation and quarantined, and not actually diagnosed with COVID-19.
  • Waived requirements: The waiting period for eligible Ohioans to receive unemployment benefits has been temporarily waived.
  • How to file: File online at anytime or Call toll-free 1-877-644-6562 Monday – Friday 7am – 7 pm, Saturday 9 am – 5 pm, or Sunday 9 am – 1pm.



  • FAQ or other general info: The Oregon Employment Department has a page dedicated to COVID-19 related business layoffs, closures, and unemployment insurance benefits. 
  • Waived Requirements: A Temporary Rule waives the active work-search requirement and the waiting period.
  • How to file: Follow this guide to apply online.


  • FAQ or other general info: The Pennsylvania Office of Unemployment Compensation has a page dedicated to information for Pennsylvania employees impacted by COVID-19.
  • Expanded eligibility: That pages notes that individuals may be eligible for unemployment compensation benefits if:
    • Your employer temporarily closes or goes out of business because of COVID-19
    • Your employer reduces your hours because of COVID-19
    • You have been told not to work because your employer feels you might get or spread COVID-19
    • You have been told to quarantine or self-isolate or live/work in a county under government-recommended mitigation efforts
  • Waived requirements: Work search, registration, and the waiting week have all been suspended until further notice.
  • How to file: Fill out an online application, call 1-888-313-7284, or submit a paper application via mail to a UC service center.

Rhode Island

  • FAQ or other general info: The Rhode Island Department of Labor & Training (DLT) has COVID-19 resources and updates for businesses and individuals. 
  • Waived requirements: DLT is waiving the seven-day minimum amount of time that claimants must be out of work to qualify for benefits for claims related to COVID-19.
  • How to file: Submit online or call (401) 243-9100.

South Carolina

South Dakota


  • FAQ or other general info: The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development has developed a COVID-19 FAQ page for employers and employees. 
  • Expanded eligibility: Individuals who are required to be quarantined may be eligible for UI benefits provided they meet the other eligibility requirements.
  • Waived requirements: An executive order has temporarily suspended the one-week waiting period for benefits.
  • How to file: Visit or submit through the Jobs4TN app, using this step-by-step guide.


  • FAQ or other general info: The Texas Workforce Commission suggests filing all claims through their online portal due to higher than normal call volumes and long hold times on their telecenter phone lines. More information can be found on the page for job seekers and employees
  • Waived requirements: The one-week waiting period has been suspended. 
  • How to file: Submit a claim through TWC’s Unemployment Benefits Services or call TWC at 800-939-6631 from 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. Central Time Monday through Friday.



  • FAQ or other general info: The Vermont Department of Labor’s COVID-19 page includes information for employees and employers. 
  • Expanded eligibility: Employees who have been laid off, have reduced hours, or are required to self-isolate or quit their job because of COVID-19 may be eligible for unemployment insurance. 
  • Waived Requirements: The state has waived the waiting period and work search requirement for unemployed people affected by COVID-19.
  • How to file: Submit an electronic form, or call the full-service Unemployment Insurance Claims Center at 1-877-214-3330.


  • FAQ or other general info: Information is available on the Virginia Employment Commission’s Q&A on Claims Related to Coronavirus page. 
  • Waived requirements: Starting March 15, 2020, Virginia has waived the one-week waiting period and weekly job-search requirements for receiving unemployment insurance benefits. 
  • How to file: Submit your claim on or call the Customer Contact Center at 866-832-2363 Monday through Friday 8:15am – 4:30pm.


  • FAQ or other general info: Visit the Employment Security Department of Washington for a full list of programs to help workers affected by COVID-19. 
  • Expanded eligibility: While eligibility decisions are made on a case-by-case basis, employees can find information about filing claims here. Gig workers, like rideshare drivers, may be eligible for unemployment benefits and are encouraged to apply.
  • Waived requirements: Job search requirements are temporarily suspended.
  • How to file: Call 800-318-6022 to apply, or submit your application online. There are no in-person unemployment offices in Washington.

West Virginia

  • FAQ or other general info: For more information visit Workforce West Virginia’s COVID-19 and Unemployment page. 
  • Waived requirements: The one-week waiting period, available work requirement, and work search requirements for West Virginia unemployment benefits have been temporarily waived due to COVID-19. 
  • How to file: Submit claims through WorkForce West Virginia’s website.


  • FAQ or other general info: See the full list of frequently asked questions about COVID-19 and Wisconsin Unemployment Benefits at the Department of Workforce Development website.
  • Expanded eligibility: An emergency rule expands eligibility to those who are isolated or quarantined due to COVID-19.
  • Waived requirements: The state has temporarily waived the work search requirement and passed a law removing the waiting week.
  • How to file: You can start the process online here.


  • FAQ or other general info: The Wyoming Department of Workforce Services provides information for individuals and businesses. 
  • Expanded eligibility: Employees laid off due to COVID-19 may be eligible for unemployment benefits if they meet the monetary criteria and the federal weekly eligibility criteria.
  • How to file: File an Initial Claim online, or call the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services at (307) 473-3789.

Looking for more information? Check out Gusto’s COVID-19 Small Business Resource Hub.

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Updated: March 17, 2021

Caleb Newquist
Caleb Newquist Caleb is Editor-at-Large at Gusto. In 2009, he became the founding editor of Going Concern, the one-of-a-kind voice on the accounting profession, serving in the role for 9 years. Prior to Going Concern, Caleb worked as a CPA for nearly 6 years in New York and Denver. He lives in Denver with his wife, two daughters, and two cats.


  • Kenneth Breeden

    Do I have to submit a weekly claim if I lost my job dued to covid 19 after my initial claim?

    • Gusto Editors

      Hi Kenneth—since, it may depend on your state, you’ll want to check your individual state’s unemployment benefits website + consult a lawyer or HR expert for more specific guidance.

  • Teresa

    Where are you getting your information for Oregon? There is no rule temporary or otherwise that is on an official page regarding waiving the waiting week for UI benefits. Only other requirements have been waived. Please advise as to your official source of this information.

    • Gusto Editors

      Hi Teresa — thanks for the catch! We’ve updated the article.

  • Michelle

    Oregon has not yet announced that the waiting week is being waived. Hopeful to see that announced soon.

    • Gusto Editors

      Thanks for the catch, Michelle! We’ve updated the article.

  • Timithy Kunz

    I work at a manufacturing plant in Wausau wi. They remain open as they are qualified as an essential business who makes food grade products. In early Dec of 2019 , my 70 year old uncle sufferd a stroke, how now lives with me.
    I was so afraid that I would bring that virus into my home and he would get sick. He isn’t in very good physical shape and I doubt he would make it. I asked my emoyer for a leave of absence for a few weeks so I could find a different living arrangement for him. None of the assisted living places are taking any new residents. I d k what to do. Would I, qualify for the unemployment benefits for this time off?

    • Gusto Editors

      Hi Timithy, each state has its own rules regarding unemployment benefits, so you will want to check with your state unemployment office to confirm:

  • mohammad ahad

    is it mandatory to put work search log at this outbreak covid19 time?

    • Gusto Editors

      Hi Mohammad — since guidance varies by state and industry, we recommend reaching out to your state unemployment office!

  • christina

    It is my understanding that you can apply for unemployment (we are in NY) if your hours are reduced? Do you know if the extra $600 is also proportionally applied?

    • Gusto Editors

      Hi Christina — since regulations may vary by state, we recommend you reach out to the New York unemployment office!

  • John

    Hi. When will we hear about options for self-employed/contractors?


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