Unemployment offered for those hit by coronavirus

By SPECIAL TO THE PRESS REGISTER,

With stores and restaurants closing or reducing hours as a result of this pandemic, many hard-working Mississippians are suddenly out of work. To help, unemployment insurance benefits have been expanded to include the self-employed, independent contractors, part-time workers, and even those who are only partly unemployed as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic. Determinations of eligibility will be made on a case-by-case basis.

Mississippi benefits can typically be collected for up to 26 weeks. Under the CARES Act, benefits can be extended an additional 13 weeks. Governor Reeves waived certain regular program directives, including work search requirements and the 1-week waiting period. Claims are typically effective the Sunday of the week you file your initial claim.

The maximum Mississippi benefit is typically $235 per week. But, eligible workers will get an extra $600 per week on top of State benefits. This extra payment will last for up to four months, covering the weeks of unemployment ending with July 31, 2020. The extra $600 counts as income when determining eligibility for some means-tested programs, but not for Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program.

The Mississippi Department of Employment Services (MDES) has set up a call center to help people apply at 1-888-844-3577 and it is available seven days a week.

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