Applying for unemployment in Birmingham + other options

All of this can make your head spin—here are your options. Photo by Kaitlyn Baker on Unsplash.

My friend was recently laid off from her job in the service industry with the promise that once things re-open, she’d be re-hired. The business suggested my friend file for unemployment in the meantime—something she hadn’t anticipated needing to do just a few weeks ago. Here are the steps you can take if you find yourself in a similar position and other options in Birmingham regarding unemployment during COVID-19.

First off, how do you know if you’re eligible?

Birmingham, jobs, webinars, Zoom, work at home
There are several exceptions and rules when filing for unemployment. Photo via Big Marker

The Alabama Department of Labor has answers to a lot of frequently asked questions. Here are the basics, but please read through all of them for specifics:

  • Unemployment benefits are available to individuals who are unemployed through no fault of their own, i.e. if their workplaces shut down or cut back costs due to COVID-19.
  • If an employee is in mandatory quarantine because of suspicion of having COVID-19 OR they are ill due to COVID-19 they’ll be eligible for unemployment.

Remember: No unemployment benefits of any kind are available to employees who:

  • Quit without good work-related cause
  • Refuse to return to work
  • Refuse to receive full-time pay

What if I run my own business and have had to shut down due to COVID-19?

Under the CARES Act, the self-employed, church workers, nonprofit workers, and those who have exhausted benefits may be eligible for unemployment benefits through the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program and are encouraged to apply.

  • Read more about the CARES Act (Please be aware that there are high rates of fraud. The Small Business Administration WILL NOT contact you directly about these opportunities unless you have already filed an application.)

If you’re an employee who’s been laid off

If you are an employer filing on behalf of your employees

Filing for Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC)

Another acronym to add to your list, but one you may find helpful. The PEUC benefit provides an additional 13 weeks of emergency unemployment insurance for people who remain unemployed after they have exhausted their traditional unemployment benefits.

What about my stimulus check?

Some may have already had the $1200 stimulus check directly deposited into their account, but there are still many people who haven’t received it. Here are a few helpful resources for more info:

Birmingham resources + where to find employment

Birmingham, jobs
Downtown Birmingham. Photo via @zacksyl on Instagram

Small Business Owners and Nonprofits

BhamStrong has several options for business owners and nonprofits. For example, if you do not have a current relationship with a bank or lender, you can work with Hope Credit Union to complete a loan application.

Small businesses can also apply for the #BhamStrongLoan. While the first round of the application has closed, join the mailing list and you’ll receive an email if a second round is opened. More information.

Job seekers

Birmingham Service Corps, which launched this month, pays volunteers to work on projects solving emergent and growing needs in our community as they relate to the COVID-19 crisis. Apply.

Some of the jobs are even remote and include options such as:

  • Call center for COVID symptom screening
  • Call center for CARES Act support
  • School lunch preparation and delivery
  • School supply distribution
  • BhamStrong Shuttle Service

More info: BhamStrong offers new employment program—how to apply

Help for further issues related to unemployment or COVID-19 crisis

Birmingham is here to get you through this—here are a few resources we’ve written about that you may find helpful for various issues.

If you just need some GOOD news in your life, check out our story on Birmingham’s superheroes and share it with the hero in your life.

Did you know Bham Now sends out a list of new jobs every week? Subscribe to our newsletter to see who’s hiring in Birmingham.