I have exhausted all of my unemployment benefits. What do I do now?

Posted on: September 18, 2020

Updated December 29, 2020.

If you have received a letter from the Louisiana Workforce Commission saying that your unemployment benefits will end soon or that your benefits have ended, you MAY be eligible for an extension of benefits. 

How do I know if my unemployment benefits are going to end soon? 

You may have received a notice through your HIRE account or to your email address stating that you are “approaching the maximum payable amount for your benefit year.” This notice states that you should check your claim balance under your claim summary. 

This is because Claimants are only allowed to receive benefits for a specific period of time. The length of time will depend on what type of unemployment you are under. 

  • If you are receiving benefits under regular unemployment compensation you may only receive unemployment benefits up to 26 weeks. Once you have received your benefits for 26 weeks, you will stop receiving payments from LWC. 
  • If you are receiving benefits under Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) you may only receive benefits for up to 50 weeks. People who are already under this program have will most likely not exhaust their benefits unless they were receiving benefits for the months of February to May. PUA is now available until March 14, 2021. But no one gets more than 50 weeks.

If you received a notice stating that your Benefit Year was to end on December 26, 2020, you do not need to do anything right now. LWC has put a notice on the HIRE portal that it will automatically update the system as needed. 

If you accidentally did refile anytime on or after December 26, 2020, LWC will also correct and update your claim for you. You do not have to do anything right now.

What if I did not receive a notice, but my unemployment benefits have stopped? 

There may be other problems with your unemployment account. To check if you have used up all your benefits, you should log into to your HIRE account and follow these steps:

  • First: Once you have logged in, you will need to click the “Menu” button at the top right corner of your page. You will then see a list of 5 choices. Click on the one that says “Services for Individuals.” 
  • Second: You should now see another list of 14 choices. You will need to click on the option, “Unemployment Services,” and you will be given another list of options.
  • Third:  You will now need to scroll down until you see the option named, “Claim Summary,” where you will be taken to a new page.
  • Fourth: Once you are on the new page, you need to scroll down where it says “Claim Details,” There you will find different information about your account. Under “Claim Benefit Balance,” you will know the amount of funds you still have for your unemployment benefits. 

Your claim summary page will also let you see if there are any other problems with your claim. At the top of your claim summary there is a header labeled as “Any Unresolved Issues?” If there is a “Yes” next to the header than there is most likely a problem with your claim. Usually these problems are listed below this section, but this is not always the case.

If you do not have a HIRE account, you should have received a notice from LWC as to why your benefits stopped. Though you can check the status of your claim by calling the Agency’s phone line system. Information on how to do this can be found below under the question, “How do I apply for Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation?”

Is there any way that I can reapply for unemployment benefits? 

You cannot refile for unemployment benefits until your benefit claim year ends. This is different for each claimant. 

Is there another way for me to receive unemployment benefits? 

Yes. You may qualify for an extension of benefits under the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program. If you qualify, you may continue to receive benefits for an additional 24 weeks. This benefit is available through March 14, 2021. 

How do I know if I am eligible for Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation?

Individuals must have used up all 26 weeks of their available state benefits with a benefit year ending on or after July 1, 2019. In addition, you must not have rights to any other state or federal unemployment compensation and must be available and actively searching for work. 

People on “Pandemic Unemployment Assistance” already qualify for up to 50 weeks of benefits. So they do not get Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation. If you are on Pandemic Unemployment Assistance your notices say this.

Some people are not required to do work searches. For more information about work searches click here.

How do I apply for Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation?

As soon as you see that your “Claim Benefit Balance” has a zero balance you will need to refile for your benefits. However, you will not be allowed to refile until the following SUNDAY of the last week you receive a weekly benefit amount. The system will not allow you to refile earlier. You may refile for benefits through your HIRE account by following these steps: 

  • First: You must login into your HIRE account. 
  • Second: Once you have logged in, you will need to click the “Menu” button at the top right corner of your page. You will then see a list of 5 choices. Click on the one that says “Services for Individuals.” 
  • Third: You should now see another list of 14 choices. You will need to click on the option, “Unemployment Services,” and you will be given another list of options.
  • Fourth:  You will now need to scroll down until you see the option named, “File a Claim,” where you will be taken to a new page. 
  • Fifth: Once you have refiled you should receive a “monetary determination” notice and a notice of eligibility for Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation.

You may also refile through the Louisiana Workforce Commission’s phone number 1-866-783-5567. The phone line system is available from Monday to Friday at 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Though you will need to call on your designated. Your designated day is based on the last four digits of your Social Security Number. 

  • If your Social Security Number ends with 0000-2499, your designated call-in day will be Mondays. 
  • If your Social Security Number ends with 2500-4999, your designated call-in day will be Tuesdays. 
  • If your Social Security Number ends with 5000-7499, your designated call-in day will be Wednesdays. 
  • If your Social Security Number ends with 7500-9999, your designated call-in day will be Thursdays. 
  • Fridays are open to anyone needing assistance. 

It is encouraged if possible for you to refile through your HIRE account. HIRE accounts allow you to easily check the status of your claims and if there are other problems with your claim. 

If you refile and do not receive any information about your application for extended benefits Southeast Louisiana Legal Services might be able to assist you. You can apply for our services at our webpage or click here for more information. 

How much may I receive from Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation? 

This amount may vary depending on your situation and wage history. People who may qualify for Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation will receive the same weekly benefit amount that would have under their original 26 weeks of unemployment compensation ($10 to $247). 

People may receive up to 24 weeks of benefits under Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation. 

What happens after I have exhausted my Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation? 

If you have reached the maximum amount of benefits for your regular unemployment compensation and your Pandemic Emergency Unemployment compensation, you may be eligible for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance if your unemployment has been affected by COVID-19. 

These are some examples of COVID-19 related reasons:

  • You have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and are seeking medical diagnosis;
  • A member of your household has been diagnosed with COVID-19;
  • You are providing care for a family member or a member of your household who has COVID-19;
  • A child or other person in the household for which you are responsible for is unable to attend school or another facility that is closed as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency and such school or facility care is required for the individual to work;
  • You are unable to reach your job because of a quarantine imposed as a direct result of COVID-19;
  • You cannot reach your job because you have been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to COVID-19;
  • You were scheduled to commence employment and do not have a job or are unable to reach the job as a direct result of the COVID-19;
  • You have become the breadwinner or major support for a household because the head of the household has died as a direct result of COVID-19, and/or 
  • Your place of employment is closed as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency. 
  • Other reasons related to COVID-19 may be recognized by the Agency depending on the facts revolving your situation. 

Those who are eligible for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance are allowed to receive benefits for up to 50 weeks.  But this program ends on March 14, 2021. Once you have received benefits for 50 weeks, you will stop receiving payments. If you have already received Pandemic Unemployment Assistance benefits you may not qualify again. 

Again if you are having problems and need legal assistance, you can apply for our services at our webpage or click here for more information. 

SLLS serves clients in 22 parishes in across southeast Louisiana. You can view our service areas here. If you are looking for legal assistance outside of our service areas, click here.  

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