Has it been weeks since you were approved for unemployment, but you still haven’t received benefits? Or maybe your application has been pending for some time, and you can’t speak with someone to find out why?
Either way, the bills are piling up, cash is running low, and you’re growing more and more anxious as the days pass.
Why the delay? Here are some reasons why unemployment proceeds haven’t quite made it to your bank account.
You weren’t able to apply for benefits.
This is all too familiar in states like Florida, where the unemployment office has been riddled with issues. The staff is overwhelmed, the website continuously glitches, and individuals attempting to apply for benefits are kicked out and unable to log in. Some applicants have been able to fill out the online application, but the system suddenly timed out the moment it was time to hit submit. When they tried to start from scratch, they were unable to login.
The toll-free hotline isn’t much help since it’s inundated with more calls than it can handle each day. Applicants have complained of extremely long wait times spanning several hours, only to be disconnected. And the local offices are closed, leaving many desperate and uncertain as to when they’ll find relief.
In an attempt to eradicate the issue, Florida spent millions on building a user-friendly website. They also began distributing paper applications to those who had trouble applying online or by phone. Consequently, benefits have started going out to provide desperately needed relief.
Unfortunately, some in other states still haven’t had much luck.
Your application for unemployment was denied.
There’s a chance your application for unemployment was denied and you weren’t alerted. Maybe there’s a glitch in the system, and the status of your claim hasn’t yet been updated. Applicants have also reported that they were unable to verify their identity, resulting in a denial.
Have you encountered this issue and are certain you’re eligible for benefits? It’s a good idea to appeal the decision or reapply sooner rather than later.
Your state has a backlog of claims.
A historically higher number of Americans have filed for unemployment since the COVID-19 crisis began. Consequently, many states have a backlog of claims and are scrambling to process applications and distribute benefits to those who qualify.
If you haven’t yet received payment and are unable to check the status of your claim, this could be the culprit.
Your state-issued debit card never arrived or isn’t working.
Did you opt to receive your benefits via a state-issued debit card? Maybe you thought it was a more convenient option than a direct deposit or don’t have a bank account for the funds to go through? Sounds viable, but many who’ve filed for unemployment and selected this option never received their cards. Even worse, the phone lines are so jammed that they’re unable to follow-up.
There have been other instances of claimants selecting direct deposit and receiving a notification that the benefits were sent to a prepaid card. Unfortunately, the card never quite arrived in the mail. Other applicants did receive the card as promised, and it isn’t working. Follow up with your state card provider for help.
You’re eligible for unemployment under the CARES Act.
Last month, a $2 trillion aid package that was rolled out included unemployment benefits for individuals who wouldn’t otherwise qualify for coverage. This includes adding a weekly benefit of $600 to every unemployment check through July of 2020 for independent contractors and gig-economy drivers.
Some states haven’t yet updated their systems to process these claims. Consequently, your application may have inadvertently been denied. But why is it such an issue? The systems aren’t designed to process applications for non-traditional unemployment benefits, and updates are needed to ensure the claims are correctly routed, processed and the correct amount of benefits are distributed.
Call the unemployment assistance hotline in your state or check the website for additional guidance regarding Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). You may be told to reapply to receive the benefits you’re entitled to.
Be mindful that some states haven’t yet set up their PUA programs, and you will have to wait to apply for benefits. The good news is you will be eligible for retroactive pay, despite the delays, as it was written into the federal law.
A Final Thought
It’s frustrating to wait around for unemployment benefits you’re rightfully entitled to. But it’s worthwhile to continue fighting until your claim is approved. In the meantime, consider Instacash advances or a credit builder loan from MoneyLion if you need fast cash or want to rebuild your credit.