MoneyLife

Reasons You May Not Have Received Unemployment Yet

By Grace Kilander

Still, waiting for unemployment back pay? Or were you forced to file a new claim or reactivate your old claim due to new layoffs? Nonetheless, you’ve been calling the unemployment office non-stop to try and rectify the situation, but despite your consistent efforts to speak to someone, you never get through the line. 

You’re not alone in your frustrations, many states like California, Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, and Virginia are amongst states who are continuing to see major delays in unemployment benefits. 

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 California, where the Employment Development Department (EDD) has been riddled with issues surrounding the estimated $31 billion in suspected unemployment fraud. This mess has caused legitimate California claimants to have their benefits cut off and threaten much-needed taxpayer funds. 

California’s employment agency is planning to hire 900 more employees to handle the inundated unemployment call center unemployment. Applicants have complained of extremely long wait times spanning several hours, only to be disconnected. This is leaving many desperate and uncertain as to when they’ll find relief. 

While most unemployment offices across the nation are back open, you should expect heavy COVID guidelines and long lines. 

Your application for unemployment was denied 

There’s a chance your unemployment application 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. Or you had to reopen your claim due to a secondary layoff. Many applicants have 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 receive your benefits from a state-issued debit card? Although, you might have thought this option was going to be more favorable than direct deposit? Many who’ve filed for unemployment and selected this option never received their cards. Even worse, the call centers are so back up that they’re unable to follow-up with unemployment claimants. 

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 could be eligible for extended unemployment 

On February 27, 2021, the House passed a $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan of 2021 stimulus package. Included in the proposed bill is another stimulus relief payment of $1400 per eligible individual. Additionally, President Biden’s proposed bill plans to extend Federal unemployment for individuals who wouldn’t otherwise qualify for coverage under Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC). This extension includes the Pandemic Additional Compensation of $300 per week for eligible recipients through March 14, 2021.

Some states haven’t yet updated their systems to process these claims and/or they’ve been overwhelmed. Consequently, your application may have inadvertently been denied or is pending approval. 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 the PUA and PEUC. 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.

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