U.S. and Canadian Unemployment Resources

Listed below is information about Unemployment Insurance access and any special provisions some states have undertaken in this extraordinary emergency.

United States

The U.S. Department of Labor recently announced new guidance outlining flexibilities that states have in administering their unemployment insurance (UI) programs to assist Americans affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Under the guidance, federal law permits significant flexibility for states to amend their laws to provide unemployment insurance benefits in multiple scenarios related to COVID-19. For example, federal law allows states to pay benefits where:

  • An employer temporarily ceases operations due to COVID-19, preventing employees from coming to work;
  • An individual is quarantined with the expectation of returning to work after the quarantine is over; and
  • An individual leaves employment due to a risk of exposure or infection or to care for a family member.

In addition, federal law does not require an employee to be unemployed to receive benefits due to the impact of COVID-19.

Many states are waiving waiting periods for unemployment benefits.

Railroad Retirement Board – Railroad Unemployment Insurance (RUI)

* Expansion – Those qualifying for RUI will receive expanded benefits. The total biweekly maximum will be $1,933.98 (the regular max of $733.98 plus the additional $1,200 every 2 weeks).

* Extension – The current 26-week limit for RUI benefits is being extended by 13 weeks (39 weeks total)

* Waive Waiting Period – The standard 7-day waiting period for applying for benefits has been waived.

* Funding – Congress has appropriated $425 million to cover RUI extension and expansion. They also appropriated $5 million to RRB to be able to administer these benefits.


Workers — including the self-employed — who are quarantined or sick with COVID-19 can apply, as can those staying home to take care of a family member with COVID-19 who doesn’t qualify. Parents staying home to care for children because of school closures are also covered, and can apply whether or not they qualify for EI.

To apply for EI benefits, you can visit: https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/ei/ei-sickness/apply.html. Afterwards, you can apply to have the one-week waiting period waived by calling the government’s toll-free number at 1-833-381-2725, or teletypewriter at 1-800-529-3742.


U.S. Resources by State/Territory

Alabama – https://labor.alabama.gov/unemployment.aspx

Alaska – https://labor.alaska.gov/unemployment/COVID-19.htm

Arizona – https://des.az.gov/services/employment/unemployment-individual

Arkansas – https://www.dws.arkansas.gov/unemployment/how-to-file-a-ui-claim/

  • Waiting period and work-search waived
  • Apply on-line or by telephone

California – https://www.edd.ca.gov/unemployment/

  • waived the one-week unpaid waiting period
  • unable to work because you are caring for an ill or quarantined family member
  • partial wage replacement benefit payments to workers who lose their job or have their hours reduced

Colorado – https://www.colorado.gov/cdle

  • reduced your hours to help stop the spread of COVID-19 you may file a claim

Connecticut – https://www.ctdol.state.ct.us/

Delaware – https://ui.delawareworks.com/

  • waived the one-week unpaid waiting period
  • unable to work because you are caring for an ill or quarantined family member
  • unable to work because you are caring for child

District of Columbia – https://does.dc.gov/

  • waived the one-week unpaid waiting period
  • waived job search requirement

Florida – https://www.stateofflorida.com/

  • waived job search requirement

Guam – dol.guam.gov

Georgia – https://dol.georgia.gov/

  • employers mandated to electronically file partial claims on behalf of their employees
  • Employees for whom a partial claim is filed are not required to report to a GDOL career center, register for employment services, or seek other work.

Hawaii – https://labor.hawaii.gov/ui/

  • Waived waiting period

Idaho – https://labor.idaho.gov/dnn

Illinois – https://www2.illinois.gov/

  • unable to work because you are caring for an ill or quarantined family member
  • unable to work because you are caring for child

Indiana – https://www.in.gov/dwd/3474.htm

  • Benefits will be paid to individuals who file their initial unemployment claims late
  • Workers for whom tips make up a significant portion of their income will be allowed to include tips when the unemployment benefits are calculated.
  • exempt from visiting WorkOne for the next four weeks or through the week of April 17.

Iowa – https://www.iowaworkforcedevelopment.gov/

  • Work search requirements will be waived. 
  • self-isolate, care for family members or due to illness related to COVID-19, you can receive unemployment benefits

Kansas – https://www.getkansasbenefits.gov/Home.aspx

  • short-term assistance program to help those whose employment has been adversely impacted by COVID-19.

Kentucky – https://kcc.ky.gov/

  • waived the seven-day waiting period to apply
  • waived the work search requirements to renew benefits

Louisiana – http://www.louisianaworks.net/hire

  • Work search requirements are waived
  • Week of waiting is waived

Maine – https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/

  • Work search requirements are waived
  • waiting period is waived

Maryland – http://www.dllr.state.md.us/employment

  • Work search requirements are waived for temporary lay offs

Massachusetts – www.mass.gov

  • requirements regarding attending seminars at the MassHire career centers have been suspended. 
  • Deadlines missed by employers and claimants due to effects of COVID-19 may be excused under DUA’s good cause provision. 
  • “Worksearch” requirements will be interpreted to appropriately permit claimants affected by COVID-19 to collect benefits.
  • DUA may pay unemployment benefits if a worker is quarantined due to an order by a civil authority or medical professional, or leaves employment due to reasonable risk of exposure or infection or to care for a family member.  
  • waived the 1 week waiting period for unemployment benefits.

Michigan – https://fileunemployment.org/michigan/

  • benefits extended to 26 weeks
  • application period extended to 28 days
  • work search requirements suspended

Minnesota – https://www.uimn.org/

  • Work search requirements are waived
  • waiting period is waived

Mississippi – https://mdes.ms.gov/

Missouri – https://labor.mo.gov

  • Weekly work search requirements are not required when there is a recall date within eight weeks of the temporary lay-off.

Montana – http://www.montanaworks.gov/

  • Worker is caring for a family member impacted by COVID 19

Nebraska – https://dol.nebraska.gov/uibenefits

  • The waiting week for benefits has been waived
  • Benefits will begin immediately and not with the usual first week unpaid
  • The work search requirements will be waived
  • Individuals will not have to apply to jobs in order to receive benefits

Nevada – http://ui.nv.gov/home.htm

New Hampshire – https://www.nhes.nh.gov

  • Individuals who are unable to work or who have reduced hours due to the COVID-19 pandemic will have immediate access to unemployment benefits
  • eligible if your employer temporarily closes due to COVID-19;
  • Individuals that need to self-quarantine or are directed to quarantine at the instruction of a health care provider, employer or government official are eligible
  • Individuals that need to care for a family member that has COVID-19 or is under quarantine are eligible
  • Individuals that need to care for a dependent because of school closures, child care facility closures or other similar types of care programs are eligible

New Jersey – myunemployment.nj.gov

New Mexico – www.jobs.state.nm.us

  • work search requirement for affected workers has been waived for up to four weeks
  •  self-isolate or caring for an immediate family member that is self-isolated will be eligible

New York – https://applications.labor.ny.gov/

  • NYS is waiving the 7-Day waiting period

North Carolina – https://des.nc.gov/

  • Waived work search requirement

North Dakota – https://www.jobsnd.com/unemployment-individuals/file-claim

Ohio – https://unemployment.ohio.gov/PublicSelfServiceChoice.html

  • exempt from requirements to actively seek work.
  • extended benefits to workers whose employers have temporarily shut down
  • waiving the 1-week delay for benefits

Oklahoma – https://unemployment.state.ok.us/

  • waiting period waived

Oregon – https://www.oregon.gov/employ/unemployment

  • waived work search requirement
  • temporary lay-offs eligible

Pennsylvania – https://www.uc.pa.gov

  • waived work search requirement
  • Waiting Week is suspended

Puerto Rico – https://www.unemploymentofficelocations.net/puerto-rico-unemployment-department-ud52

Rhode Island – http://www.dlt.ri.gov/ui/

  • Waived 7 day waiting period

South Carolina – https://scuihub.dew.sc.gov

  • Temporary lay-off and reduced hours eligible for 6 weeks

South Dakota – http://raclaims.sd.gov/

  • Waived employment search requirement for 10 weeks

Tennessee – https://www.jobs4tn.gov/vosnet/Default.aspx

  • Waived job search requirement
  • Temporary lay-off and quarantined workers are eligible

Texas – https://twc.texas.gov/jobseekers/unemployment-benefits-services

  • Waiving job search requirement
  • Waiving waiting period

U.S. Virgin Islands – https://www.vidol.gov/

Utah – https://jobs.utah.gov/ui/home/

  • Work search deferral on case by case basis

Vermont – https://uipublic.labor.vermont.gov/

Virginia – http://www.vec.virginia.gov/

  • Waiting period waived
  • Job search requirement waived

Washington – https://esd.wa.gov/unemployment

  • Up to 12 weeks of “standby” temporary unemployment-no job search required
  • Waiting period waived

West Virginia – workforcewv.org  

  • Waiting period waived
  • Able and available work requirement waived
  • Work search requirement waived

Wisconsin – www.dwd.wisconsin.gov

Wyoming – www.wyomingworkforce.org

  • Work search waived for temporary layoffs up to 12 weeks
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