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Due to the extreme conditions caused by the coronavirus, the Alabama Department of Labor has made it easier to get unemployment benefits. Under normal circumstances you qualify for unemployment if you lost your job due to no fault of your own. You can now qualify for benefits of $45 to $275 per week if you can’t work because of one of these four virus related conditions.

Tuscaloosa and West Alabama Employers are Temporarily Closing.

Many Tuscaloosa area businesses are reducing hours and some are closing to the public due to the coronavirus pandemic. While some employers may pay their employees while the workplace is closed, many will not. If your work is closed because of the virus and you’re not getting paid, you should apply for benefits.

If You Have the Coronavirus, Don’t Go To Work.

If you are sick stay home. Do not go to work. You can find more information on the Center for Disease Control’s website.

Many people who are sick or will become sick may not be able to afford staying home from work.  The new rules allow those sick with the coronavirus to receive benefits. If you’re home sick with what you think is the virus, and you’re not getting paid, you should apply for unemployment.

If You Are Home Caring for Someone with the Virus Should You Apply?

What if you live with someone who has the virus? Close contact with those who have the virus could mean that you have or are carrying the virus even if you don’t have symptoms. While the CDC has issued some guidance, they do not say whether or not you should go to work if you live with someone with the virus. Ask your employer before going to work.

If you have to care for someone who has the virus and as a result you can’t go to work, apply for unemployment benefits. If you have an immediate family member who has been diagnosed with the virus you can qualify.

What if I’ve been quarantined, but don’t know if I have the virus?

If it is suspected that you might have the virus you may be told to quarantine yourself for about two weeks. This will require you to isolate yourself from others and not go to work. If you are quarantined and you are not paid you should apply for unemployment benefits.

What proof do I need for unemployment?

The unemployment office might require proof that you were sick with the coronavirus, your family member was sick, or that you were quarantined. Therefore, if you have symptoms of the virus don’t go to work, but do get tested.

Ask for some written medical record that shows you were quarantined, that you had the virus, or that you were caring for a family member with the virus.  In the absence of such records you may want to keep a diary of your symptoms, or those of your family member.  Even a picture of yourself at the hospital or in line at a drive through testing sight could help prove your claim.

What to do and Where to Apply:

  1. Read the Department of Labor’s “Frequently Asked Questions;”
  2. If you are recently unemployed and want to file a claim can do so through the Department of Labor’s website; and
  3. Contact the lawyers at Browne House Law for more information about your employment rights.