Coronavirus Update! -- What Rhode Island Residents Need to Know About Unemployment Benefits
As the coronavirus sweeps across the country, the unemployment rate is skyrocketing in every state. If you have lost your job in Rhode Island, apply for unemployment benefits at the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training. Learn about how unemployment claims relating to COVID-19 will be handled in Rhode Island.
A record-shattering 10 million claims for unemployment benefits were filed in the last two full weeks of March 2020, and experts predict claims could rise even higher due to COVID-19 and the steps state and local governments have taken to contain it, from orders shutting down nonessential businesses to shelter-in-place restrictions, school closures, and more.
If You Are Still Employed: You may be eligible for emergency paid sick leave or paid family leave under a new federal law, the Families First Coronavirus Act. Some states also provide paid time off that may be available to you. See Am I Entitled to Paid Sick Leave, Family Leave, or Vacation Time in Rhode Island to learn more about these programs.
Federal and state governments are rapidly making changes to their unemployment programs, to ensure that more people who are out of work receive benefits more quickly.
Federal CARES Act Expands Benefits to Workers in Rhode Island
Congress has passed a $2 trillion stimulus package, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security ("CARES") Act, which greatly expands the nation's unemployment compensation program. Employees eligible for unemployment in Rhode Island will receive an additional $600 per week of federally-funded benefits, on top of what Rhode Island already pays. These additional benefits will be available through July 31, 2020. And, unemployed individuals who run out of state-funded benefits will receive an additional 13 weeks of benefits, available through December 31, 2020.