Unemployment Compensation Expanded Due to COVID-19


UPDATE: 4/8/20


Under the CARES Act, unemployment compensation has been expanded nationally. 

If you are eligible, you are eligible for the maximum weekly benefit in Alabama, PLUS an additional $600 per week.

  • The max weekly benefit in Alabama is $265. Not everyone qualifies for this maximum amount. It's based on how long you worked at your job. 
  • Whatever your max weekly benefit is, you're entitled to an additional $600 per week. 
  • These funds are not yet available in Alabama. You should file a claim now if you have been affected. You should be able to receive retroactive benefits once they are available. 


You are eligible if you are out of work due to COVID-19. There are many applicable scenarios, including, but not limited to:

  • You or a household member is diagnosed with COVID-19, or you are caring for a household or family member
    • This changes the normal rule that you must be "able and available" for work in order to get UC
  • Your child is out of school/daycare due to COVID-19
  • You're under mandatory quarantine or your healhcare provider has advised you to self-quarantine
    • This is a change/expansnsion from previous guidance issued in Alabama
  • Your head of household died from COVID-19, and you are now the "breadwinner" for the household
  • You were unable to start a new job due to COVID-19, you had to quit your job due to COVID-19, or your business is closed due to COVID-19
    • This changes the normal rule that you can't get UC if you quit a job


Under the CARES Act, unemployment has now also been expanded to the following groups who were usually not eligible for UC:
  • The self-employed
  • Church employees
  • Non-profit and governmental employees
  • Indpendent contractors
  • Gig economy workers
  • Those who have exhausted their regular UC benefits.


Other Notes
  • You may also qualify for UC if your hours have been reduced due to COVID-19. 
  • You are also eligible for up to 13 additional weeks of benefits from what you would normally be entitled to under Alabama law. 


How to File a Claim?

You can file a claim online or over the phone (1-866-234-5382).

Note: The Department of Labor is experiencing an extremely high volume of applicants, and so wait times have increased significantly. You may not hear back right away. 


If you have questions about whether or not you qualify or the application process, you can contact Legal Services Alabama for help at 1-866-456-4995  or apply online HERE

Press release from Alabama Department of Labor 3/31/20: www.labor.alabama.gov

Last Review and Update: Apr 08, 2020