How do I apply for unemployment benefits in Utah and am I eligible?

Coronavirus Updates

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – With a growing number of cases of COVID-19 or coronavirus and government mandates and warnings on social distancing, many are finding themselves without work or with their work hours severely limited.

As of Monday, March 23, there are more than 250 cases of coronavirus in Utah and one death from the virus in Davis County. The Utah Coronavirus Task Force said that the vast majority of patients with COVID-19 will recover on their own.

Applying for unemployment with all of the additional stresses imposed by COVID-19 can seem overwhelming. Here is a basic explanation of how to apply for unemployment and who qualifies.

RELATED: Here’s how Utah leaders plan to help workers, businesses during coronavirus restrictions

Am I eligible to receive unemployment?

According to USA.gov, unemployment insurance programs pay you money if you lose your job through no fault of your own. Generally, those who meet the following requirements are eligible to receive unemployment benefits:

  • You must be unemployed through no fault of your own.
  • You have been connected to the workforce for long enough to meet monetary eligibility rules, which is generally at least five quarters.
  • You must be able and available to work.

How does the COVID-19 outbreak affect Utah unemployment benefits?

While it is true that generally, you must be able and available to work while receiving unemployment benefits, you should still apply for benefits even if you have coronavirus.

In regards to coronavirus, if you find yourself in any of these situations, you may be eligible to receive benefits and should apply:

A passenger wears a protective mask at Adolfo Suarez-Barajas international airport on the outskirts of Madrid, Spain, Wednesday, March 11, 2020. Spanish authorities closed schools and halted direct flights to and from Italy. Italy is the country with most coronavirus cases in Europe, and Spain this week reported a sharp increase in cases. For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)
  • Your employer temporarily stopped operating, but expects that you will eventually return to work.
  • You are self-quarantining, but not showing symptoms. Therefore, you expect to return to work.
  • You are able and available to work but can’t because your place of employment has been quarantined.

For answers to questions about benefits related to coronavirus, please see the Department of Workforce Services’ web page of frequently asked questions.

How do I apply for unemployment benefits?

To apply for unemployment, start by filing an initial claim at jobs.utah.gov. Doing so will allow you to fill out an application. Another option is calling the Claims Assistance and Re-Employment Team, who can help with this process. Click here for contact information.

In order to file an initial claim, you will need the following information on hand:

  • Social Security number
  • Driver’s License or state-issued identification number
  • Names and dates of all the places you worked over the past 18 months

The claim will become effective the week in which you complete the initial application, so it is important for you to file your initial claim during the first week that you are out of your job.

RELATED: States still reporting surge in virus-related jobless claims

How do I receive my unemployment payments each week?

While filling out the initial application, you will be asked to choose a payment method, such as direct deposit to your bank account.

Following filling out the initial application, you will need to file a claim on a weekly basis and report your re-employment activities. It can take up to four weeks to receive a confirmation that you are eligible to receive benefits. During this time, file a weekly claim anyway so that if you are found eligible, you can receive benefits for this time period.

Within 10 days of filling out your initial application, you will need to register for work with the Department of Workforce Services. When filing your weekly claims, you will be asked to report on four job contacts you made that week to show that you are actively searching for work.

A job contact means that you contacted an employer about a job opening. To report this information, you will need to keep track of:

  • date of the contact
  • name of company and job posting number,
  • company’s address, phone number, email, weblink or person contacted
  • position title
  • method of contact
  • any results from the contact.

Finally, you will need to report any gross earnings made from part-time jobs when filing weekly claims.

Visit the Department of Workforce Service’s website for thorough instructions on unemployment benefits.

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