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Navigating Employment Changes during COVID-19

By Rachel Dhaliwal, Senior Career Coach, GCDF, and Anna Sommer, Career Exploration Specialist, APUS

If you find yourself navigating employment changes (to include reduced hours) during COVID-19, here is what you need to know.

The way in which everyone operates amid the COVID-19 crisis is quickly and constantly changing. Temporary or permanent layoffs, working remotely, or new safety measures while at work means all employees and businesses have to shift to new and different ways of working.

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Learn about Unemployment Insurance Benefits

The federal government and most states have made changes to unemployment and insurance benefits due to COVID-19. It’s important to note that what you knew about unemployment benefits and eligibility even a few days ago may have changed. Only a government-run website, such as the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) page on unemployment benefits, will contain the most up-to-date information, so be sure to read through all the information carefully and check back often for updates.

We encourage you to apply as soon as possible, as the process can take two to three weeks on average for benefits to kick in. In general, you will need to apply for unemployment benefits in the state in which you worked.

During the application process, you will be asked to provide specific information, such as the name and location of your former employer, dates of employment and pay information. Be sure to gather this information together to help you move through the application more quickly.

Be aware that if you do not provide all the required information, your application may be denied or delayed. Remember that this process normally takes several weeks. This may change due to the number of people now impacted by the current pandemic, although federal and state governments are working to address the influx of applications.

Your State’s Unemployment Website Is Your #1 Authority on Unemployment Benefits

CareerOneStop (sponsored by the Department of Labor) has excellent information on how to get started with applying for unemployment, answers to frequently asked questions, and links to your state’s unemployment agency and other relevant, state-specific information. It is imperative that you visit and monitor your individual state’s unemployment website(s), as they will have the most up-to-date information for the laws and guidance that will impact you.

If you are interested in a bird’s-eye view of how each state’s workforce agencies has responded to COVID-19, monitor the National Association of State Workforce Agencies’ website.

Take Advantage of Other Agencies and Resources to Reduce Financial Stress during COVID-19

Almost every federal agency has developed policies specific to COVID-19. These policies are meant to reduce the financial stress many people are facing.

They cover areas such as federal student loans, mortgage payments, small businesses, and much more. For a list of agencies and resources, please go to:

The coronavirus pandemic is an unprecedented time in our nation’s history. But with the proper tools and resources, you can actively mitigate some of the impacts felt as a result of the virus.

If you are an AMU/APU student or alumni and want to work with a career coach on steps you can take on your career journey, please reach out to Career Services or visit the Success Center for more information.

Rachel Dhaliwal is a Senior Career Coach with 10 years of experience in higher education. In addition to supporting students and alumni throughout their career journey, Rachel also serves as the university point of contact for those interested in the federal Presidential Management Fellows (PMF) Program. She holds a B.S. in psychology from Troy University, as well as the Global Career Development Facilitator (GCDF) and the EQ-i 2.0/EQ 360 Certification credentials.

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