Seeking Support in the Time of COVID-19

Here is What You Can Do If You Found Yourself Without a Job Due to Coronavirus

curbside DETROIT'S CORKTOWN NEIGHBORHOOD. PHOTO AMI NICOLE / ACRONYM

For those of us consuming Coronavirus information updates every 30 seconds, it’s hard to keep up, let alone decipher what it all means. To inspire our readers, Detroitisit is taking an informative stance to help keep you best aware of what’s going on, and what steps can help make the COVID-19 that much smoother for us. 


As COVID-19 continues to spread across the United States, the economic fallout from the crisis has been laid bare, and more people are seeking support. A report from the LA Times cites a report from NPR and PBS NewsHour found that in the wake of its spread throughout the United States, about 18% of all working adults have already been laid off.

That’s a large number of people without work, and in a country with almost no social safety net, it has the possibility to spawn something far worse. But, let’s not focus on the economic fallout of Coronavirus; instead, let’s look into how American workers can receive the support they need during these trying times.

UNEMPLOYMENT SUPPORT

Filing for unemployment in Michigan is one form of support available to some Michigan workers, and rules have been changed by Governor Gretchen Whitmer in the past few days to make applying easier. Some of the changes allow for benefits to be received for a longer period of time, and the process of applying is said to have been made easier.

When working to apply, you will need something along the lines of your Social Security number, driver’s license number, names and addresses of former employers from the past 18 months, quarterly earnings, last day of employment at any of your previous workplaces, employer’s federal ID number and registration number if you aren’t a U.S. citizen.

Support benefits have been expanded to Michigan workers who are sick, quarantined, immunocompromised, or have an unanticipated situation in which they must care for a family member who contracted the disease. Also, any first responders who become sick or must self-quarantine due to exposure will also be eligible.

Benefits will also eventually see themselves extended to self-employed and contract workers unable to work during the crisis. At the moment, unemployment benefits span from 20 to 26 weeks, and the period to apply has been extended from 14 to 28 days.

SUPPORT FROM THE BARTENDER EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE PROGRAM

Some of the hardest-hit industries during the COVID-19/Coronavirus crisis are the local business and restaurant industries, and many have been forced to temporarily shut their doors. Due to this, a good portion of those out of work include bartenders, and those working at restaurants. In light of this, the bartender community, and alcohol providers such as Jameson Irish Whiskey and Singani63 have come together in the time of COVID-19 to support a fund set up by the United States Bartenders Guild.

Bartenders who are facing unemployment due to COVID-19 may apply for assistance from the USBG that will be paid in the form of lump-sum distributions to the recipient. after applying, and if you are able to receive aid, those selected “will be required to provide USBG National Charity Foundation with documentation that the grant was used in a manner consistent with the terms of the grant.”

According to the USPG website, those looking to apply must meet the following requirements:

  1. “Be a Bartender or the spouse or child of a Bartender. The Bartender Emergency Assistance Program defines a “Bartender” as an individual employed in serving beverages or otherwise engaged in the production, promotion, or distribution of alcoholic beverages. An individual is considered “employed” as a Bartender if, for not less than one year before the application, the individual performed services as a Bartender on a regular full- or part-time basis or, if the catastrophic event or emergency hardship giving rise to the application prevents the individual from performing such services, for not less than one year prior to the event or hardship the individual performed services as a Bartender on a regular full- or part-time basis.
  2. Experience a catastrophic event or emergency hardship that is: identifiable and described in detail in the application; Damaging to the person or property (e.g., loss of life, health, or property); Sudden and precipitous rather than gradual or progressive; Unexpected, unanticipated, unforeseen, unintended, or unplanned; and Unusual and not normally occurring in the ordinary course of day-to-day living.
  3. Lack of the necessities of life, including financial, physical, mental, or emotional well being as a result of the catastrophic event or emergency hardship.
  4. Provide tangible documentation of the catastrophic event or emergency hardship.”

POTENTIAL GOVERNMENT ASSISTANCE

Let’s be honest, aside from meager unemployment benefits, there is no real social safety net in the United States. That could be changing in the coming days, as across the political spectrum politicians from your most reactionary ghouls like Tom Cotton and Donald Trump, to Bernie Sanders, have all suggested some form of governmental assistance be available to help Americans ride out the crisis.

While there is no set plan at the moment, the options have been proposed. For instance, Congressman Joe Kennedy III proposed an immediate economic relief plan that would provide $4000 to every adult who makes under 100k per year, $2000 to every adult who makes over 100k per year, and $1000 for every child 18 or younger. This is similar to the proposal by Presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders, who wishes to provide “2,000 cash payments to every person in America every month for the duration of the crisis.”

Senator Mitt Romney, of Utah, aslo said this week that he wants the federal government to send every adult $1,000/month to combat the Coronavirus, an idea that was also echoed by Donald Trump and members of his administration. Currently, The Treasury Department has proposed sending two rounds of payments to all taxpayers on April 6 and May 18, but as of yet, nothing is set in stone.

Expect to learn further updates on the matter as news evolves.

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