The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act signed into law by President Trump on March 27th, 2020 enacted numerous changes to unemployment benefit assistance in the United States. In this blog, we detail some of the main changes to the program.


  • An individual who is unemployed, partially employed, or unable to work for the weeks of such unemployment with respect to which the individual is not entitled to any other unemployment compensation or waiting period credit.
    • This does not include someone who can telework or an individual who is receiving paid sick leave benefits.
    • It does include self-employed individuals and independent contractors.

When is the Assistance Available?

  • For weeks beginning on or after January 27, 2020 and ending on or before December 31, 2020.
  • New York State’s seven-day waiting period for unemployment insurance benefits has been temporarily waived.
    • The federal government is subsidizing states that waive this waiting period.

How Much Assistance is Available?

  • The assistance shall be the weekly benefit authorized under the unemployment compensation law of the State where the individual was employed, plus $600.
    • The total number of weeks an individual may receive assistance under this section shall not exceed 39 weeks.

Other Considerations

  • New York State’s Shared Work Program is intended to help businesses maintain a trained staff and avoid layoffs while reducing employee’s hours. Employees can receive partial unemployment benefits while working these reduced hours.
    • Employees apply for unemployment insurance benefits to start receiving benefits and indicate in their application they are part of a Shared Work Program.


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If you have any questions about unemployment insurance, please reach out to your personal Sciarabba Walker contact or email us at