COVID-19 & Benefit Charges

By March 18, 2020May 1st, 2020COVID-19

In response to inquiries related to the impact benefits paid as a result of COVID-19. We are aware that legislative bodies in several states are considering amending unemployment laws as a result of COVID-19. Many states are considering paying benefits for COVID-19 separations with state general funds instead of individual employer accounts. South Carolina will charge the general fund and not individual employer accounts for benefits paid. Pennsylvania will also charge the general fund for benefits paid. At this time, South Dakota is the only state that indicated employer accounts will be charged for benefits paid.

For current unemployment cases, we recommend that clients specify that an associate’s reduction in hours or work stoppage was a direct result of COVID-19, regardless of the current benefit charge status of the liable state. If a non-charge provision does apply, we want to ensure that submitted responses provide the information necessary to grant relief from benefit charges. Our office will also provide specific details indicating COVID-19 was attributable to the work separation.

The National Association of State Workforce Agencies (NASWA), the association that manages the SIDES exchange for providing separation details to state agencies, has already sent out a communication advising the proper separation code to be used to ensure a non-charge is granted. Furthermore, we want to advise clients that a special separation code is being created within our system to provide us with the ability to track and generate reports specifically related to claims attributable to COVID-19 with respect to any paper claims processed by our office.

We will generate further communications to advise of any additional changes in the benefit charge provisions related to separations caused by COVID-19.

Mike Parker

Author Mike Parker

Mike has 30 years of experience in unemployment cost control management, and has been with Thomas & Company for 25 years. He is the primary contact with state agencies building strong relationships, lobbying for opportunities that increase quality of service and efficiencies, and insuring compliance with state specific requirements. He works with the client service team, answering technical questions related to the unemployment insurance programs administered by the individual states and oversees the processes associated with wage audits and fraudulent claim inquiries. Mike is a member of the SIDES Operations Committee and currently sits on four Operations Committee subcommittees.

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