How to Apply for Unemployment in Louisiana

Unemployment benefits can provide much-needed income if you’re laid off or your hours are cut. 

Throughout the United States, millions of Americans are being let go from their jobs or are having their hours cut because of the economic shutdown necessitated by the novel coronavirus. If you’re one of them, you may be worried about how to keep money coming into your bank account. 

If your income has been affected, unemployment benefits could help. This guide will help you understand how to apply in Louisiana as well as explain the eligibility rules and how benefits are calculated. 

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Do I qualify for unemployment benefits?

Employees in Louisiana affected by the COVID-19 outbreak may be eligible for benefits if their work hours have been reduced, their workplace has temporarily closed and they aren’t compensated, or they’ve been instructed not to go to work and aren’t being paid while at home.

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Normally, to qualify for unemployment benefits in Louisiana, you must meet the following requirements:

  • You must be fully or partially unemployed through no fault of your own.
  • You must be physically able and available to work. 
  • You must be actively looking for work unless you have a definite date when you’ll return to your job.
  • You must have earned at least $1,200 during your base period. Your base period is the first four of the past five full quarters before you applied for benefits. For example, if you apply in March 2020, your base period would be Oct. 1, 2019 to Sep. 30, 2019. 
  • Your wages during your base period must add up to no less than 1.5 times the wages earned in the quarter of your base period when earnings were highest.

How do I apply for unemployment benefits?

You can file for unemployment benefits by calling 866-783-5567. You also have the option to file online. In order to file, you’ll need:

  • Your Social Security number
  • Details about past employment over the last 18 months including the name, address, location of the job site, and employer telephone numbers
  • The name and address of your union hall if you’re a union member
  • Your Alien Registration Number if you’re not a U.S. citizen
  • The member copy of your DD214 if you served in the military over the past 18 months 
  • Your SF-8 and SF-50 if you were a federal employee during the last 18 months
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Once you’ve filed you’ll need to request your benefit payment every week. You can do this online or by phone, beginning the first Sunday after you apply — whether or not your application has been approved.  

How much money will I receive in unemployment benefits?

The amount you receive in benefits depends on your earnings during your base period. The minimum weekly benefit is $10 and the maximum is $247. 

Your benefit will be calculated by: 

  • Taking the average of your total covered employment wages during the base period
  • Taking 1/25th of that average
  • Multiplying that number by 1.05
  • And multiplying again by 1.15

A federal stimulus bill also entitles workers to receive an extra $600 per week in unemployment benefits through the end of June. 

How long can I collect unemployment benefits?

In Louisiana, you are entitled to claim benefits for up to 26 out of 52 calendar weeks, beginning with the week you filed your claim. When unemployment rates are high, you may also be able to receive more benefits under the Extended Benefits Program. 

However, the CARES Act extends that period by 13 weeks, allowing you to collect unemployment benefits for up to 39 weeks.

What if my unemployment claim is denied?

If you want to appeal any decision related to your unemployment benefits you have 15 days to act after the date the decision is mailed to you. You will then have the right to a hearing. You can file an appeal online, by email or by mail to LWC Appeals Unit P.O. Box 94094, Baton Rouge, LA 70804-9094. Finally, you can fax the appeal to 225-346-6077. 

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As you take difficult financial decisions to try to weather the coronavirus crisis, it’s important to know your rights. Applying for unemployment benefits in Louisiana could help you minimize the financial damage caused by this global pandemic.

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