FILE UNEMPLOYMENT CLAIM OR WEEKLY CERTIFICATION >
FOR COVID-19 RESPONSE INFORMATION >
FILE UNEMPLOYMENT CLAIM OR WEEKLY CERTIFICATION >
FOR COVID-19 RESPONSE INFORMATION >

COVID-19

Font Size Increase Font Size Decrease Font Size
MDES Print this page MDES Email this page MDES Post to Facebook Share Page

Resources for Workers and Businesses on COVID-19

Updated May 11, 2020


What information do I need to file an Unemployment Claim?
Your work history information for the past 18 months including employer names, addresses, phone numbers, the reason for separation, and dates of employment;
your current contact information;
your driver’s license or state ID number; and
your Social Security Card.

How do I apply for Unemployment Insurance benefits or get more information about the process?

To file an Unemployment Claim, visit the MDES website at www.mdes.ms.gov or call the MDES Contact Center at 1-888-844-3577 or 1-888-772-0061.

Online filing is encouraged! A claim may be filed on-line at www.mdes.ms.gov twenty-four (24) hours a day, seven (7) days a week. Click here for online Unemployment Services.

 


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)

 FAQ's for Workers

COVID-19 FAQ's for Workers

FAQ's for Employers

CARE’S ACT FAQ's

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) FAQ's


More Resources and Information

More Ways to File Your COVID-19 Claims

Rapid Response: for Laid-off Workers

COVID-19 Press Releases and Media Appearances

Explaining Executive Order 1481



If you have questions or need further assistance regarding your account or your unemployment insurance claim, please contact us at cv19@mdes.ms.gov


 

Unemployment Insurance and COVID-19

Mississippi Department of Employment Security announces that Mississippi workers who are not able to work due to COVID-19 will be eligible to file for unemployment benefits. These temporary measures will help relieve the financial hardship of temporary layoffs by making unemployment benefits available to individuals whose employment has been impacted by COVID-19. This helps not only individuals but also employers by helping them retain their workforce and stabilizing local economies.


Explaining Executive Order 1481

 

We’d like to take this time to explain the provisions of Executive Order 1481 which was issued by the Governor on May 11, 2020. In order to provide some clarification on certain points, we have broken down the provisions below:

  1. This new Executive Order replaces Executive Order 1462 that was signed by the Governor on March 21, 2020.

  2. Normally, there is a one-week waiting period after you are deemed eligible for unemployment compensation (or “benefits”) before you can be paid benefits. This means that under normal circumstances, you would not receive benefits for the first week after you file your claim. However, due to the COVID-19 Emergency, anyone who files a claim for benefits between March 8, 2020, and December 26, 2020, will be eligible to receive benefits the first week of their claim, without having to wait an extra week.

  3. Normally, to remain eligible for benefits, you must meet certain work search requirements. These include making contact with three (3) employers and filing a job application with at least one (1) employer. However, due to the COVID-19 Emergency, claimants who file for benefits between March 8, 2020, and June 27, 2020, do not have to meet these work search requirements in order to remain eligible for benefits.

  4. Normally, MDES has the right to pursue collection activities for any individual or business that owes money to MDES. We can do this through methods such as garnishments on individuals, bank levies on businesses, both state and federal tax refund intercepts, payment agreements, and the enrollment of liens (among other things). However, due to the COVID-19 Emergency, MDES will not attempt to collect any money previously owed to MDES by individuals or businesses until June 27, 2020 (although Employers still need to file contributions during this time). Please note that this does not apply to any garnishments for other businesses or agencies (such as child support payments to the Mississippi Department of Human Services). This only applies to actions by MDES to collect MDES debts.

    Additionally, if you owe money to MDES due to an overpayment and qualify for benefits at a later time, those benefits would usually be applied to your debt with MDES until the debt is paid off in full. This is referred to as an offset of future benefits. However, under this Executive Order, MDES will only apply 25% of your weekly benefit amount to any underlying debt from March 29, until June 27, 2020. Please note that this does not apply to offsets for child support obligations, which will still be offset at the percentage rate given to MDES by the Mississippi Department of Human Services.

  5. Normally, to become eligible for benefits, you must show that you are able to work, available for work, and actively seeking work. However, due to the COVID-19 Emergency, we understand that this is not entirely possible. Therefore, if you file a claim between March 8, 2020, and June 27, 2020, and are unemployed due to a COVID-19 related situation, MDES will consider that you are able to work and available for work, as long as you are taking the necessary steps to return to work for your regular employer and/or do not withdraw from the labor market.

  6. Normally, if you are working part time (less than 35 hours a week) and are making less than your weekly benefit amount, you are still allowed to receive partial benefits. To calculate this, MDES adds $40.00 to your weekly benefit amount, then subtracts your wages for the week to determine your partial benefits. For example, if you earn $200.00, and your weekly benefit amount is $235.00, MDES will subtract $200.00 from $275.00 (your weekly benefit amount plus the $40.00 earning allowance) to give you a partial benefit amount of $75.00. However, due to the COVID-19 Emergency, that credit amount is increased to $200.00 for claims filed from May 3, 2020, to June 27, 2020. This means that if you are receiving wages in the amount of $200.00, and your weekly benefit amount is $235.00, MDES will subtract $200.00 from $435.00 (your weekly benefit amount plus the $200.00 allowance), which allows you to receive the full benefit amount of $235.00. For any week you are eligible for regular state unemployment insurance benefits, you would also qualify for Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) in the amount of $600 in addition to any benefits or partial benefits you receive during this time.

  7. Normally, Employers’ accounts are charged for any benefits paid to employees in their base period who are laid off or terminated through no fault of their own. However, due to the COVID-19 Emergency, Employers’ accounts will not be charged for benefits paid to an individual who is unemployed due to a COVID-19 related situation from March 8, 2020, through June 27, 2020.

  8. Normally, Employer contributions are due before the last day of each quarter. However, due to the COVID-19 Emergency, First Quarter contributions will not be due until July 31, 2020.

  9. Normally, Employers must timely file wage reports and timely pay contributions or suffer penalties. However, Employers affected by COVID-19 will not be penalized for any late filed reports or late contribution payments until June 27, 2020.

  10. Normally, to become eligible for benefits, you are required to register for work. Registering for work helps to determine if you may be eligible for other programs or services to help you in your job search. However, due to the COVID-19 Emergency, you are not required to report in person or register for work until June 27, 2020.

  11. This measure simply reminds all employers that it is their responsibility to notify MDES within ten (10) days from the date an individual refuses an offer of suitable employment. The notice must contain the date and details of the refusal.

  12. In order to receive federal emergency administrative grant money, MDES must require all employers to provide notification of the availability of unemployment compensation to each employee individually at the time of separation of employment.

  13. Normally, in order to determine eligibility for Unemployment Insurance benefits, MDES has to investigate a claim, which includes going back and looking at the reason for separation from every employer in the claimant’s base period. The process of gathering information from employers can take some time, and this can delay the disbursement of unemployment benefits. This provision of the Executive Order will greatly reduce the investigation time and help speed up the disbursement process by allowing MDES to focus on the claimant’s most recent employer during the period March 8, 2020, until June 27, 2020.

    This provision also clarifies that the eligibility of individuals who are currently off work will not be affected by prior job separations that MDES happens to discover for claims filed from March 8, 2020, until June 27, 2020.

Click here to view the press release and Executive Order 1481 signed on May 11, 2020. 

 

 


FAQ’s for Workers


Q. How do I apply for Unemployment Insurance benefits or get more information about the process?

A. To file an Unemployment Claim, visit the MDES website at www.mdes.ms.gov or call the MDES Contact Center at 1-888-844-3577 or 1-888-772-0061.

Online filing is encouraged! A claim may be filed on-line at www.mdes.ms.gov twenty-four (24) hours a day, seven (7) days a week. Click here for online Unemployment Services.

 

Q: Once I file my claim, do I need to do anything else?

A: TO MAINTAIN ELIGIBILITY: You must timely file a weekly certification online at www.mdes.ms.gov or via the MDES mobile app, 2FileUI. The UI Online System and mobile app are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can download the 2FileUI app here: https://mdes.ms.gov/2fileui

To file a weekly certification using the UI Online System and mobile app you will need to establish a user ID and password.

Each week starts at 12:01 am on Sunday and ends at midnight on the following Saturday. Your weekly certification should be filed timely, as soon as possible, after the Saturday week-ending date. The UI System will only accept the most recently completed calendar week. Telecommunications for the Deaf (TDD)1-800-582-2233 and a Spanish application are available.

 

Q. When should I file for benefits?

A. If you decide to file a claim for benefits, you should file as soon as possible. Claims are typically effective the Sunday of the week in which you file an initial claim for unemployment.

 

Q. What information do I need to file?

A. You will need your work history information for the past 18 months, including employer names, addresses, phone numbers, the reason for separation, and dates of employment; your current contact information; your driver’s license or state ID number; and Social Security Card.

 

Q: Is there a charge to file your claim online?

A: No, MDES does not charge a fee or require a credit card or bank account information to file your claim. Please only use www.mdes.ms.gov to file your benefits.

 

Q: What options do I have to receive my benefits?

A: You will be given the option to receive your benefits by direct deposit or debit card.

Important Debit Card Information: The MDES debit card has no monthly fees, no fees for purchases, or no fees for cashback (with a purchase or at a bank teller window). However, certain fees apply when using the debit card (ex: ATM Balance Inquiries, phone balance inquiries over the monthly allotment, ATM cash withdrawals, or for a replacement card). You may avoid some of these fees by visiting www.EPPICard.com for balance and transaction history information. You will receive detailed information regarding your MDES debit card in the mail. If a replacement debit card is necessary, contact the card provider, EPPICard at 1-866-461-4095.

Important Direct Deposit Information: To obtain Direct Deposit into your checking account, you must log in at www.mdes.ms.gov under Unemployment Claims, select Online Unemployment Services, select Benefits Maintenance tab, select Update Claimant Profile tab, and then select Payment options tab.

 

Q: How long does it take to receive a debit card?

A: A debit card takes up to 14 business days to be received from the vendor. Debit cards are issued the day after an initial claim for benefits with no eligibility issues on file. For initial claims with eligibility issues, a debit card is issued once all eligibility issues have been allowed.  If you have received a debit card for unemployment in the past and no longer have access to that card, your card has been lost, or an expired card you will need to request a replacement card by calling 1-866-461-4095. Debit cards will be mailed to the current address on file. To view your card balance, visit: www.EPPICard.com

 

Q: Do I need to report my pension and/or retirement pay?

A: You must notify MDES and report all pension and/or retirement pay received. Your benefits may be reduced by pensions contributed to by your base period employers (excluding Social Security).

 

Q: Will child support affect my unemployment benefits?

A: Your benefits may be reduced by child support obligations. Questions about child support deductions should be directed to that Agency.

 

Q: Do I need to update my contact information even if I’m no longer receiving Unemployment Benefits?

A: You must report a change of address even after you stop filing or exhaust your benefits. If you relocate to another state, you must register for work with the state workforce agency within 9 days.

 

Q: Can a claim be edited or canceled once it is submitted?

A: No. A claim cannot be edited or canceled by a claimant once submitted.

 

Q: How do I cancel my claim?

A: Send a request to the Benefits Department at Benefitpay@mdes.ms.gov

 


COVID-19 FAQ’s for Workers


Q. Would I be eligible for benefits if my employer shuts down or lays me off because of the COVID-19 situation?

A. You may be eligible and should file for unemployment benefits and a determination will be made concerning your eligibility. Determinations will be made on a case-by-case basis.

 

Q. Would I be eligible for Unemployment Insurance benefits if I become ill with the COVID-19 virus and cannot work?

A. Yes. Individuals who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking a medical diagnosis are eligible.

 

Q. Would I be eligible for Unemployment Insurance benefits if I am quarantined?

A. If an individual is quarantined due to COVID-19 and will return to the employer, this individual would be considered laid off. You may file for unemployment benefits and a determination will be made concerning your eligibility. Determinations will be made on a case-by-case basis.

 

Q. I am a contract worker. I received a Misc-1099 in lieu of a W2. Will I be eligible for unemployment benefits if no work is available for me?

A. Unemployment taxes are not paid on Independent Contractors or the self-employed so these earnings cannot be used to establish a claim for regular unemployment benefits. However, you may be qualified for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. The CARES Act provides federal benefits to individuals who would not ordinarily qualify for unemployment benefits, such as those who are self-employed, gig workers, clergy, and those working for religious organizations.

 

Q. Is the coronavirus considered a disaster, and can I receive Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA)?

A. Like DUA, the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)  program is an emergency program activated in response to a crisis and designed to provide benefits to certain individuals who are ineligible for or who have exhausted entitlement to regular unemployment compensation or extended benefits.

 

Q. For self-employed individuals, contract workers, gig workers, clergy, and religious organizations, what documents and for what time period would earnings records be needed for recalculation of the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) weekly benefit amount?

A. The time period for which earnings would need to be shown in the calendar year 2019.

  • 2019 Income Tax Records
  • 2019 W-2 Forms
  • Bank Statement Indicating a Business Account
  • Receipts from Business of Work Completed or Items Sold
  • 1099 Forms
  • Current Check Stubs from Your Last Employer with Wages Earned
  • Account with Recent Payroll Deposits from The Employer

 

Q. What if my employer goes out of business permanently as a result of COVID-19?

A. You may be eligible and should apply for unemployment benefits. Determinations will be made on a case-by-case basis.

 

Q. I was fired from my job because I refused to report to work due to the coronavirus. What can I do?

A. You may file for unemployment benefits and a determination will be made concerning your eligibility based on your specific circumstances. Determinations will be made on a case-by-case basis.

 

Q. I am unable to work because of a family member’s illness. Can I collect unemployment benefits?

A. If the individual is providing care for a family member or a member of the individual’s house who has been diagnosed with COVID-19, they may be eligible and should apply.

 

Q. If my employer only permits me to work part-time rather than my full-time hours, will I be able to collect unemployment benefits?

A. You should file for benefits as you may be eligible for partial unemployment. Please note: when working and filing, all hours and gross earnings must be reported. A portion of your gross earnings will be deducted from your weekly benefit amount.

 

Q: What should I select when filing my claim during this Coronavirus pandemic?

A: If you are temporarily laid off due to COVID-19, you should select ‘Lack of Work’ not ‘Leave of Absence” when filing your claim.



Q: How should I answer the questions on the claim application ‘Can you accept full-time work immediately?

A: If you are affected by the COVID-19, you should select ‘Yes’.

 

Q: I filed for unemployment because I was laid off because of the virus. I was told I had insufficient wage claim? 

A: Insufficient Wage Claim means that you did not have enough wages to qualify monetarily for regular Unemployment Insurance Benefits.  However, you may potentially be eligible for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance under the CARES Act of 2020.

Anyone making a false statement or withholding facts to increase or obtain benefits to which he is not entitled is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by fine or imprisonment, or both. If you have questions or need further assistance regarding your account or your unemployment insurance claim, please contact us at cv19@mdes.ms.gov 

File your Unemployment Claim, PUA Unemployment Claim, or Weekly Certification Online Here.

 


 Back to top of page

 


FAQ’s for Employers

 

Q. Will my employees be eligible for benefits if they cannot work even if my business remains open and I have work for them?

A. Under the unemployment insurance laws, individuals who are separated from employment due to no fault of their own may be eligible for benefits. The determination would be made based on the circumstances of each case.



Q. If my business declines, or I need to close, lay off staff, or cut staff hours, will my Unemployment Insurance account be charged for any benefits paid to employees I had to lay off?

A. The current statute dictates that an employer’s account will be charged for benefits paid to result from a lack of work. MDES is monitoring and reviewing federal and state guidelines related to Covid-19 and may exercise flexibility where applicable in accordance with federal or state executive orders.

 

Q.  If my account is charged for benefits paid to employees, will this affect my tax rate?

A. Based on the current statute, an employer’s tax rate could be impacted by charges to their account; however, MDES is monitoring and reviewing federal and state guidelines related to Covid-19 and may exercise flexibility where applicable in accordance with federal or state executive orders.



Q. Can an employer who needs to temporarily lay off employees because of COVID-19 continue to pay health insurance premiums for the employee during the layoff period or will this negatively impact the employee’s unemployment benefits?

A. Continuing to provide health insurance will not impact your employee’s ability to receive unemployment benefits.

If you have questions or need further assistance regarding your account or your unemployment insurance claim, please contact us at cv19@mdes.ms.gov 

 


Back to top of page


 

CARE’S ACT FAQ’s


Q: When will the additional $600 from the CARES Act be added to the weekly unemployment checks? 

A: MDES began issuing payments for the additional $600 for qualified claimants on April 10, 2020.

 

Q: How will the additional $600 from the CARES Act be given? Will it be included with the weekly payment, will they be provided just as an extra payment the same day, or will it be provided on a different day completely?

A: The $600 Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation is paid weekly in addition to your approved program benefit amount.

 

Q: Do we need to file a separate/additional claim to receive the $600 from the CARES Act?

A: No additional claim needs to be filed to receive the additional benefits.

 

Q: Once the $600 from the CARES Act is being paid out with the weekly unemployment payments, will back payment be given for any weeks the $600 was not received during the active status of the CARES Act, so long as the individual was receiving the initial unemployment?

A: Yes. Claims will be backdated to your initial awarded date for claims effective March 29, 2020, if otherwise eligible. The first payable week for the $600 Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation would be the week ending April 4, 2020 and the last payable week would be the week ending July 25, 2020.

 

Q: Will I be eligible for the $600 from CARES?

A: You must be eligible to receive at least one dollar ($1) in regular unemployment benefits or one of the following programs Unemployment Compensation for Federal Employees (UCFE), Unemployment Compensation for Ex-Servicemembers (UCX), Pandemic Extended Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), Trade Readjustment Assistance (TRA), Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) and payments under Self Employment Assistant (SEA) program for the claimed week in order to be entitled to the $600 payment.


 Back to top of page

 

 


Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) FAQ's


Q: What is Pandemic Unemployment Assistance?

A: PUA – Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (more information)

PUA is intended to provide assistance to persons unemployed or working reduced hours due to COVID-19 and is not eligible for regular unemployment benefits.

PUA provides benefits to qualifying individuals who are otherwise able to work and available for work except that they are unemployed, partially unemployed, or unable or unavailable to work due to one of the COVID-19 related reasons. Click here for a full list of COVID-10 related reasons.

 

Q: How do I know if I am eligible for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance?

A: You may be eligible for PUA if you are:

  • Self-employed or an independent contractor
  • Employed by a church, religious entity or non-profit organization
  • Employed in the gig economy
  • Have insufficient earnings to establish a regular unemployment claim
  • Not eligible for regular unemployment compensation or extended benefits



Q: I am unemployed due to COVID-19 and I am a self-employed/1099 worker. Do I need to file a new claim if I already filed for unemployment claim prior to April 20, 2020, and was denied?

A: If you have filed and been denied for regular unemployment since off work due to COVID-19, you do not have to file a new claim. You will be notified of your potential eligibility for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and any action needed on your part. You should continue to file your weekly certifications.

If you have not filed a claim for unemployment benefits since off work due to COVID-19, you should file a claim.

For Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) call 1-833-919-0334.

 

For U.S. Department of Labor’s Questions and Answers about Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) Program, click here


 Back to top of page