Students may become eligible for unemployment with federal stimulus package


AP Photo/Ben Margot

In this March 14, 2019, file photo students walk on the Stanford University campus in Stanford, Calif.

As universities become remote and businesses shut their doors amid the COVID-19 pandemic, many students find themselves out of work. A demographic that was previously omitted from benefits may soon be able to get financial help, under a federal stimulus package.

According to Illinois Department of Employment Services (IDES) spokesperson Rebecca Cisco, “students who worked part-time and lost their jobs due to COVID-19 may be eligible for benefits under the federal stimulus legislation.”

The wage replacement program may help students who have been excluded from the coronavirus $1,200 stimulus checks. Cisco said in order to be eligible, students must have “earned enough wages in their base period, [be] able and available to work and meet all other requirements.” 

A March 31 IDES press release on the stimulus package stated that “some benefits will not begin immediately.” It is unclear which benefits those are.

In January, the state had $1.4 billion in unemployment funds. Without the federal stimulus package, Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker said that Illinois is unable to afford the increase in unemployment applications. 

“Fortunately,” he said, “the federal government, in the latest stimulus package, provided a significant amount of funding for unemployment. We are also allowed, in a state, to dip below the reserves that exist, if we need to borrow from the federal government.” 

President Donald Trump does not seem to want it to get to that. He said that Americans have to get back to work.

“We don’t want to be doing this for months, and months and months,” he said.

The IDES press release said that it will provide further details on the package and how to apply when it has been finalized. IDES’s website and phone lines urge callers not to call to ask about the federal stimulus package.