What should I do if my claim is rejected or if the site says my estimated benefits are $0?
Do not give up. There are multiple assistance programs under unemployment during COVID-19. Pandemic Unemployment Assistance is a federal program that assists people who are not normally eligible for unemployment. If you are rejected, you should be able to apply specifically for PUA after you receive your rejection notice.
Furthermore, you are entitled to appeal your unemployment claim. This process must be done within 7-21 days depending on the state and will take place mostly over the phone.
You are eligible, and a rejection is most likely a misunderstanding of your current employment status as a professional athlete.
For the two programs, do I have to apply twice?
One application should be sufficient. It’s possible that your state has a dual-track system for the two unemployment programs–most do not.
I am having trouble with the system taking my application.
Unemployment systems are overloaded. You need to persevere. If you’re frustrated, try another state that you’re eligible in (one in which you worked in 2019-2020).
Will my team be notified that I’ve applied for unemployment?
Yes, the state you’re applying in will contact your team. Likely, that will be someone in Human Resources, it’s possible they will contact your farm director or coordinator (who you list on your application). This is to verify that you’ve been furloughed or released.
Will my team be upset that I’ve applied for unemployment?
This unemployment program is your right and benefit as a worker in the United States. By law, teams have to withhold money from your paycheck to fund this benefit program in case you (or others in the state) needed to draw on it.
My season stopped in March. I am applying in June. Do my benefits start the day I apply?
You can apply and be eligible for benefits starting when your contract was suspended, March 31.
Season stopped in March. Released in May. I am applying in June. Can I backdate benefits?
Yes. You should state that your first day out of work was March 31st, when Minor League contracts were suspended.
Am I “available to work”?
Yes. This makes you eligible. Typically, to be eligible for unemployment, you would have to verify that you are actively looking for a new job. States have suspended looking for work requirements. However, you must state on your application that you are available to work.
What is my employee status – Part-time, Seasonal, Full-time?
This is not clear. However, the good news is that unemployment benefits have been extended to all employee statuses via the CARES Act.
- Examples: played in 2 states – apply where you played the most games
- Played MLB and MiLB – apply where you played the most games (likely MLB)