Jobless due to COVID-19: What to know

Warwick expert with unemployment advice

WARWICK, R.I. (WLNE) — Mass unemployment is proving to be a real blow for an already fragile Rhode Island economy.

“We know that Rhode Island was hit quite hard back in 2008, and we know that Rhode Island has been on a pretty slow path toward recovery since the last real huge recession, and I think we’re just going to see a little bit more of that,” said Christina Gatteri, a certified financial planner at Innovative Planning Partners in Warwick.

As of Thursday, 54,000 Rhode Islanders have filed for unemployment benefits as a result of COVID-19. Governor Raimondo has waived the waiting period, so Gatteri says if you’re out of a job, go ahead and file right now.

“Unemployment is helpful to at least keep people afloat, in a way. Unemployment doesn’t cover everything that you’re used to, so people are having to make some serious decisions about what to keep and what to cut,” said Gatteri.

But that will soon change. The House is set to pass the federal stimulus package, which includes an unprecedented expansion of jobless benefits. Once it kicks in, laid off workers are set to receive a $600 weekly check for four months, on top of what you’re already getting from Rhode Island. Under the bill, both traditional unemployment and that extra check will also be available to gig economy workers like Uber drivers.

“Keep a close eye on whatever our government is passing,” said Gatteri.

Gatteri says more could be on the way. Lawmakers like Congressman David Cicilline are pushing for additional help for Rhode Islanders beyond what’s already happened.

“I’d say keep your eye on not only the federal government, but keep your eye on local government. Listen to what governor Raimondo is telling us. Because we don’t know what else might be available,” said Gatteri.

Companies like Amazon are actually hiring right now to keep up with the demand for deliveries, as well as pharmacies like Walgreens and CVS, so those opportunities are worth looking into if you’re recently unemployed.

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Categories: Coronavirus, News, Rhode Island, Warwick