New York State has created a flow chart that can help unemployed persons understand the routes to unemployment compensation. In non-economic crisis times, the unemployment system is funded, and systems are run by the individual states with the federal government assisting in some of the administrative costs. In times of economic stress, the federal government, through acts of Congress will extend weekly benefits beyond the state cut-off. In this case the relief extends benefits by weeks, adds an additional $600 to benefit levels (generally the average state unemployment benefits pay approximately 40 percent of average wages). The COVID-19 assistance also provides benefits to part-time employees and certain consultants and contractors and jobs that have flourished due to artificial intelligence (A.I) such as Uber and Lyft drivers.

The second COVID-19 package added federal funds to assist state systems that have been overwhelmed by the number of applicants. More help may be needed. Last Thursday, April 9, another 6.6 million workers filed first-time claims for unemployment. Over three weeks these first-time claims have totaled more than 16 million people. That compares to the 216,000 people who filed claims in the last week of January 2020.