Money Talks


Money Talks: Unemployment

What a jam packed podcast! We took so many calls and emails with our guests: Jackie Turner, Executive Director and Timothy Rush, Director of Unemployment Insurance from MDES. Have a listen - maybe we answered your questions.

The big takeaway from the show - have patience. This is happening fast. The 900 phone lines are jammed. Try again, try another phone line, try to email. Have patience.

  • Visit the MDES website at or call the MDES Contact Center at 1-888-844-3577.
  • The contact center hours are 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., seven days a week.
  • If you are experiencing difficulty filing your Unemployment Insurance claim, you can contact your local WIN Job Center by phone or email for assistance. WIN Job Center lobbies are currently closed to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

Calls dealt with:

  • email about weekly job search filing
  • how to contact
  • help for self employed
  • out of state employment
  • reduced wages
  • partial wage loss
  • gig workers
  • 1099 religious workers
  • Social Security recipient - stimulus check
  • when do checks start
  • who's eligible

Individuals receiving unemployment benefits will not be required to serve a waiting period week for initial claims filed from now through June 27, 2020.

Work search requirements that normally must be met to be considered eligible for Unemployment Insurance benefits will be suspended beginning March 21, 2020, until June 27, 2020. So to remain eligible for benefits, you don’t have to report job searching.

Who is eligible to file a claim due to COVID-19?

  • Those who are quarantined by a medical professional or a government agency,
  • Those who are laid off or sent home without pay for an extended period by their employers due to COVID-19 concerns,
  • Those who are diagnosed with COVID-19,
  • Or, those who are caring for an immediate family member who is diagnosed with COVID-19.

CARE Act relief check: If you don’t have direct deposit on file with the IRS, there will be an online portal where you can add your information. The IRS hasn’t set that up yet, but once it does, you’ll be able to access it.

You don’t have to do anything to get your payment as long as you have filed a tax return for 2018 or 2019. If you receive Social Security or railroad retirement benefits and don’t typically file a tax return, you don’t have to do anything. The IRS will use your benefit payment information to generate your relief payment.

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Money Talks: Avoiding Holiday Debt

It’s less than 6 months before the gift giving holidays at the end of the year. Time to remind ourselves to not go into holiday debt. We’ve got some tips to discuss between your personal finance questions.Discussion:child tax credit - different amounts depending on age of child and income. IT'S AN ADVANCE CHILD TAX CREDIT ON TAX RETURN. If you want to "opt out" go to tips for avoiding holiday debt:1) Start with a firm budget for the holidays. Include gifts, decorations, travel, Christmas cards and even stamps. What did you spend last year? What are you comfortable spending this year?2) Make a gift list and stick to it. Keep track of your spending.3) Pay in cash. Studies have shown that consumers spend less when paying cash. 4) Pay off current credit card debt before adding additional charges.5) If you’re crafty, start now making gifts.6) Start tucking away a portion of each paycheck into a holiday fund now. 7) Sell some items for extra cash. 8) Use your card’s rewards points or cash rewards for holiday shopping.9) Set expectations for the gift exchange. 10) Book holiday travel early.