What you need to know for unemployment filings amid COVID-19 crisis

Unemployment cases have skyrocketed amid the coronavirus outbreak. 

Understanding unemployment benefits like if you are eligible, how to apply and what can I get, are being asked by many.

"This is why we have unemployment benefits to help shoulder our neighbor during this time," said Professor Rachael Kohl, University of Michigan Law School workers’ rights. "You should file for unemployment benefits if you're not being paid."

Kohl says the general rule is because of the governor's "stay at home" order, if you don't get paid, you can apply to the state for unemployment. 

But if you are being paid, you don't get unemployment. If you are having hours cut, you are entitled to help.

"You get your regular paycheck for what you are working, and then your weekly unemployment check at a reduced rate for how much you worked," she said.

That's called "under" employment. The bottom line - if your hours are reduced, you do get some unemployment money.

"The easiest way to file is online," Kohl said. "I'd recommend you file during off-peak hours meaning from between 8 p.m. to 8 a.m."

And don't be frustrated, there are a lot of people filing.

"If you lose your job because of having to take care of someone like a child right now, that is also part of the executive order."

RELATED: How to file for unemployment in Michigan during coronavirus emergency

If your boss tells you to go to work and you are scared - "If nothing is being done and your health is being compromised, that could be grounds to leave," Kohl said.

As far as when people may get money - the agency has to make a decision within 21 days, but you might get your benefits sooner.

"This is a really difficult time for employers, claimants, the state and the world," Kohl said.

For more information, call the University of Michigan Workers' Rights Clinic at 734-936- 2000 or email law-uic-info@umich.edu