COVID19

COVID-19 FAQs for REALTORS: Emergency Unemployment Benefits

Updated 9/12/2020

 Updates will be posted as they become available. Please check this page often. Find updated Unemployment Information  on the RI Dept. of Labor and Training’s website at https://dlt.ri.gov/covid19/.

FEMA has approved 5 additional $300 supplemental unemployment payments to unemployed Rhode Islanders. Claimants will receive an additional $300 per week for each of the following weeks that they successfully certified for benefits: weeks ending 8/1/20, 8/8/20, 8/15/20, 8/22/20 and 8/29/20.

Week of Sept. 7: Unemployment Insurance payments will be delayed one day this week due to the Labor Day holiday.

You can apply online on the RI Department of Labor and Training website. REALTORS, with the exception of those few who are employees of their brokerage, should they complete the application for gig workers & independent contractors, which is highlighted in yellow on the DLT website.
The rate is determined by your adjusted gross income on your most recent tax return. Payments will continue for 39 weeks as long as you remain eligible. It will continue at the same amount until you report any earnings on your weekly teleserve call. If you receive a commission check, your weekly check will be, reduced or eliminated, depending on the amount..
Yes, the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training will use the information from the claimant’s “most recent” tax return, which could include a 2018 return if 2019 has not been filed.
In some cases, a claim can be processed in as little as 24 hours, in most cases, claims should be processed within 7 - 14 days and you should receive your first payment within three weeks of filing. (If your claim is related to COVID-19, please indicate that on your application as DLT is waiving the usual seven-day waiting period for Covid-19 claims.) Keep an eye out for an email that confirms your claim has been processed. That will point you to instructions to request your payment each week.
Benefits are paid via Direct Deposit into your checking or savings account. You may also choose to receive an Electronic Payment Card (EPC) to access your benefits.
Claimants have to call the Teleserve weekly to receive that week’s benefit. Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits are based on a worker's earnings and are generally available when people are able to work and actively seeking employment, however, under the current situation, the normal rules have been relaxed in an effort to ensure that Rhode Island workers have access to UI benefits without having to seek employment while on a temporary layoff or furlough. During your weekly certification on TeleServe, you should check off that you are able to work and are actively seeking employment to keep their benefits active.
Provide an estimated average. Ideally, dividing the adjusted gross income on your most recent tax return by 52 is the best way to do this.
List the date you were last paid a commission check.
You can apply for the SBA loans and unemployment benefits but they must be used for different purposes, i.e. operating expenses for one, income for another. If you’re receiving PPP funds as a form of pay or earnings it should be reported to RI DLT. FYI- See our Financial Assistance page for more information on SBA loans
Unemployment is taxable income. If you do not withhold state or federal taxes from your benefits you will be responsible to pay them when you file your tax return. Everyone who collects UI will receive a 1099 detailing the total payments received and any taxes paid on that income. You may request changes to your claim’s tax deductions anytime. Click here for more guidance from IRS.
Yes, you can, but you will need to report your commission earnings if your listing(s) sell.
Claimants can earn 20% of their weekly benefit amount without any impact to their claim. After that their claim is reduced dollar-for-dollar. Benefits will not be paid if the claimant earned more than their weekly benefit rate. They can earn a benefit in the next week that they earn less. You should call in and report earnings during your weekly teleserve call. Do not include any benefit payments you received (such as your UI benefit payments, Social Security payments, cash assistance, or the $600 unemployment compensation boost). Please round up to the nearest whole dollar. If you earned no wages or other earnings last week, enter 0. If you earn more than $9999, just enter $9999.
Answer as best you can. Rate of pay equals about what you earn per week. (Divide your adjusted gross income from your most recent tax return by 52.) For the name of employer, put your brokerage.
Yes. The federal guidance instructs states to process claims through regular Unemployment if the applicant has wages earned as an employee. This means that they’d collect based on those earnings.
Per the DLT UI application, applicants who have worked in another state and have not worked in RI in the last 18 months should contact the unemployment office in the state where they worked in the last 18 months. Employees who have worked in Rhode Island in the last 18 months would apply in Rhode Island. In this case, apply in Rhode Island.
If you received payments in the past, but did not receive your payment this week, DLT's online team can help. Please fill out the form at this link, https://bit.ly/uisupport and a member of our team will be in touch. The call center attendants cannot help you if you did not receive your payment this week. You may have been one of a group of people whose identity has been hacked. DLT is working on the problem. Click here for details.

Information REALTORS® need to know:

This page and the links below will be continually updated as information becomes available.

 

Thank you for your patience during this challenging time. Please check this website often for updates. If you have further questions after reviewing this information, please email covid19@rirealtors.org.

For legal questions, please contact Monica Staaf – General Counsel at 401-432-6945 or monica@rirealtors.org.

Looking for legislative or municipal updates? Email your questions to governmentaffairs@rirealtors.org.

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