In this time of uncertainty, USA TODAY is working to find answers to your money questions – anything from finding a job or unemployment benefits to your 401(k) or retirement plans.

In this time of uncertainty, USA TODAY is working to find answers to your money questions – anything from finding a job or unemployment benefits to your 401(k) or retirement plans. We want to help you navigate your personal finances during this crisis so USA TODAY Network's top financial journalists are finding answers to your questions.

You can submit your questions here and read answers to others below. 

We will be updating the Q&A frequently, so be sure to check back often. And, for more money advice, sign up for our newsletter, The Daily Money. 

If you want to share your personal finance experience during the coronavirus crisis, you can email Josh Rivera at jrivera@usatoday.com.

What is unemployment insurance and how do I get it?

Unemployment insurance is a joint program between the federal government and the states set up to provide some money to people who are trying to get a job but can't find one. The benefit has been expanded by a $2.2 trillion relief package – called the CARES Act – passed by the federal government last week to help soften the blow of the coronavirus pandemic, which shutting down businesses across the country and forcing layoffs of millions of people.

"Every one of the 50 states has an online application system," says Michele Evermore, senior researcher and policy analyst for the National Employment Law Project.

— Charisse Jones

Follow Charisse on Twitter @charissejones. 

How much unemployment will I get?

The maximum weekly benefit varies by state. For instance, in Florida, it tops out at $275, while in New York the maximum is $504. But under the federal relief law, everyone will get an additional $600 a week until July 31.

— Charisse Jones

How long do unemployment benefits last?

Some states offer fewer weeks of benefits than others. But with unemployment now expanded, anyone who is still out of work when their state benefit period runs out will be able to get payments for an additional 13 weeks from the federal government.

Those who worked in states like Florida where the initial period is only 12 weeks, would be eligible for the unemployment insurance specifically pegged to the pandemic which tacks on another 14 weeks.

Through these various steps, all those who are out of work will be able to get assistance for up to 39 weeks.

— Charisse Jones

Can I file a jobless claim if I work for myself or in the gig economy?

Yes. Independent contractors, freelancers and gig workers will be able to get the same benefits through a new pandemic assistance program established by the CARES act.

— Charisse Jones

How much money can I get?

If you've already filed your 2019 taxes, the Internal Revenue Service will use those returns to determine your payment. If not, your 2018 returns will be used to calculate your check.

Individuals with an adjusted gross income of $75,000 or less will be eligible for a one-time payment of up to $1,200 ($2,400 for joint tax returns) and $500 for each qualifying child. Those with little or no tax liability also will get $1,200 ($2,400 for joint returns).

The payments will start to phase out for Americans who earn more than $75,000, or $150,000 for a joint return. The amount you receive will be decreased by 5% of the amount your income exceeds $75,000.

— Charisse Jones

Do freelancers, gig workers qualify for unemployment?

Under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, included in the stimulus bill, freelancers and gig workers can receive half the average unemployment benefit in their state and an extra $600 per week.  

— Coral Murphy-Marcos

Follow Coral on Twitter @CoralMerfi

 

What companies are hiring right now?

Companies in the health care industry, as well as food, grocer, convenience stores, retail and delivery companies are currently in the process of mass hiring. For a list of the employers, click here. 

— Jazmin Goodwin 

Follow Jazmin on Twitter @jazminkgoodwin.

Ask more questions!

All coronavirus coverage is being provided free to our readers. Please consider supporting local journalism by subscribing. Help keep local businesses afloat at supportlocal.usatoday.com.