Having Trouble Filing for Unemployment? This Free App Can Help

Meet DoNotPay, a robot lawyer that's here to help.

The consequences of the coronavirus pandemic and physical or social distancing recommendations continue to spread beyond the healthcare system, with businesses and households around the world struggling with a loss of income as people stay home. Coronavirus relief checks from the U.S. CARES Act are already on their way, but for many people, that one-time payment isn’t enough.

Almost 10 million people have filed for unemployment insurance over the last two weeks. (Typically, about 500,000 people file for unemployment every two weeks.) The enormous loss of jobs as nonessential businesses close their doors and others curb spending has put the unemployment rate close to 13 percent, according to an estimate from The New York Times, and the spike in unemployment applications has overwhelmed online portals.

With digital applications frozen or crashing and people lined up for blocks outside unemployment offices, successfully applying for unemployment can be challenging, if not impossible—but an app is stepping up to make filing for unemployment easier and doable.

The app, DoNotPay, calls itself “The World’s First Robot Lawyer.” Previously covered by Real Simple, it offers basic cancellation and arbitration services to cancel subscriptions, fight parking tickets, and more. Now, with the new unemployment insurance feature, DoNotPay is also helping people file for unemployment insurance and work around website crashes for free.

As first reported by NBC's TODAY, the app is circumventing poorly functioning state unemployment websites by using paper applications to apply for unemployment in all states. Simply submit your information and the app will create a paper form and send it to your state’s unemployment office. According to TODAY’s report, this is currently the most efficient way to file.

Typically, DoNotPay charges a fee for some of its robot lawyer services, but it’s offering free unemployment filing to anyone who needs it during this crisis. (It’s not the only service stepping up to help—the free TurboTax stimulus center is another example of companies offering free help to those who need it.) DoNotPay erases all information after it submits the paper application, too, so your private data is safe.

If you’ve been unsuccessful in filing for unemployment insurance thus far, DoNotPay’s free service might be the solution.

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