NEWPORT — Newport’s Economic Development Office has provided a list of frequently asked questions for those who have seen a reduction of hours or experienced a layoff due to COVID-19.

Questions and answers are based off a recent interview with Richard Lavers, Deputy Commissioner of New Hampshire Employment Security.

Q. The dental office I work at is closed for at least three weeks. Are we required to use all of our personal/vacation time before we can collect unemployment?

A. The reduction of hours would qualify them for benefits. Paid time off will compensate you at a higher level than what unemployment will pay out so it is up to the individual and what the employer may require of them. If the employer is not compensating them or do not have a reduction in wages, then they can file for unemployment benefits.

Q. I’m the sole proprietor of a trucking company. If my business is affected do I qualify?

A. Yes and that is because of the order that was issued.

Q. What about the job search requirement to qualify for benefits?

A. While you typically need to actively search for a job while receiving unemployment, that is not the case for those out of work for COVID-19 related issues.

Q. What about food service workers? If the restaurant is still open for takeout, but they are not getting hours or tips, do they qualify to collect?

A. Yes. As with other industries, if they’ve seen a reduction of hours, they would qualify for unemployment. How much they would earn is based off how much you’ve made in the last 9-12 months (the prior four quarters).

Q. I work for a temp agency and I’m very limited on the work I can perform and my jobs have been cancelled. Can I collect and how long does it take to kick in?

A. Yes, wages earned during the prior four quarters would determine how much you receive for unemployment benefits. You can file the claim by visiting the NH Employment Security website at or calling the Unemployment Assistance Hotline at 271-7700. In most instances, benefits are direct deposited into your bank account.

Q. If you’re pregnant and work in a supermarket and are afraid of picking this up and giving it to your baby, can you self-quarantine and collect unemployment?

A. Yes. Individuals that choose to self-quarantine in addition to individuals that are quarantined by a healthcare provider, government official, or an employer would have a qualifying event for eligibility for unemployment benefits.

Q. I am on Social Security but work part-time to pay for my prescriptions. Will I be able to collect if I am laid off?

A. Generally, even without the new announcements, part-time workers in New Hampshire who experience a reduction in hours are eligible for unemployment but it’s based off part-time earnings. Other part-time workers would qualify as well.

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