H-4 and L-2 EAD Holders Can File for Unemployment Benefits

As the U.S. unemployment rate continues to climb as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, many have asked if H-4 and L-2 EAD holders are eligible for unemployment benefits. Remember, to be eligible for unemployment, you must have an unrestricted right to work in the United States—which means there are no conditions on whom you can work for or where you can work.

Unlike H-1B and L-1 employees, H-4 and L-2 EAD holders have an unrestricted right to work in the U.S. They are able to work with any employer, anywhere in the U.S. without restrictions. This flexibility in their employment makes them eligible for unemployment benefits, as long as: 

  • The H-4 or L-2 EAD holder loses their job;
  • Their spouse continues to work to maintain H-1B or L-1 status; and
  • Their EAD is still valid. 

If the requirements are met, then the H-4 or L-2 EAD holder can request unemployment benefits, but only until the expiration date of their valid EAD card. 

Should H-4 and L-2 EAD holders file for unemployment benefits, it will not be considered as a public benefit under USCIS’ February 24th public charge rule. In their policy manual, USCIS clearly states that it does not consider unemployment benefits in the public charge inadmissibility determination.

Reddy & Neumann will continue to closely monitor this situation and provide you with helpful information to guide you through this difficult time. For more information visit our news page at https://rnlawgroup.com/news.

[1] https://www.uscis.gov/policy-manual/volume-8-part-g-chapter-10.

By: Vy Hoang

Vy is the Managing Attorney for Reddy & Neumann, P.C.'s H-1B department. Her focus is on H-1B specialty occupation and covers all phases of the nonimmigrant visa process.

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