Child Actor Challenges State’s Denial of Pandemic Unemployment Benefits

LOS ANGELES (CNS) – A child actor is taking legal action against the state Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board, alleging he was wrongfully denied pandemic unemployment benefits he originally sought in 2020.

Jacob J. Barnes’ Los Angeles Superior Court petition asks a judge to direct the board to find him eligible and award coronavirus-related unemployment benefits with interest. But according to the board’s records, he did not work long enough to qualify for the funds.

Barnes filed his unemployment claim in February 2020 and the board in January of this year upheld an administrative law judge’s decision denying him benefits on the grounds that he did “not have an attachment to the labor market,” according to the petition filed Tuesday.

“The (administrative law judge) incorrectly made a finding that (Barnes) did not have an attachment to the labor market and therefore was not entitled to unemployment benefits,” the petition states.

The board abused its discretion by affirming the judge’s decision, according to the petition.

A copy of the board’s findings is attached to the suit. According to the board, Barnes was almost 12 years old when his claim became effective and copies of multiple entertainment work permits valid from March 2020 through last October were submitted on his behalf.

Barnes last worked in September 2018 when he filmed an episode of a Netflix series and between then and the filing of his claim, he received several small residual payments, but was not hired for any acting jobs despite continuing to go out on auditions, according to the board.

All auditions were canceled due to state and local COVID-19 restrictions in March 2020, according to the board.

To be eligible for pandemic unemployment assistance, a person  must “have an attachment to the labor market” and must have experienced a loss of wages and hours, or was unable to start employment as a direct result of COVID- 19 following a bona fide job offer, according to the board.

“In this case, (Barnes) had been unemployed for approximately 18 months at the time the COVID-19 public health emergency was announced,” according to the board.

Between September 2018, when Barnes’ his last job ended, and the industry shutdown in March 2020, Barnes continued to audition, but was not hired for any jobs, according to the board.

“Although the pandemic may have exacerbated (Barnes’) unemployment, which had begun 18 months earlier, it clearly did not cause it,” according to the board.

- Advertisment -

Must Read

At Least 6 Hikers Killed, 9 Injured By Chunk Of Alpine...

A large chunk of an alpine glacier broke off a mountain and struck several hikers in Italy on Sunday (July 3), killing at least...
- Advertisment -