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$ 300 Weekly Unemployment Checks: How Long Would They Last and Are They Retroactive?



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Lawmakers are continuing to negotiate a bill to extend benefits.

Angela Lang / CNET

A new stimulus package worth $ 900 billion is expected to include a $ 300 weekly federal unemployment insurance check, and a second stimulus control for a one-time payment of $ 600. However, until Congress votes on the proposed incentive bill, it is not clear how long the renewed federal benefits would last.

Initially, the bipartisan plan called for 16 weeks of unemployment insurance, which would take job seekers to April. After some back and forth, that coverage window may have been reduced to 10 weeks, The Washington Post reported Thursday. The same day, the Department of Labor reported there were 885,000 new jobless claims for the week ending December 12, which is 23,000 more than the week before.

We are here to answer as many questions as possible given the information currently available, including when the stimulus package could succeed, whether the weekly unemployment bonus would include retroactive payments and who would meet the eligibility requirements. We recently updated this story with new details.


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When can a stimulus package pass with $ 300 a week in unemployment insurance?

The $ 900 billion incentive bill if the negotiators can agree on a deal, the first vote could go to the House of Representatives on Sunday or Monday. Again, the proposal would also be one second stimulus control and funding for a variety of programs. This economic aid package is seen as a stop-gap rather than sweeping legislation, and is designed to help the economy and US residents through the early months of President-elect Joe Biden’s administration. There could be one more larger stimulus package in early 2021.

What will happen to unemployment benefits if the stimulus package continues?

For millions of unemployed workers, December 26 is the last check they will receive as benefits created by the CARES Act in March expire on December 31.

When those $ 300 checks are sent depends on how quickly the states can turn around and send the money. The federal government funds these payments, but it is the states that actually process the funds. The timing will vary when it is believed that states approved for the weekly $ 300 Lost Wage Assistance back in August took weeks or months to process payments.

Would the $ 300 per week unemployment benefit work retroactively?

At this point, the stimulus package being considered would not make unemployment benefits retroactive, according to The Washington Post. This means that no lump sum is paid to make up for the previous weeks in which you did not receive a check for $ 300.

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Tens of millions of Americans are facing financial hardship.

Sarah Tew / CNET

What happens without more unemployment insurance?

According to a Dec. 3 report by The New York Times, without a new incentive bill to expand the programs instituted by the CARES Act:

  • 7 million handy workers and contractors will lose Pandemic Unemployment Assistance
  • 5 million people who have lost their jobs will be left without unemployment checks
  • Millions of Americans will be deported
  • About 21 million people will have to start paying for student loans
  • 125,000 companies will lose tax incentives not to lay off employees
  • $ 150 billion in aid to the state and local government is expiring

The $ 748 billion package, if successful, would continue with unemployment benefits, another month of deportation moratorium, extend the deferral of student loans until April and extend corporate tax breaks. Help for state and local governments should come through the second $ 160 billion bill, which also includes corporate liability protection.

Who qualifies for the additional $ 300 unemployment check?

If you are fired or on leave, you are eligible to claim unemployment benefits from your state of residence. Once the state has approved your claim, you can apply to receive the state benefits to which you are entitled. Since states cover 30% to 50% of a person’s pay, there is no one-off sum you can get nationally.

When the CARES law was passed in March, it provided the unemployed with a weekly bonus check of $ 600 on top of the amount the state offered, but those payments stopped in July. President Donald Trump’s memo signed on August 8 Recovery of a weekly bonus check for a reduced $ 300 funded by the federal government through FEMA. These were offered to the states that applied for only six weeks, and they were all except South Dakota.

The CARES Act also created the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program, which provides benefits to individuals who would normally not be eligible for state unemployment benefits, such as gig workers, freelancers, independent contractors, and small business owners whose income has been compromised by the pandemic. Those who receive PUA will also receive the $ 300 bonus. Under the CARES Act, PUA funding will be available until December 31, but for many their final payment will be on December 26.

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Time is running out for millions of Americans.

Sarah Tew / CNET

How are unemployment benefits calculated?

The state determines how much each applicant receives, usually based on that of an individual Gross Income. It varies from state to state, but is usually between $ 300 and $ 600.

Am I eligible for my state’s unemployment benefits?

Eligibility criteria vary from state to state, but the general rule is that you must apply if you have lost your job or are on leave through no fault of your own. This includes a job that is directly or indirectly lost due to the pandemic.

How do the 50 states deal with unemployment insurance?

Most states offer up to 26 weeks of funding, but others, such as Georgia, have limited benefits to 12 weeks. Delaware, on the other hand, extended benefits to 30 weeks.

The weekly benefit amount depends on an applicant’s gross income when they were employed and ranges between $ 300 and $ 600, with some exceptions. Mississippi had paid up to $ 235, while Massachusetts’ maximum was $ 1,220. Pandemic emergency unemployment compensation from the CARES law added an additional 13 weeks, funded by the federal government, but another incentive law with unemployment insurance would have to be passed to extend it further.

Where can I find more information about my state’s unemployment policy?

Each state’s employment office provides information on its specific unemployment benefits.


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