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Unemployment Benefits: New Hope for $ 300 Extra Weekly Check? Not so fast



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Americans need a different economic aid package.

Sarah Tew / CNET

A group of Congressional lawmakers from the House of Representatives and the Senate on Tuesday unveiled a $ 908 billion COVID-19 aid package that would bring in a $ 300 weekly bonus for four months. The proposal also includes relief for state and local governments, more money for the Paycheck Protection Program, and funding for the developer and distribution of the Covid-19 vaccine. What is not included in the package is a second round of stimulus controls.

With the support of a full mix of legislators, the latest proposal for an incentive account would have the potential to kick-start negotiations to pass on more aid, including the additional weekly unemployment check. Or at least it did, until Mitch McConnell, leader of the Senate majority group, said he wouldn’t cherish the $ 908 billion bill – effectively shutting it down – and instead revived his own narrow-minded proposal for a fraction of the amount.

This is the third revision of McConnell’s $ 500 billion package, which has failed the Senate twice since July and has been blocked by the Democrats both times. The only concession for direct worker support in McConnell’s latest revision is a one-month extension of the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, for gig workers, until January 31, 2021.

Meanwhile, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, both Democrats, shared a proposal with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Nov. 30 that would likely include additional unemployment insurance.

“Additional COVID relief is long overdue and must be passed on in this lame-duck session,” Pelosi said Tuesday.

Here’s what we know about supplementary unemployment benefits. This story is regularly updated with new information.

Read more: Coronavirus Unemployment: Who Is Covered, How To Apply, And How Much It Pays

What happens if the extra unemployment benefit is not extended?

Without an aid package, more than 13 million unemployed workers will have to do without money from the federal government. Unemployed workers received a bonus of $ 600 per week, along with an extended period to collect benefits as part of the CARES Act. When the bonus ended in July, President Donald Trump signed one executive memo to restart the extra weekly funds, on top of the typical unemployment benefits.

Those funds are known as Lost Wage Assistance, or LWA, and the aid was planned to last six weeks, providing an additional $ 300 per week to unemployed workers as Congress continued negotiations to establish a adopt new economic aid package. States have already exhausted their resources. The revised Heroes Act of October 1 would increase the weekly bonus back to its original $ 600 for four months.

The US government is currently in a lame duck session until President-elect Joe Biden will take office on January 20, which means that President Trump would have to sign any aid package that comes through Congress, which is the only way to get the improved unemployment benefits before they expire on December 31.


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What else happens to unemployment benefits without more incentive aid?

The CARES Act has enacted multiple programs with a due date of December 31, 2020. In addition to the larger checks outlined above, the Rescue Act also expanded unemployment benefits for new applicants to 39 weeks instead of the typical 26 weeks set by the states. Those extra weeks will disappear, except in those states that have already enacted a longer timeframe up to 2021.

Another program that ends at the end of the year is the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program. Self-employed contractors and handy workers do not normally receive unemployment benefits, but PUA allows them to receive weekly funds, similar to other unemployed workers. This program will also end on December 31.

Why have unemployment benefits been expanded in the first place?

Congress has it $ 2.2 Trillion CARES Act in March to help Americans and American businesses after cities started closing as a result of the pandemic. Included in the package was additional unemployment assistance for people who lost their jobs as a result of the pandemic.

Since the introduction of shelter-in-place rules, tens of millions of Americans have received the additional federal unemployment assistance. With states offering between $ 235 and $ 1,220 per week in aid, the additional $ 600 per week is an important part of many people’s financial lifeblood.

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Tens of millions of Americans are facing financial hardship.

Sarah Tew / CNET

Who was eligible for additional unemployment benefit?

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 will be eligible for all state benefits to which you are entitled. Because states cover 30% to 50% of a person’s wages – some states offer more while others offer less – the additional $ 600 from the federal government was added to close the gap.

How has the CARES Act helped people who were fired or on leave?

Each state has its own criteria for who qualifies for unemployment – and what those benefits include. This includes how much money you can receive, which is usually based on your income and how long you are eligible to receive it, which is usually based on how long you have had your most recent job. The CARES law provided for an aid fund – up to $ 600 extra per week – while also expanding state unemployment benefits to a maximum of 39 weeks instead of the typical 26 weeks.

Who was not eligible for the extra unemployment check?

There will be some people who receive unemployment benefits who cannot take advantage of additional funding. The U.S. Department of Labor (PDF) issued guidelines on the eligibility requirements for the LWA on August 11. Plaintiffs would have to qualify for a minimum of $ 100 from a state’s unemployment benefit program to be eligible for the additional $ 300 federal funds. This would disqualify 1 million people, according to the New York Times.

How are unemployment benefits actually 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.

How do I find out if I was eligible for 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 current pandemic.

How do different states deal with unemployment money?

Again, the duration and amount of the benefit varied. Most states offer funding for up to 26 weeks, while others, such as Georgia, limit 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.

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

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

How has the CARES Act helped self-employed people?

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. Under the CARES law, PUA funding is available until December 31, 2020.




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