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Weekly $ 300 unemployment checks are back on track – maybe. The update today


There may be more weekly unemployment relief soon.

Angela Lang / CNET

Time is running out for increased unemployment benefits unless Congress one new incentive account. Democrats and Republicans are hammering the details of a $ 908 Billion COVID-19 Aid Package, which would provide another four months of $ 300 weekly bonus checks for unemployed workers. The bipartisan proposal has the support of President elect Joe Biden and many Washington officials.

“The situation is urgent. If we don’t act now, the future looks bleak,” Biden said in a speech on Friday. “Americans need help and they need it now, and they will need more early next year. I am encouraged by the bipartisan efforts in the Senate around a $ 900 billion package of aid.”

If passed in its current form, the proposal would also give money to local and state governments, fund the Paycheck Protection Program, and help pay for the development and distribution of the Covid-19 vaccine. A second incentive payment was not included, but the White House is pushing for Senate Republicans to include a $ 600 stimulus check, according to a Washington Post report Tuesday.

Senate leader Mitch McConnell initially said he wouldn’t entertain the $ 908 billion package – that would essentially kill it because he has the power to vote bills. Instead, he revived his own “targeted” proposal for a fraction of the amount that does not include support for a weekly bonus on unemployment checks or direct incentive assistance. Although McConnell expressed his willingness to compromise last Thursday, it is unclear whether the Senate leader will continue to push his own bill without putting the $ 908 billion bipartisan proposal to the vote.

According to the Ministry of Labor, there were 712,000 new applications for unemployment last week (75,000 fewer than the week before). The Thanksgiving holiday may have reduced the number of new claims, according to The New York Times. The November jobs report found that 245,000 jobs were created for the month, 45% less than the expected 444,000.

More information about supplementary unemployment benefits can be found below. This story is regularly updated.

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

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What if unemployment benefits expire without a new invoice?

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

  • 7 million handy workers and contractors will lose their benefits
  • 5 million will no longer have unemployment checks
  • Several millions will have to deal with deportations
  • About 21 million euros 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 US government is currently in a lame duck session until Biden will take up his duties on January 20meaning that President Donald Trump would have to sign any aid package that comes through Congress, which is the only way at this point to get the improved unemployment benefits before they expire on December 31.


Tens of millions of Americans are facing financial hardship.

Sarah Tew / CNET

What else ends without a new incentive account?

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, Trump signed a executive memo restarting a reduced amount of the additional 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 (plus $ 100 from states) while Congress negotiations continued to provide a new economic relief package. States have already exhausted their resources. The revised Heroes Act of October 1 the weekly bonus would go back to its original $ 600 for four months.

The CARES Act has enacted multiple programs with a due date of December 31. 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 expires on December 31 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.

What happened to the $ 300 checks?

Again, Trump’s memo signed on August 8 recovery of a $ 300 weekly bonus check called Lost Wage Assistance (LWA) funded by the federal government through FEMA. The injunction also asked for an additional $ 100, provided by the states, to earn a total of $ 400 in increased unemployment benefits, although that has since been made optional.

States began sending checks for $ 300 in mid-August, some of which sent them over the course of six weeks, while others provided lump sums to equalize the $ 1,800 total. Since December, all states have exhausted their allocated LWA funding.

Why have unemployment benefits actually increased?

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 providing between $ 235 and $ 1,220 per week in aid, the additional $ 600 per week has been an important part of many people’s financial survival.

Who was eligible for increased unemployment benefits?

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 did the CARES Act support people who were fired or on leave?

Each state has its own criteria for who qualifies for unemployment and what those benefits are. 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 a stimulus 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.


Time is running out for millions of Americans.

Sarah Tew / CNET

Who was not eligible for the extra unemployment benefit?

There will be some people who receive unemployment benefits who cannot take advantage of additional funding. The United States Department of Labor 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 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 qualify for unemployment insurance?

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 handle unemployment benefits?

Again, the duration and amount of the benefit are varied. 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 while 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. According to the CARES law, PUA funding is available until December 31.

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