$300 weekly unemployment checks officially approved for 10 weeks as stimulus bill becomes law

$300 weekly unemployment checks officially approved for 10 weeks as stimulus bill becomes law

On Saturday night, things were looking glum. A $300 weekly unemployment insurance check from the government to augment any benefit from individuals states lapsed that day, without a replacement waiting in the wings. Roughly twenty-four hours later, the situation changed — mostly — after President Donald Trump signed a COVID-19 relief/funding package Sunday night that would extend the extra federal unemployment checks for 11 weeks. However, there’s a catch.

The stimulus package benefits, according to the language in the bill, were meant to kick in Dec. 26, the day before Trump approved the legislation. His delay in signing the bill means it will take a few days for government agencies and states to organize, shrinking the bonus unemployment benefit window from 11 weeks to 10, at a loss of $300 per jobseeker.

Trump’s hesitation in approving the bipartisan package stemmed from his criticism of the $600 second stimulus check being too small — it comes in at half the upper limit of March’s $1,200 stimulus check. Instead, Trump wants Congress to amend the bill it already passed and raise the total possible second stimulus check to $2,000 per eligible adult, despite the fact that earlier in the month, the White House administration offered a $600 check as part of a different stimulus plan.

Whether the size of the second stimulus check jumps to $2,000 or remains at $600 a head, benefits for jobseekers are expected to remain static, including the $300 weekly bonus payment, the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program for gig workers and the benefits provided by the states.

One new relief included in the bill is the Mixed Earner Unemployment Compensation, which provides an additional $100 a week for those unemployed workers who earned money from a standard job and from self-employment, although states will individually determine if they will receive that amount.

We’re here to answer as many questions as we can, given the current information available, including if the weekly unemployment bonus would include retroactive payments and who would meet the eligibility requirements. We recently updated this story with new details.

When are the $300 bonus weekly unemployment checks supposed to start up again?

The first date for the bill to go into effect, Dec. 26, has come and gone. The checks are authorized to last until March 14, 2021. This extension also has an overflow period that lasts until April 5, 2021, which means a person who finds themselves unemployed in early 2021 would receive an additional three weeks of aid.

The spending bill also includes a second stimulus check and funding for a variety of programs. There could be a larger stimulus package in early 2021 when President-elect Joe Biden takes office. Here’s how changes to Congress could play a role.

Will the next $300 weekly unemployment bonus checks be retroactive?

While the language of the bill does not specify if the unemployment bonus is retroactive or not, that does not appear to be the case, The Washington Post reported. This means they’re likely won’t be a federally instituted lump sum payment to make up for previous weeks of not receiving a $300 check.

New benefit: Mixed Earner Unemployment Compensation

In the original CARES Act, the bill had unemployed workers either get their benefits from the state through unemployment insurance or through a federal program called Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). Someone who worked as a gig worker, self-employed, freelancer or contractor who doesn’t typically receive unemployment benefits if they’re laid off could receive PUA instead.

In the language of the bill, however, someone who earned a combination of income from a traditional job and a contractor job would either receive the unemployment insurance payment or the PUA, and not a combination of both…Read more>>