When Will the Latest Coronavirus Unemployment Benefits Start? What We Know
By Sarah Chaney
President Trump signed an executive order on Saturday for a
federally funded $300 a week in enhanced unemployment benefits for
workers laid off during the coronavirus pandemic. The payments
would replace the $600 payments that expired last month. Mr. Trump
called on states to provide another $100 a week, but administration
officials said the state-funded benefit was optional.
Here is what we know about how unemployment benefits will work
under Mr. Trump's latest executive actions.
How much will my unemployment check be under President Trump's
Unemployment benefits will include the regular state
unemployment benefit -- which averaged about $330 a week in the
year through June -- as well as $300 a week funded by the federal
government. If a state chooses to fund an extra $100 in
unemployment benefits, per Mr. Trump's request, that could bring
the total tab up to $400 a week in supplemental benefits.
How do I know if my state will fund the extra $100 in
States are currently making the decision on whether to fund this
supplemental benefit. Many states are facing cash constraints due
to the pandemic, and will struggle to pull from funding sources
like rainy-day funds for the expanded benefits.
Governors in states such as New York and New Jersey have
indicated they are unlikely to pursue Mr. Trump's proposal that
they fund 25% of the additional benefit. Ohio already decided it
would distribute the extra $300 a week without providing the extra
My extra $600 ran out. When do I start getting the new federal
States will distribute the new federal benefit on different
timelines, depending in part on their technology. They first have
to receive the funds from the federal government for the extra $300
and set up a new system to distribute the payments. "It would have
to be created from scratch and run parallel with Pennsylvania's
existing unemployment-benefits programs. This is not something that
any state will be able to do quickly," a spokeswoman for
Pennsylvania's labor department said.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he believed states could
start rolling out additional federal unemployment payments within
"It is our understanding that the funds will be made available
for states to draw down after the state's application has been
approved," a U.S. Labor Department spokesman said, referencing the
fact that states must file grant applications with the federal
agency providing the funds.
How long will the extra $300 last?
Mr. Trump allocated $44 billion to cover the additional $300
weekly benefit, using money set aside for disaster relief. The
federal government spent an average of $16.6 billion a week on the
$600 enhancement benefit in the last four weeks of July, according
to Labor Department data. Reducing the benefit to half that amount
for a similar number of claims would be about $8.3 billion a week.
That would exhaust the $44 billion that Mr. Trump allotted in less
than six weeks.
Who is eligible for expanded aid under Mr. Trump's executive
Workers receiving at least $100 a week in unemployment insurance
through regular state programs or others, such as a federal program
for gig-economy workers, are eligible.
Who isn't eligible?
Mr. Trump's order said individuals collecting less than $100 a
week in unemployment benefits won't be eligible for the additional
aid. Unemployment benefits are based on a calculation of a worker's
previous income, which means many lower-wage or part-time workers
will be unable to receive the additional benefits.
Do I need to apply for the expanded unemployment aid?
The March stimulus law that created the extra $600 didn't
require workers to apply separately, and it doesn't appear an
application will be necessary now.
You need to be collecting regular unemployment benefits, though.
People can apply for unemployment-insurance benefits on their
state's website or over the phone. During the pandemic, states
recommended that people apply for benefits online given the high
volume of calls.
Once an application is submitted, states process and approve
applications. Weekly unemployment payments then arrive through a
mailed debit card or direct deposit.
How long will my unemployment benefits last?
The additional aid won't affect the duration of regular weekly
unemployment benefits, which varies by state. The standard time to
receive benefits in many states totals 26 weeks. The March stimulus
law lengthened benefits by 13 weeks across states.
Write to Sarah Chaney at firstname.lastname@example.org
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
August 11, 2020 12:58 ET (16:58 GMT)
Copyright (c) 2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.