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Most 19 million Americans Receiving yet some form of unemployment insurance may soon take a hiatus: Congress is finally nearing agreement on a massive second stimulus package.
The breakthrough came after a bipartisan group of senators presented a $ 908 billion stimulus package last week. This assistance program, which includes $ 180 billion for an enhanced unemployment benefit of $ 300 per week, was surprisingly endorsed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who previously called for a much larger package of $ 2.2 trillion.
While the package would still need approval from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, it is gaining traction among economically conservative Republicans – an indication that a deal is near. Both sides are under increased pressure to compromise, as the economic recovery continues to slow.
Here’s all you need to know about the enhanced $ 300 unemployment benefits offered by the bipartisan group of senators.
How would the additional weekly unemployment benefit of $ 300 work?
The stimulus bill passed in March provided a $ 600 additional per week in unemployment insurance benefits to all who have qualified for a state’s program. But those improved payments expired at the end of July. After the $ 600 benefit expires, President Donald Trump signed a memorandum in August to send an enhanced unemployment benefit of $ 300 to those who receive at least $ 100 per week in state unemployment benefits. However, in most states that money ran out months ago.
The bipartisan Senate group’s $ 300 enhanced unemployment proposal appears to be more like the CARES Act’s $ 600 weekly payment. This means that it would go to anyone who qualifies for a state unemployment program or Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), regardless of the level of state benefits.
If passed, it means that once you’ve been approved by your state for Unemployment Insurance, you will automatically get the additional $ 300 weekly in federal money. All you have to do is continue to certify your benefits weekly with your state.
Who would be eligible for the $ 300 pandemic unemployment benefit?
The CARES law adopted in March expanded who is entitled to unemployment benefits to include unemployed part-time workers, self-employed workers, freelancers and independent contractors. Those unemployed Americans covered by Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, as well as anyone on the state’s traditional unemployment lists, would automatically receive the new federal benefits.
And anyone who qualifies would receive an additional $ 300 per week, regardless of their previous salary. This is in addition to their unemployment insurance benefits. For example, a worker in New York who receives the state’s maximum benefit of $ 504 per week would receive a total of $ 804 per week.
When would the $ 300 checks start coming out?
According to the bipartite proposal, checks for $ 300 would be issued starting the week of January 1. The program would last 16 weeks, according to reports from Washington post.
Can my unemployment benefits be greater than my income?
The additional $ 300 weekly unemployment benefit appears to be available to anyone who qualifies for Unemployment Insurance, regardless of income level. This works out to $ 7.50 an hour over a 40 hour work week. When combined with state benefits, some low-income Americans might see a pay rise. However, this would only be true for a very small number of beneficiaries; the added benefit would not impact the enhanced payment of $ 600, which gave a rise to the majority of unemployed Americans.
If I apply through my state, will I automatically get the federal benefits of $ 300 as part of the stimulus?
Yes. If this proposal is like the CARES Act payment, once your state approves you for Unemployment Insurance, you will automatically receive additional weekly federal money. All you have to do is continue to certify your benefits weekly with your state.
Will PUA and PEUC be extended?
The bipartisan bill would also extend the dates for benefits for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC). It is not yet known how far the programs would go until 2021. PUA expands the number of people eligible for unemployment benefits (for example, small workers and the self-employed in the United States), while the PEUC grants 13 weeks of benefits additional unemployment for skilled people.
This is good news for the millions of Americans benefiting from these programs, which are expected to expire at the end of 2020.
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