COVID-19 Extended Unemployment Benefits: How Much Will You Get in Trump’s Order?

when covid-19 unemployment benefit expire

Getty When does the $600 unemployment benefit expire.

President Donald Trump, in a sudden August 7 evening press conference, promised to extend unemployment benefits until the end of the year. However, how much will you get if you qualify?

Trump gave that answer on Saturday, August 8 in a second press conference, revealing that he had signed executive orders to provide relief to Americans struggling in the pandemic, including an additional $400 per week in extra unemployment benefits.

“I’m taking action to provide an additional or extra $400 a week and expanded benefits, $400. That’s generous but we want to take care of our people,” Trump said on August 8, adding that the federal government will pay 75%. The question is whether the states will come up with money to fund the remainder. Thus, some issues still remain despite Trump’s Saturday action.

Trump also said he’s suspending some student loan payments through the end of the year, is protecting renters from eviction, and will defer payroll taxes on Americans earning less than $100,000, also through the end of 2020. “We’ve had it,” he said in the press conference, in which he criticized Democratic leaders in Congress. “We’re going to save American jobs and provide relief to the American worker.”

Some have questioned the legality of Trump’s executive orders. “An executive order (on the unemployment benefits) would really be a nightmare,” Michele Evermore, senior policy analyst at the National Employment Law Project, told Yahoo Money. “It would just end up resulting in people thinking they’re getting a benefit but states being unable to figure out how to do it in many cases.”

Trump has acknowledged he expects to be sued over them. The Washington Post reported that the orders make “dramatic changes to tax and spending policy, signing executive actions that challenge the boundaries of power that separate the White House and Capitol Hill.”

Even some members of Trump’s own administration didn’t think it was legally possible. Larry Kudlow, the director of the White House National Economic Council, said earlier in the week of extending unemployment benefits: “I don’t think that can be done administratively. I think that requires an act of Congress.”

“The President cannot create new money with an executive order. These EOs simply show the limitations of the President’s legal authority,” said Jack Smalligan, a senior policy fellow at the Urban Institute, to The Post.

The extra unemployment benefits, which had expired, were passed during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, and gave people an extra $600 a week. Thus, Trump’s latest order revives them, but at an amount of $200 less per week. Republicans had telegraphed for weeks that they preferred an amount in the $200 to $400 range because they think $600 gives people a disincentive to work. The Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin, previously said they were looking at a number that caps extended unemployment benefits at 70% wage replacement. Some experts say that figure could put the checks closer to the $200 range.

The president said in a Friday press conference that lawyers were currently vetting his executive orders, and he wants them out by the end of the week. He lived up to that promise on Sunday.

Trump’s decision to go with executive orders comes after negotiations between Republicans and Democrats in Congress broke down on August 7, the final day of the summer recess.

Here’s what you need to know:

Trump Said He Plans to ‘Enhance Unemployment Benefits’ Through the End of the Year & Called $600 a ‘Disincentive’

Trump holds presser discussing possible executive order for additional stimulusPresident Trump discusses coronavirus and a potential stimulus package. Subscribe to Fox News! Watch more Fox News Video: Watch Fox News Channel Live: FOX News Channel (FNC) is a 24-hour all-encompassing news service delivering breaking news as well as political and business news. The number one network in cable, FNC has been…2020-08-08T00:24:04Z

In the Saturday news conference, the president explained why he went with $400 instead of $600, saying, “This is the money they need, this is the money they want, this gives them a great incentive to go back to work.” He added, “There was a difficulty with the 600 number because it really was a disincentive.” Republicans have stated for weeks that they think $600 gave Americans a disincentive to work.

Trump also used executive orders to push through other elements of the stalled second stimulus relief plan, such as student debt relief.

“My administration continues to work in good faith to reach an agreement with Democrats in Congress to extend unemployment benefits, provide protections against evictions…tragically Nancy Pelosi and chuck Schumer continue to exist with radical leftwing policies that have nothing to do with the China virus,” said Trump.

If the Democrats don’t agree to a compromise, said Trump, “I will act under my authority as president to get Americans the relief” they need. He did so Saturday. He then said he will be “deferring the payroll tax for a period of months to the end of the year, retroactive to July 1.” He said he also plans to “enhance unemployment benefits through the end of the year” and “defer student loan payments and forgive interest until further notice” as well as “extend the eviction moratorium.”

Trump did not mention a second round of stimulus checks in the comments.

White House Economic Adviser Larry Kudlow said Trump could use leftover CARES Act money to get funding, according to Yahoo Money.

Republicans Are Concerned the $600 Unemployment Checks Give People an Incentive Not to Work & Want to Cap How Much People Can Get

Getty(L-R) Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and U.S. President Donald Trump attend briefing about the coronavirus outbreak in the press briefing room at the White House on March 17, 2020 in Washington, DC.

Driving Republican concern over the $600 figure: They think it’s too high and thus gives Americans an incentive not to work, and they want to change that calculus. The U.S. Treasury Secretary has labeled the $600 weekly unemployment benefits for COVID-19 “ridiculous.”

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin made the comment on July 25 after emerging from talks with GOP staff at the U.S. Capitol. Mnuchin made it clear that the $600 figure isn’t going to be extended. However, he did indicate that the checks will likely be extended, just at a smaller amount.

The AP reported that he said the amount will be extended but at a smaller amount because Republicans believe that $600 a week gives people a reason not to return back to work. Mnuchin recently appeared on Fox News Sunday and said the Trump administration supports “capping supplemental unemployment insurance in the next stimulus package to replace 70% of individuals’ lost wages,” according to Axios, which added that 31 million Americans are receiving unemployment.

“We want to have something which pays people about 70% wage replacement, which I think is a very fair level. So it’s not a fixed number. It’s something that pays you a percentage of your wages that are lost,” Mnuchin said.

The Washington Post reported that some economists believe that would make the $600 about $200 a week but added that Mnuchin “stressed on Sunday (July 26) it would vary from person to person.”

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