A lot of people have relied on the extra COVID-19 unemployment benefits the government started sending out weekly when the pandemic first hit. The benefits, which initially amounted to $600 weekly, expired, but President Donald Trump authorized a scaled down amount, $300 a week, to be sent out.
However, how long will you still get the enhanced unemployment benefits? According to CNBC, the extra $300 in unemployment benefits is only set to last for six weeks. The site estimates that most workers will get an extra $1,800 benefit as a result.
A federal Emergency Management Agency spokesperson told CNBC, “States should plan to make payments to eligible claimants for no more than six weeks from the week ending Aug. 1, 2020.”
When Trump announced the extra $300, he actually gave out a $400 figure during a press conference. However, he also said in that press conference that the federal government was only going to cover 75 percent of the amount, leaving states to come up with the rest – if they choose to do so. Not all states have chosen to give out the extra $100. The enhanced benefits are on top of the state unemployment benefits that people already receive.
According to WSB-TV, once the six weeks expires, it’s not clear whether there will be additional extra benefits due to availability of funds, and, thus far, FEMA has only authorized the six weeks. The president had initially said that, “the weekly payments will end when the balance in FEMA’s disaster relief fund falls to $25 billion or on Dec. 27, 2020.” However, FEMA then authorized the six weeks of extra benefits. According to the television station, the president’s comments were “contingent” on availability of funds.
It’s technically called the Lost Wages Assistance program.
Here’s what you need to know:
Some States Are Running Out of the Extra Unemployment Benefits
According to Yahoo Money, states “are increasingly running out of extra unemployment benefits mandated by a presidential memorandum.” Some states are paying the benefits in lump sums. Others are not. Some are granting the extra $100. Others are not.
On September 10, CNBC reported that 20 states have started paying the extra $300 week benefit. States have to apply to get the benefit, and then there are usually several weeks of time needed to process them.
Yahoo Money added that the benefits technically ran out on September 5. Thus, when people get money, it will be for retroactive weeks only. AARP reported that more than 40 states have applied for the additional benefit.
Initially, FEMA Only Planned to Authorize Three Weeks of Extra Benefits
The six weeks of additional benefits is double what FEMA originally planned to authorize, according to CBS News.
A FEMA spokesperson told CBS News: “Regardless of where the states and territories are in their process to receive and distribute the FEMA funding, FEMA will fund six weeks in $300 supplemental unemployment benefits to every state and territory that has applied for this assistance by September 10.”
Not all states applied to receive the benefits. For example, South Dakota did not choose to apply.
You can access a tracker to look up your state’s information on the extra unemployment benefits here.
According to CBS News, over 29 million Americans are receiving unemployment checks, so these decisions affect a lot of people.