Different amounts have been floated for what the extra round of unemployment benefits will be worth to you: $1,800, $2,400, $300 and $400. What do the different numbers mean? Which will you get?
The answer is that which you will get depends on which state you live in. Here’s why.
The first round of pandemic extra unemployment benefits (benefits tacked on to whatever you get from your state) granted people $600 weekly. That expired. In August, President Donald Trump, in a controversial move when it comes to presidential authority, authorized an extra $300. Trump told people they would get $400, but he also made it clear that the federal government would only pay 75%. The states had to come up with the remainder, and whether they chose to do so is up to them. A few have, but most have not. Thus, most people who qualify will get another $300 (some states have guidelines for who qualifies, saying you have to be unemployed due to COVID-19, for example.)
How do you get to $1,800 or $2,400? Those are the lump sum amounts that you would get with $300 and $400. Not all states are actually sending the payments out as a single lump sum, though, although some are. But those amounts are the estimated value to you from the extra unemployment benefits, at least so far.
Here’s what you need to know:
FEMA Has Approved Six Weeks of Extra Unemployment Benefits
How do you get to the $1,800 or $2,400 amounts? The federal government says the enhanced benefits will last for six weeks.
According to CNBC, the six-week limit was announced by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, otherwise known as FEMA. The site estimated 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.”
Trump had initially indicated people would get money through December 27, but that was before FEMA authorized the six weeks of funding, and the president’s comments were “contingent” on the availability of funds, according to WSB-TV.
How to Look Up Your State
You can find information about your state here.
According to Yahoo Money, some states are paying the benefits in lump sums. 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. Thus, people around the country are getting the benefit at different points in time.
The money is considered retroactive to August. AARP reported that more than 40 states have applied for the additional benefit.
FEMA originally planned to authorize only three weeks of benefits, 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.”