The government extended the time people can receive money from unemployment insurance. Legislators agreed in the new stimulus package to extend the amount of time people can collect unemployment benefits, plus they will give an additional amount of money back. That additional amount, which was previously $600 per week, will now be only $300 and last until March 14.
Extensions of unemployment benefits apply to people receiving statewide benefits, as well as to those receiving checks through the so-called Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program, which ended December 26.
The PUA covers the self-employed, part-time workers, part-time workers and others not normally eligible for regular unemployment benefits.
The extension of unemployment benefits will work as follows: most states pay unemployment benefits for 26 weeks (after this time, the first stimulus package, the CARES Act, extended benefits for 13 weeks), and this latest package just passed will include 11 more weeks.
In other words, the total extension of unemployment benefits – adding the two packages – will end up being 24 weeks.
This extension of unemployment benefits applies to anyone receiving state benefits or pandemic unemployment assistance. This last federal extension will be deactivated on March 14.
Over the $300 a week that will be given to unemployment benefits, everyone who qualifies for unemployment checks will receive them. This extra money is intended to be given for 10 weeks in most states. That means they will also last until March 14.
Millions of people lose unemployment assistance
The impasse occurs when the pandemic situation worsens across the nation. Unemployment programs used by some 14 million people expired Saturday as President Donald Trump refused to sign a $900 billion bill for coronavirus relief that Congress overwhelmingly passed Monday.
Two programs expired this December 26: the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program; which helps self-employed and independent workers who would not otherwise be covered by traditional unemployment compensation, and the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation Program; which provided an additional 13 weeks of assistance to those who were left without state benefits.
About 10 million unemployed workers lost compensation immediately and about 3.8 million additional workers are at risk of losing their benefits in weeks.
Earlier in the week Congress approved an extension of unemployment benefits until March 14 and added a federal resource of $300 per week for all laid-off workers.
President Trump has yet to sign legislation that included support for a $600 stimulus check; however, he felt the checks were too small so he asked lawmakers to extend the proposal beyond $2,000.
From his Mar-A-Lago hotel in Florida, Trump wrote a message on Saturday morning on his Twitter account disagreeing with the stimulus package agreed to by Congress:
“I just want to get our great people $2,000 instead of the paltry $600 that is now in the bill,” Trump wrote.
For months now, Democrats have been asking for bigger stimulus checks, but they settled for $600 because of congressional Republicans’ demands during negotiations.
House Democrats intend to introduce an independent bill on Monday to increase stimulus checks to $2,000, but it would still need the support of the Senate, which is led by the Republican Party that is being cautious about increasing spending.
Biden Warns Trump
On Saturday, President-elect Joe Biden called on Trump to sign the bill, warning him that failure to do so “will have devastating consequences.
The government could close down by Monday’s first minute if it does not sign the $1.4 billion funding bill along with the aid for the coronavirus. It would also leave out the moratorium on evictions that will end on December 31.
In anticipation of what may happen on Sunday, Republican leaders should join together to ask Trump to sign the bill so that we can extend the aid,” said Richard Neal, the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.
It will be until this Monday, December 28, when Congress makes another attempt to amend the independent bill and authorize the $2,000 increase in a second stimulus check.