There has been a lot of news around people getting one or more of the extra $600 weekly unemployment checks, part of the CARES enhanced unemployment provisions, but then seeing an extended delay or sudden stoppage of these checks without any notice. This has created a lot of angst and anger for millions of unemployed Americans who needed the extra unemployment stimulus to make ends meet. So why did this happen and what can be done? Read on.
Based on various state labor and unemployment websites and official channels here are some reasons why the $600 payment may have been interrupted.
The $600 FPUC program officially ended at the end of July
Unless you are expecting retroactive or back payments for the period the initial FPUC program was in effect (week of April 4th to July 26th in most states) you will no longer be getting this check, even if you recently lost your job or a big part of your income. While Congress is looking to extend the payment to year end, it is highly likely the payment will be cut significantly and its not clear yet when they would restart. This will only leave claimants with access to regular state unemployment under the PUA, PEUC and ESB unemployment benefit programs.
You didn’t certify
While you only need to qualify for the minimum amount of regular state unemployment to get the $600, you do need to certify that you qualify every week or bi-weekly (dependent on state). So if you don’t certify or your employment situation changes such that you no longer qualify for state unemployment, then you won’t get the extra $600 FPUC payment either. That’s why some people are complaining that getting standard and enhanced unemployment checks could be more beneficial than what they may earn working!
Your State Has Technical Issues Making Payments
Many states like Florida, Ohio and Kentucky have reported that their systems are struggling to cope with the amount of new claims and as a result are struggling to certify and keep payments on schedule for current claimants. They have advised of delays in payment and at times incorrect details being displayed when checking payment status’.
The main problem with UI and payment issues across the country is the antiquated systems being used across several state agencies that administer claim filings and payments. States are literally on the fly revamping their systems as some of them caved from the unprecedented amount of claims filed. In NY the DOL added hundreds of workers to assist with the enormous amount of claims and there are Reps working from home that are now assisting the claims process. In early April it was a jumbled/hot mess but it is actually starting to function now the way it is supposed to. Hang in there and keep bugging your politicians to get off their butts via phone calls and email. Good Luck! (Jim)
Some states like New York, had initially paid out the $600 with few checks on claimants. But as systems were upgraded for the new unemployment provisions and due to the massive increase in fraudulent claims many subsequent $600 payments were held back to ensure identity and qualification checks were more rigorous. The appears to also be the case in other states. As a results payments are being delayed and getting to genuine claimants at much later dates.
The Federal Government is not paying states
There is a rumor that the delay in payments is due to the state not receiving funds for the federally funded $600 FPUC payment. This is not true as the payment of these claims is being done by states who can get reimbursed by the federal government. As long as the individual state agree to Department of Labor rules for the extra pandemic unemployment provisions (and all did) they will be covers by the federal government and should not be a reason the $600 payments are delayed to eligible recipients.
Payment Frequency of the $600 is different to regular state UI
The $600 FPUC payments in many states are paid on different schedules to the regular UI (but paid via the same method). Some states due to processing delays and because the $600 is accounted for differently (since federally funded) have staggered this payment which has resulted in some delays. This seems to be especially notable after memorial day.
What to do now?
For those who have gone more than two weeks since receiving their original FPUC payment, the first step is to confirm your job/eligibility situation has not changed (i.e. continue certifying) and to contact your local state unemployment agency (see links by state here). It can be hard to get a live agent to talk with so I also suggest you check the social media channel for these state UI agencies. That seems to be eliciting a faster reply in many cases. Here is a good news case from a recent comment I got.
Hi all. I’m currently a gig worker in Florida that’s unemployed due to COVID, obviously. Thought I could being y’all some hope if you haven’t received your money already. I was deemed eligible for PUA after two times of being deemed ineligible for regular UA. I received back pay a few days after applying for PUA, and started receiving my state and fed payments regularly. I would receive my federal money Monday night/Tuesday morning for two weeks straight. After Memorial Day, on the 19th of May, the payments stopped coming. Around 4am this morning, June 4th, I received a deposit of $1,080. Here’s what I heard was happening from someone who got a hold of someone at the DEO said & I can now confirm this is true: They are now offering the state and federal payments bi-weekly. We all have missed out on being paid because they were reworking the system. On top of being paid bi-weekly, instead of receiving our fed money weekly like we were, they are taxing the $600 wether you’re opted in or not. So you will be paid $1,080 every two weeks. So if you haven’t received a payment since May 19th, like myself, expect to receive a payment for that much either tonight or Monday to make up for the last two weeks. Then you will be receiving another one next week, and from then on out, you will be receiving it every two weeks when you go ahead and claim your weeks. Frustrating, yes – but at least we will be receiving our money. I hope I helped ease some of your anxiety about your payments, can I definitely woke up everyday with major anxiety not seeing that federal payment in my account!
While it is stressful for many to have the interruptions to their $600 payments, states by law have to pay you what is owed and are retroactively catching up on payments. In fact many comments on this site across the articles on enhanced unemployment benefits indicate claimants are eventually receiving large backdated unemployment payments covering several weeks.
“I live in Georgia and I’ve been receiving unemployment along with the $600. Since memorial day however I haven’t received anything. What do I need to do?” (Angela, PA)
“I received my unemployment and extra 600 for last three weeks, but on the 4th week I just received my (regular state) unemployment and didn’t receive the extra $600 any no one has any idea about this.” (Matt, NJ)
Wanted to know who can help in regards to the $600 extra UI we used to get every week. I have not gotten it since 5-19. Now I claimed my weeks for 5-27 now in week of June 5th and still no $600. Some one please help. The unemployment people can’t help because they don’t know about it. (Rachel)
This article was updated on August 12