This article was last updated on July 11
Many unemployed Americans are now seeing unemployment stimulus checks coming through on a more regular basis, despite the widespread claim processing and payment issues. Large states like California, Texas, Florida and New York are leading the way with payments being caught up for past weeks where recipients were eligible. Further, all states have now also upgraded their systems and processes to also process claims and eligibility checking for unemployed workers who qualify for extended benefits under the PUA and PEUC programs.
The large $600 FPUC payment is set to expire at the end of July 2020, unless extended. But the payment, along with retroactive payments is now being made on a weekly or bi-weekly schedule for unemployment workers who certify correctly in line with state requirements; and there are several new certification steps with the enhanced unemployment programs.
All that being said, it is also clear that thousands, if not millions of Americans, like freelancers or contract workers who would not have qualified for state unemployment benefits in the past but who do now under the CARES enhanced unemployment provisions (specifically the PUA program) are still struggling to submit claims and even talk to a real person at their state unemployment agency. I will try and post additional articles to help with this – like this one around payment schedules or different timelines for the new UI programs – but patience and perseverance are right now your best options to get your eligible claims processed.
[Update May 2020] Most states have now updated their systems to handle the new $600 unemployment stimulus payment (FPUC program) and 13 week regular unemployment payment extension (PEUC program). However there have been several issues with applying and getting paid for the new unemployment stimulus provisions.
Note – Under current rules if you stop certifying for continued unemployment benefits, even for one week, your Unemployment Insurance (UI) claim becomes inactive. You must reopen your claim to request benefit payments. You can generally reopen your claim if it was filed within the last 52 weeks. If your benefit year has ended, you must file a new claim.
The error below is symptomatic of what many Americans are seeing on their state’s unemployment insurance website when filing a claim for new, extended or additional payments under new UI stimulus provisions.
As of 2:30 today the [insert your state’s UI] system is experiencing slowness. Our IT team is making adjustments to restore the system to full capacity. We apologize for any inconvenience and appreciate your patience while we work to resolve these issues.
This is the number one reason state UI websites are down. It’s due to the massive rise in claim filings that are 100x normal in some states. All this due to the Coronavirus induced economic shutdown. Other reasons are the new provisions that extend benefits for 13 weeks and provide an additional $600 to the maximum payout until July 2020.
Calling the state UI number to file your UI benefits claim is not much better with many Americans reporting hours of on-hold time (and some outright hang ups). This is what is on the N.Y. unemployment insurance benefits website confirming this and their approach to manage the massive influx of new claimants. This will likely be followed in other states.
Please do NOT call our unemployment hotline with questions about extended benefits — this helps us keep our phone lines available for your fellow New Yorkers who need to file new claims. Thank you for your understanding and patience.
If you are filing a new unemployment insurance claim, the day you should file is based on the first letter of your last name. If your last name starts with A – F, file your claim on Monday. For last names starting with G – N, file your claim on Tuesday. For last names starting with O – Z, file your claim on Wednesday. If you missed your filing day, file your claim on Thursday, Friday or Saturday. Filing later in the week will not delay your payments or affect the date of your claim, since all claims are effective on the Monday of the week in which they are filed.
Feel free to share your story or any tips to file your claim faster.
Here are some other frequently asked questions that I am seeing on this topic.
Question – I just finally received my instructions on how to certify my weekly hours for PARTIAL unemployment insurance (UI) 2 weeks after applying. Will people who are filing or already on PARTIAL unemployment receive the full $600 a week on top of state unemployment insurance? Or will the $600 only be applied if you’re collecting/filed for FULL unemployment insurance benefits?
Answer – Honestly the answer is still up in the air as the DOL has not released detailed guidelines to the states yet. That’s probably why you cannot find an answer. My guess based on what I am seeing is that the extra stimulus will be proportionate to your partial employment payment (likely) or if it is applied as liberally as stated in the CARES act then everyone on UI will get the full $600 payment. I’ll update this post as I soon as I get confirmation.