Under the latest Coronavirus stimulus bill unemployment insurance has been extended by 13 weeks and boosted by adding $600 per week for up to four months, on top of what beneficiaries normally receive from states. It also expands eligibility to self-employed people and independent contractors.
When will the $600 Unemployment Benefit Payment Start?
As of now most state unemployment agencies are still awaiting formal guidance from the Department of Labor (DOL) on the implementation of the new federal provisions and funding. They will need these details to update systems to accommodate mandated changes. As a result state UI agency websites are behind on processing the additional $600 p/week payment. Most are committing to have the updates in place my mid-to-late April. If you already receive UI benefits you will automatically be added to new stimulus programs if eligible and receive these payments as you currently do. Others or newly unemployed will need to (re-)apply for the UI payments.
Will I get the full $600? The $600 is added to whatever amount you are currently getting, whether it’s the minimum or the maximum. So for example even if you are only getting $50 a week in unemployment benefits today you will still get the full $600 through the next four months which is mandated in the stimulus bill.
Also note that the $600 is paid retroactively. Payments are effective starting with the week ending 4/5/20. So, if it takes your state UI agency until mid-April to actually start the payments, they will be retroactive back to 4/5/20. The $600 only applies to those who are receiving unemployment benefits. If your state said that you don’t qualify for UI, then you do not get the $600 either. The bill also waived the 7 day waiting period for new claims. So you can file as soon as you get laid off or lose income as a self employed person.
The following table shows how the current state administered maximums would increase with this new provision.
|State||Current Max. Weekly Benefit Amount||New Maximum Weekly Benefit with Stimulus|
|District of Columbia||$444||$1,044|
Naturally the above increases are creating controversy as the new maximums could exceed what workers make from normal jobs and actually encourage employees to temporarily lay off employers while things are slowed down due to the Coronavirus induced shutdowns.
Note the eligibility for this additional payment is going to only apply from this year and valid for four months, but that is still to be confirmed. Since unemployment benefits are administered at the state level, please check your state’s UI website.