Pandemic Unemployment Benefits Expired On Labor Day Could They Be Renewed
Millions of Americans lost jobless benefits this month. Some lawmakers are proposing that aid be reinstated in an upcoming spending package. Here’s the latest.
The September termination of unemployment benefits was considered the largest in US history.
After the pandemic-related expansion of unemployment insurance ended on Sept. 6, roughly 7.5 million people lost their benefits entirely, with millions more losing the $300 weekly bonus checks. The temporary federal benefits — which included coverage for those normally ineligible for jobless aid, like gig workers and the long-term unemployed — were in place since spring 2020 to help those who lost income from COVID-19 restrictions or layoffs.
This week, a group of Democratic lawmakers, led by Reps. Cori Bush and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, called to reform the unemployment system in the coming $3.5 trillion House spending plan. In a , they noted that the country now “denies life-saving resources to over two-thirds” of those without jobs, as aid now covers “less than half of lost wages.” They also noted that 90% of unemployed workers and “especially Black and Brown communities” have been left with no benefits at all.
With the uptick in delta-variant cases, the COVID era hasn’t come to a close. Could the White House renew those extra benefits? What can people do who need unemployment coverage to make ends meet? We’ll explain below. This story has been recently updated.
Who Qualifies For Extended Unemployment Benefits
The package establishes a temporary supplemental $300 per week in unemployment benefits for all unemployed workers, a decrease from the $600 in additional benefits provided to unemployed workers by the CARES Act that ended in July.
It also extends two programs, The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation . The PUA program provides benefits for self-employed workers, freelancers, and other gig workers who typically arent eligible for state unemployment benefits, and the PEUC allows states to provide up to 13 weeks of federally funded unemployment benefits to those who have already used all available state benefits.
If you qualify for any unemployment checks from your state or these federal programs, you will also be eligible for the $300 weekly boost.
America Needs To Have A Bigger Conversation About Unemployment Insurance
The anti-poverty response to the pandemic has been really dramatic, unlike anything weve ever done before. Weve done a much better job of ensuring income risk from unemployment, Ganong said. What that will mean down the road especially as benefits are shut off is up in the air. The Labor Department is upping investments in grants to help train some workers, which could help more people find something new. But workers have also found it difficult to decipher whether they need to switch jobs or not.
Apart from what happens in the immediate term, there is one bigger issue in play here: Americas unemployment insurance system needs to be reformed. Its run as a federal-state program that leaves states with a lot of leeway as to how much assistance to provide workers, what parameters to put in place, and how easy or difficult to make accessing benefits. Many Americans saw firsthand when the pandemic hit just how hard the system is to navigate.
Congress has been guessing at how long expanded unemployment insurance will be needed from the outset of the Covid-19 outbreak
There have been some rumblings from progressives about the possibility of pushing for another extension of pandemic unemployment benefits, but many on the Hill believe that at this point, its really a nonstarter. We dont have the votes in the caucus for an extension, one Democratic aide told Vox in an email.
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The decision requires the state to continue the extra $300 weekly payments to unemployed workers and remain in other programs that expanded unemployment benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Holcomb announced last month that Indiana would reinstate a requirement that those receiving unemployment benefits will again have to show they are actively searching for work as of June 1 and that the state would leave the federal programs effective June 19.
Indiana also ended its participation in a federal program that made gig workers and the self-employed eligible for assistance for the first time and another that provides extra weeks of aid.
The state of Indiana took the appropriate steps to terminate its participation in federal pandemic unemployment program. The agreement ended on June 19, the governors office said in a statement Friday, adding that Holcomb and the states Workforce Development office will discuss an immediate appeal of the judges order with the Attorney General.
The decision to withdraw the state from the federal programs came as many businesses blame the extra $300 weekly payment and the ease of obtaining unemployment benefits with making it more difficult to fill job openings. Republican legislative leaders additionally urged Holcomb to withdraw Indiana from those federal programs.
How Long Will The $300 Unemployment Benefits Last
The $300 federal benefits will continue through Sept. 6, 2021. Though the way Congress is printing money for COVID-19 relief, another extension is not out of the question.
Ironically, Sept. 6 is Labor Day. Eighteen months after COVID-19 started wreaking havoc on the U.S. labor force, will it be time to get back to work?
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Federal Unemployment Benefits Ending
Federal unemployment benefit programs under the CARES Act ended on September 4, 2021. You will no longer be paid benefits for the following claim types after September 4:
Note:Federal-State Extended Duration benefits will no longer be payable after September 11.
The federal government does not allow benefit payments to be made for weeks of unemployment after these programs end, even if you have a balance left on your claim. Certification weeks eligible for payment before the end of these programs will be processed. This includes weeks eligible for conditional payments. You will be notified about what to expect based on your claim type.
Note: View the following to learn more about benefits ending and other assistance programs still available:
If your program type is:
- UI, you are receiving regular unemployment.
- PEUC, Extension Tier 2, or Extension Tier 2 , you are receiving Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation benefits.
- Extension FED-ED, you have used all PEUC benefits and are now receiving FED-ED extension benefits.
- Disaster Assistance, you are receiving Pandemic Unemployment Assistance . If you arent receiving PUA, you are receiving Disaster Unemployment Assistance following a declared disaster.
What If I Made Less Money This Year Do I Qualify For More Stimulus
Yes. If your income was lower this year than your previous year on file with the IRS, you can claim that money back on your taxes. For example, if you made $150,000 in 2019 income, but you were laid off in the first round of layoffs in 2020 and only made $20,000 this year, you can recoup that difference.
File early and file electronically, the IRS does plan to get these funds out, says Pancotti.
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A Compromise On Extending Unemployment Benefits
It appears highly likely that the President and his administration will have to provide some level of support to the millions of unemployed workers given the resurgence of the Coronavirus in several states that has forced extended business closures. As such a Senate proposal by the Democrats called The American Workforce Rescue Act , may provide a party line compromise that the president could get behind, particularly as the presidential election is only a few months away. The AWRA proposal would continue to provide the full $600 extra weekly unemployment payment as long as the states unemployment rate is above 11%. When it drops below 11% , it will start to phase out to $0 until the states unemployment rate drops below 6%. So essentially $100 less for every percentage drop between 11% and 6% of a states unemployment rate.
With the current provisions expiring in a few weeks, I expect that that Congress will eventually craft a bill to extend these UI benefits to the end of 2020 using a hybrid of one of the above proposals which may well also include another 2020 stimulus check to cover those not eligible for unemployment benefits.
The table below shows the impact of losing the extra $600 weekly payment against the maximum weekly benefit amount current paid by state unemployment agencies. As you can see, in several states it is pretty significant and the impact is much, much higher if you are not getting close to the maximum amount in your respective state.
How Long Will Extended Unemployment Benefits Be Available
The extended $300 benefit will be available to unemployed workers for an additional 11 weeks, through March 14, 2021. The package strikes the 39-week maximum for receiving benefits established in the CARES Act. Its now a 50-week maximum. If you havent hit that maximum by March 14, you can receive aid as late as April 5, after which there will be no further payments.
No new applications will be accepted after March 14.
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State Specific Unemployment Resource And News Pages
President Trump sent a lump of coal to jobless and underemployed Americans for Christmas by refusing to pass the COVID stimulus bill that had passed in Congress after lengthy negotiations, which contained the unemployment program extensions and funding for a second round of stimulus payments . This means that Congress will have to now go back in session to pass the bill again with a presidential approval override.
Bottom line as discussed in this UI stimulus update video is that there will be a delay in payments and a likely lapse in benefits as the PUA and PEUC programs expired on December 26th. New payments under the $300 FPUC and $600 stimulus will now only start in 2021 with people having to rely on retroactive back payments for their benefits.
Congressional leaders have passed a circa $900 billion stimulus plan that includes funding for an approximately 11 week extension to federal pandemic programs and additional supplementary unemployment benefits at $300 FPUC per week for millions of unemployed or underemployed Americans who lost their job or income due to COVID.
You can see the latest around this and FAQs around how this will be paid in this regularly updated $300 UI payment article or via this video. This covers when these payments will be paid, retroactive payments and coverage periods.
$908 Billion Interim Stimulus Package and UI Benefits Extension
Why Do Unemployment Benefits Have To End
Unemployment benefits provide a safety net for workers who are laid off from their jobs, until they can get work again. They are not meant to be a permanent solution. If unemployment benefits did not expire, there would be far less incentive for unemployed workers to look for jobs, and the taxes paid to fund the program would become too onerous to maintain.
Unfortunately, sometimes even with diligent effort, a person may remain unemployed after their regular and/or extended unemployment benefits end. If that happens to you, you will need to redouble your efforts to find a job. If it has not been up to now, your full-time job should be to find a new job. You might consider moving to a new city or state with more opportunities for work.
If you cannot support yourself or your family without assistance, there are still other government programs you may qualify for including Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program , Medicaid, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families , or other social service programs.
Remember that there are also many community and church-sponsored relief programs, including food banks, soup kitchens, and employment counseling, that are available. Your local library or community center should be able to help you find assistance in your area.
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Whats Next For Workers
While the unemployment rate has been ticking down throughout the summer, its apparent the post-pandemic recovery will be slow and steady, not the near-immediate bounceback economists had initially hoped to see.
And that moderate recovery could be amplified by the end of unemployment benefits come September. Unemployment payments allow recipients to contribute to the economy by spending on housing, groceries and child care. And although the child tax credit expansion boosts income for some households, it may not fill a widespread spending gap that could start to snowball once unemployment benefits run out.
Unemployment Extended Benefits Compensation
If you’re eligible for extended unemployment benefits, you will receive the same amount that you received for regular unemployment compensation. The amount of weeks you will receive depends on your state unemployment rate and may vary.
The information contained in this article is not legal advice and is not a substitute for such advice. State and federal laws change frequently, and the information in this article may not reflect your own states laws or the most recent changes to the law.
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Why Was My Unemployment Claim Denied
When you submit a claim for unemployment, it is reviewed by the appropriate agency in your state. They will make a determination as to whether or not your claim is valid, entitling you to benefits or not. There are some instances why your claim may be denied.
You quit your job. If you voluntarily make the choice to leave your employer, you will be held accountable as the party at fault for becoming unemployed. In some instances, you may be able to cite a just cause that will allow you to collect unemployment, but those reasons can be difficult to prove.
You were fired. If your actions at your job through misconduct or other job performance issues cause you to be fired, then your unemployment insurance claim will probably be turned down. In some states, you can also be fired for misconduct that takes place outside the workplace as well.
Not looking for work. If you are already receiving benefits and you dont report your job hunting activities in a timely fashion, your benefits may be discontinued.
Receiving severance pay. If youre getting severance pay from your employer, then you are receiving income and this may disqualify you from getting unemployment insurance benefits for the duration that the severance pay is in effect.
If you are denied benefits when you file an unemployment insurance claim, you have the right to appeal the decision. You will be given an opportunity to make your case in an attempt to gain benefits you feel you are entitled to.
Unemployment Insurance Relief During Covid
The CARES Act gives states the option of extending unemployment compensation to independent contractors and other workers who are ordinarily ineligible for unemployment benefits. Please contact your states unemployment insurance office at the website or phone number provided below to learn more about the availability of these benefits where you live.
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Are There Resources That Can Help Me Find A Job
Several local and Internet resources can help you find a job. Contact your local unemployment office to see if they can help you apply to jobs in your area or begin your search online at CareerOneStop, the Labor Departments jobs website. There are also several online platforms such as LinkedIn, Indeed, and Monster that you can use to apply to available jobs.
Federal Unemployment Benefits Are Gone Businesses Still Say They Can’t Find Workers
WASHINGTON One of the biggest economic arguments this year was over whether extra unemployment benefits made it impossible for employers to hire.
Republican governors cut the federal compensation early, and Democrats made no effort to keep the benefits in place, even though they didnt agree that the money hurt hiring.
But the past several months have strongly suggested that the extra jobless pay wasnt holding back hiring after all. The federal benefits fully expired early in September and instead of surging, job growth slowed dramatically that month.
Meanwhile, there remain an unprecedented 10 million job openings, and some businesses still complain they cant find workers. Whats going on?
The likeliest explanation is that there is still a pandemic.
Susan Peterson of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, has worked as an adjunct college professor most of her adult life, but in recent years had been working as a substitute teacher. She hasnt set foot in a classroom since March 13, 2020, when the pandemic shut everything down.
Peterson, 79, said she accepted a position teaching English as a second language at a technical college in July, but wound up deferring her September start date on the advice of a doctor who said she should stay out of schools until the delta variant isnt spreading as much.
Its just not worth getting sick.
I like to work, she said. I love my students, but I feel like I should wait till spring. Maybe things will change.
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Are Unemployment Benefits Taxable
Yes and no.
Unemployment benefits are generally taxable. Most states do not withhold taxes from unemployment benefits voluntarily, but you can request they withhold taxes.
But under ARPA, $10,200 of unemployment benefits from 2020 will be tax-free for households with a combined income of less than $150,000 .
That applies to taxpayers filing joint returns, as head of household, or with single status. But the $10,200 exclusion applies separately to each spouse.
If you filed your income taxes before ARPA passed, the Internal Revenue Service will refund any overpayment you may have made related to unemployment benefits.
The IRS says taxpayers will not have to amend their returns or do anything else in order to get the proper adjustment, but stay on top of that. Any refunds should start appearing in May 2021.