Are There Other Relief Programs Available
Enhanced unemployment benefits are no longer available, but there are other COVID-19 relief programs that you can lean on right now for help.
- Ask your mortgage lender about COVID-19 forbearance if you own a home and cant cover your mortgage payments. The deadline to apply is Sept. 30.
- If youre struggling to pay rent, start a dialogue with your landlord and check out these rent-relief resources. Some states are still offering utility assistance, too.
- Student loan payments and interest are on pause through Jan. 31. Take advantage of these upcoming months to save any money that typically goes toward your student loans.
- If youre struggling to cover the cost of child care, you may get assistance through local and state programs.
- If you cant afford groceries, you may be able to qualify for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program , which is commonly referred to as food stamps. There are also food assistance programs specific to children, women, and seniors.
- Talk to your credit card issuers and lenders to see if you can lower your interest rate, settle your debt, or qualify for any pandemic-related relief or forbearance programs.
- You may qualify to receive Child Tax Credit payments of up to $3,600 per eligible child. Theyre intended to help parents cover the costs of raising children, but there are no restrictions on what families can do with the money. If you qualify, our favorite personal finance experts who also happen to be parents shared six ways to best use the credit.
Certify For Your Remaining Benefits
Eligibility for PUA and PEUC officially ended on Sept. 6. But if you believe you qualify for either program and never filed a claim, or missed a week of certification, you still have time to submit your information.
States have a 30-day window after the expiration of PUA or PEUC to accept new applications for weeks workers are entitled, says Alexa Tapia, the UI campaign coordinator for the National Employment Law Project.
Though Congress has made no moves to extend pandemic UI, some advocates have suggested those on PUA and PEUC continue to certify in the event the programs are renewed, as they have been in the past. Tapia doesn’t recommend this, however, and says workers most likely won’t even have the ability to do so on state UI websites.
“The only option certain workers those who are normally eligible for UI may have is to check to see if they have a new benefit year if they worked at all during the past year,” Tapia tells CNBC Make It. “Currently, Congress has strongly indicated that they will not renew these programs. If they did, retroactivity would be something they would decide.”
Long-term unemployed workers who lost PEUC in some states may be eligible for continued aid by moving over to Extended Benefits, EB, a federally funded aid program that kicks in depending on their state’s unemployment rate. California, Illinois, Nevada and Texas will end their EB programs after Sept. 11.
Can I Still Apply For Unemployment Insurance
Each state handles and regulates its unemployment benefits differently, so whether or not you qualify for unemployment will depend on a variety of factors in your state. According to the Department of Labor, there are three general criteria to be eligible for unemployment benefits:
- Youre unemployed through no fault of your own. In most states, this means you can only receive unemployment benefits if theres a lack of available work not if you voluntarily quit or are fired from your job.
- You have to meet hour and/or wage requirements. Each state has its own guidelines for the amount wages earned or hours worked before you can qualify for unemployment.
- You meet any additional requirements in your state. Additional unemployment requirements can vary significantly depending on where you live.
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Federal Benefit Programs Ending In September
Three federal benefit programs will end on September 4, 2021:
- Pandemic Unemployment Assistance
- Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation
- $300 per week supplemental payments under the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program
No payments can made under these programs for the week beginning September 5, 2021, or any week afterward.
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.
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Biden Stimulus Package Unemployment Extensions
Congress and President Biden have now passed into law the $2 trillion stimulus package, also known as the American Rescue Plan . It includes further unemployment program extensions until September 6th, 2021 for the PUA, PEUC and FPUC programs originally funded under the CARES act in 2020 and then extended via the CAA COVID Relief Bill. The need for another unemployment stimulus was reinforced by the prevailing high unemployment situation in many parts of the country due to the ongoing COVID related economic fallout.
Unemployment Benefit Extensions Per DOL Guidelines
The initial Biden stimulus package passed in the House included a $400 FPUC extra weekly payment but in order to get all Democrats in the Senate onboard it had to be cut back to $300 p/week. This amount is the same as the $300 weekly supplement approved under the CAA COVID relief bill was funded until March 14th, 2021 but will now be extended through to week ending September 4th, 2021. This provides another 25 weekly payments for a maximum of $7,500.
The $300 weekly FPUC payment lines up with the programs. Claimants should be able to rollover remaining weeks from the CAA funded extensions to the extended Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation programs. You can see a graphical representation of the past, current and proposed enhanced unemployment program extensions in the diagram below. See a full review of DOL guidelines this article.
How Many People Lost Their Jobless Benefits
Its estimated around 7.5 million people have been cut off from aid, and more than three million people who get the weekly $300 bonus to their state unemployment benefits have been affected. That brings the total number of people affected by the Sept. 6 expiration date to almost 11 million.
In addition to that, August was an underwhelming month for job growth, with the economy adding just 235,000 positions, the Labor Department reported Friday. Economists polled by Bloomberg predicted 725,000 new hires for August, while a separate Reuters survey had economists predicting 728,000. Still, the unemployment rate is on a steady if slow decline, dropping from 5.4% to 5.2%.
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I Cannot Get Ahold Of Anyone When I Call For Help
Despite dedicated phone lines for PUA claims many readers are reporting it is nearly impossible to get a hold of a live person to speak to at their state UI agency regarding their unemployment claim. You can see the comments below for some ideas to try, but generally will take a lot of patience and calling in off hours to get through. Because of the pandemic and record high call volumes, you may need to try alternative methods like social media or going via your state congressional leaders to try and expedite your claim.
Does Extra Aid Keep Workers On Sidelines
To be sure, the new pandemic aid programs especially the additional $300 in weekly benefits have sparked debate among business owners and economists about whether the expanded safety net programs are keeping workers on the sidelines as many companies are scrambling to hire.
Yet early data from some of the 26 states that cut off aid in June or July weeks before the September 6 expiration date are providing evidence that, so far, the additional benefits haven’t hurt job growth. The dozen states that were the first to cut pandemic jobless benefits have experienced hiring growth on par with states that kept the federal benefits, according to a recent Gusto analysis of hiring at small and mid-sized businesses.
Concerns about getting or spreading COVID-19 as well as struggles to secure child care could be holding back workers, not the expanded unemployment payments, economists say. For instance, Gusto found that most of the job growth among the states that cut aid early stemmed from places with the highest vaccination rates, while those with low vaccination rates experienced meager job growth.
The big concern, according to NELP’s Gerry, is that millions of unemployed workers are losing support just as the Delta variant is spreading, raising questions about the economic recovery and a potential rise in hardship among workers who had been on PUA.
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Who Is Eligible For Pandemic Unemployment Assistance
The PUA program covers a range of non-traditional workers, including:
- Independent contractors
- Self-employed workers
In many states, the program includes gig workers who arent considered traditional employees. The program also extends to those who are seeking work on a part-time basis and those who lack sufficient work history to qualify for state unemployment benefits.
In terms of who isnt eligible for this program, you cant claim benefits if:
- You qualify for regular state unemployment benefits
- Youre able to work from home
- Youre receiving paid sick days or paid leave
Workers also have to be authorized to work in the U.S., so this program doesnt extend benefits to undocumented individuals.
Will Pandemic Unemployment Benefits Be Extended
The March 2020 CARES Act established three new federal unemployment aid programs: Pandemic Unemployment Assistance , which covers those not traditionally eligible for aid, including freelancers and gig workers Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation , which extends aid to those who’ve exhausted their state’s benefits period, which averages around 26 weeks and Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation , a $600 weekly boost that was reduced to $300 per week to help people recover more of their lost wages.
The March 2021 American Rescue Plan Act extended these benefits to Labor Day. But policy analysts were concerned the date was chosen without consideration to what the state of the virus would be in the U.S. at that time.
Now, “exactly what advocates feared would happen with the last extension to September 6 is now happening,” Jenna Jerry, a senior staff attorney with the National Employment Law Project, tells CNBC Make It. “We knew Covid wouldn’t be over. And it’s not. With the delta variant rising and places going back to having mask mandates, we’re taking steps backwards and ending aid when people continue to need and rely on them.”
The public health crisis could “make people think twice about this cutoff of benefits,” says Andrew Stettner, a senior fellow at The Century Foundation.
However, “people are holding out hope for that extension, but to be honest, there’s not a lot of political momentum behind it right now.”
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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.
Taxes On Unemployment Income
Due to the pandemic, Ohioans who earned less than $150,000 do no have to pay state or federal income tax on the first $10,200 in unemployment income they received in 2020. Here’s how to get these tax benefits:
Federal income tax
If you haven’t filed your taxes yet:
- On the standard federal 1040 form, you will list the full amount of unemployment benefits you received on line 7 titled “capital gain or ,” according to the IRS.
- This total is listed on a 1099-G form you received. Because of potential unemployment fraud, you should check that that number matches what you actually got.
- Then, you list the amount you can exclude on line 8 titled “other income” as a negative amount . For example, if you received $12,000 in unemployment, you would list here, because that is the maximum amount you can exclude from income taxes.
- Check out the IRS’s free file resources to take advantage of free filing options.
If you have already filed your taxes:
State income tax
If you haven’t filed your taxes yet:
- You do not need to list unemployment benefits on state tax forms because they will be accounted for in your federal adjusted gross income.
If you have already filed your taxes:
- You do need to file an amended return for state income tax and school district income tax. Make sure you check the box for an amended return and provide a reason: your federal adjusted gross income decreased.
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Were Pua And Unemployment Insurance The Same Thing
No, the PUA and UI programs were different. To qualify for PUA, the worker couldn’t be eligible for UI. Although they were different programs, the intention of both programs was the same: to provide financial support to unemployed workers. In the case of PUA, the program was introduced specifically in response to the COVID-19 pandemic because traditional UI programs did not provide adequate support for those working outside of permanent full-time jobs.
Federal Unemployment Benefits Are Gone Businesses Still Say They Cant 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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Biden Stimulus Pua Extensions To September 6th 2021
The PUA program, designed for freelancers, gig workers and independent contractors or those that generally dont qualify for regular state unemployment has been extended by another 29 weeks under the Biden Stimulus Plan that has been passed into law.
Under the enhanced unemployment funding extensions the total number of covered weeks in the PUA program will increase to 79. This does not include extra weeks some states provided for residents under this program and would be reduced by any weeks of regular UC and EB that the individual receives during the coverage period. You can see an overview of the federal extensions to date, including PUA, in the diagram below.
The minimum PUA payment is still 50% of a states average weekly benefit amount and limited to the states maximum weekly benefit amount . Another change to the earlier PUA extension is that that the 4-week phaseout period for active claimants has been removed. So all benefits will end by September 6th, even if claimants have a claim balance remaining.
Those who had regular/W2 jobs could technically qualify for the PUA program, but would need to first use up their allocation of regular state unemployment, extended benefits and enhanced unemployment benefits under the PEUC program.
Do I need to reapply or submit a new claim to get the PUA extension?