The Department of Labor confirmed this week that workers will be entitled to the full 11 weeks of enhanced unemployment benefits laid out in the $900 billion Covid rescue package for periods of joblessness from Dec. 27 through March 14, 2021. Payments for the first week covered in the act, which ends Jan. 2 or 3 depending on the state, will go out early next week.
Previously, lawmakers and labor experts worried President Donald Trump's delay in signing the bill would cut aid for millions of jobless Americans down to 10 weeks, though that is no longer the case.
While some states expect to get new boosted payments out after this weekend, it could take others several weeks to reintroduce new payments to record-level numbers of claimants. With that said, most states are expected to start issuing the $300 boost to workers in the next two to three weeks, writes Andrew Stettner, a senior fellow with The Century Foundation.
Freelancers and gig workers on Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, and those who've exhausted their state aid and moved to Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation, may also have to wait several weeks before they resume aid as states reconfigure their computer systems to administer new payments; however, benefits will be backdated to the signing of the bill. Roughly 13.2 million Americans are currently drawing from one of these two programs, which have also been extended into March 2021.
New $100 boost for mixed earners could take longer to arrive
The latest stimulus package introduces a new $100 weekly enhancement to mixed earners who have both wage income, such as from a W-2 job, and self-employment or independent contractor earnings, like from a 1099 role, but whose benefit calculation may be artificially low by excluding self-employment income.
Mixed earners who earned at least $5,000 in self-employment income last year will qualify and may be drawing from regular state aid, PEUC or Extended Benefits.
So far, states including Florida, Illinois, Minnesota and New York have stated intentions to offer the new Mixed Earner Unemployment Compensation boost, which is in effect until March 14, 2021. States may also choose not to opt in.
With the signing of the stimulus bill, state unemployment offices are now waiting for federal guidance to determine how to administer new benefits to residents. Michele Evermore, a senior policy analyst at the National Employment Law Project, says it's "highly unlikely" states will be able to proactively identify people newly eligible for this benefit. She recommends workers affected by the new policy reach out to their state agencies to find out the process and what documentation they'll need to supply to prove eligibility.
How will the latest $300 weekly unemployment boost impact your household? Are you concerned about federal jobless aid ending in March? CNBC Make It would like to hear from you. Email work reporter Jennifer Liu at firstname.lastname@example.org.