Millions to lose federal unemployment benefits and $300 bonus before Labor Day. What to know

Federal funding for prolonged unemployment benefits ends Labor Day. 

Sarah Tew/CNET

Enhanced pandemic unemployment benefits, which embrace $300 weekly bonus checks in addition to protection for freelancers and the long-term unemployed, are nearing their formal finish date, with most lower off Labor Day weekend. Over 11 million individuals can be affected, with round 7.5 million losing benefits entirely. Some two dozen states selected to pull the plug on federal help in the course of the summer season, with governors claiming that the additional unemployment insurance coverage was disincentivizing residents from taking out there jobs. 

Out-of-work residents in not less than 12 states, together with most lately in Florida, have taken authorized motion to attempt to get that pandemic aid help reinstated, arguing that they have been unable to pay primary bills, together with lease. With unemployment claims nonetheless fluctuating because the economic system struggles to return to pre-pandemic “normalcy,” stories are exhibiting that the early cancellation of the federal applications had little impact on labor markets. Meanwhile, the uptick in new delta-variant COVID-19 circumstances might imply new quarantine restrictions and, consequently, extra layoffs. 

So who can be shedding all protection? Could enhanced pandemic benefits be restored after September? What can people do in the event that they want unemployment checks to make ends meet? We’ll clarify beneath. You may also need to know concerning the IRS issuing refunds to those that have been taxed on their 2020 unemployment benefits. And here is an necessary primer on the 2021 enhanced child tax credit, which is providing hundreds of thousands of households extra cash prematurely of subsequent yr’s taxes. 

Which jobless applications are ending Labor Day weekend? 

At the very begin of the pandemic, the March 2020 CARES Act established new non permanent federal unemployment help applications. The first was Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, the weekly bonus — $600 per week at first, and later $300 per week — that helped out-of-work Americans complement their benefits and get well a few of their misplaced wages. The different was Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, which lined self-employed staff and freelancers not sometimes eligible for help. Another was Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation, which prolonged help to those that exhausted their state’s benefits interval (normally 26 weeks). 

A later stimulus package deal created one other program referred to as Mixed Earners Unemployment Compensation, which supplied $100 per week additional for these staff whose labor was cut up between being an worker and an unbiased contractor. 

The American Rescue Plan in March 2021 prolonged these 4 applications to final till Labor Day, which continues to be the formal expiration date. Since Sept. 6 falls on a Monday, some recipients will solely have the option to declare them by way of Sept. 4. There is not any grace interval. 

How many will lose all benefits or $300 bonus checks? 

More than 3 million people who get the weekly bonus to their state unemployment benefits by way of FPUC can be affected. If they’re nonetheless eligible to gather state unemployment insurance coverage (in the event that they have not but exhausted their most length), they’re going to proceed to obtain some compensation after Labor Day, however they’re going to lose the weekly $300 complement. 

In addition, round 7.5 million individuals can be lower off from help fully when the non permanent pandemic unemployment applications expire. This is taken into account the most important cutoff of unemployment benefits in US historical past. Here’s the way it breaks down in accordance to an in depth evaluation of Labor Department information by The Century Foundation

  • 4.2 million individuals lined by PUA: This class consists of staff who don’t qualify for any type of federal or state unemployment compensation. It covers freelancers, gig staff, unbiased contractors and part-time staff. During the pandemic, this system additionally supported those that could not work as a result of they have been caring for a dependent. 
  • 3.3 million individuals lined by PEUC: This class consists of staff who would have now not been eligible to obtain unemployment as a result of they handed their state’s profit window (most present 26 weeks, with some granting as few as 12 weeks and others as many as 30 weeks). The program supplied up to 53 weeks of further help for individuals who exceeded state allowances.

That’s not the complete image of everybody affected by unemployment. Reported jobless charges usually do not account for individuals who have left the labor pressure fully and are now not counted as in search of work, such because the long-term unemployed. Those at a significant drawback are staff in frontline industries, particularly Black staff, whose present unemployment fee is around 10%. Also, women have been particularly hit (PDF) by COVID-related job losses, and have been closely chargeable for caring for kids or members of the family in the course of the pandemic. 

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Which states cut off benefits early and where are they being reinstated? 

Citing labor shortages, 26 state governors said pandemic-related unemployment benefits were producing limited incentives for workers to take jobs. Many economists and analysts disagreed, highlighting how several factors have prevented people from finding suitable work, including low wages, lack of child care and fear of contracting COVID-19. 

According to an August report by The Century Foundation’s Andrew Stettner, “Politics, not economics, drove the attack on unemployment insurance.” A recent JP Morgan Chase Institute study (PDF) confirmed that in states that prematurely ended supplemental unemployment insurance programs, there’s little indication that their labor markets improved afterward.

The states that cut off the enhanced benefits in June and July, before the federal expiration, were Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming. 

Arkansas, Indiana and Maryland were slated to cut off benefits early, but successful lawsuits forced those states to preserve the federal coverage, at least temporarily. In issuing their rulings, judges noted that the ending of benefits made it harder for the unemployed to afford basic needs. Lawsuits were also filed against state governors elsewhere, like in Florida, Oklahoma and Tennessee, but those cases are still held up in the courts. Similar lawsuits to restore aid in Louisiana, Ohio and West Virginia were denied by judges.

Some states, including Arizona, Montana and New Hampshire, started offering financial incentives for individuals to find work. Other states, such as Colorado and Connecticut, continued the unemployment programs but offered their own new-job bonuses. Since each state has different requirements, check to see if there are signing bonuses where you live.


With the economy still recovering, the end of pandemic unemployment can feel like a trap for millions without an income. 

Sarah Tew/CNET

Could pandemic benefits be extended again?

White House officials have indicated they will not continue the enhanced jobless benefits past September, saying they were intended to be temporary. When states began pulling out of pandemic-era unemployment programs, Labor Department officials said their hands were tied and that they couldn’t counter decisions by governors. 

According to an Aug. 19 letter by Labor and Treasury Department officials, states can use $350 billion of pandemic funds that Congress allocated in the American Rescue Plan to continue paying unemployed workers. The letter says that in areas where unemployment remains high, “it may make sense for unemployed workers to continue receiving additional assistance for a longer period of time,” which would allow those individuals to find a job. It’s not clear at this time which states will choose to use any leftover pandemic funds to continue jobless benefits.

Can you still apply for unemployment insurance? 

If you’ve been laid off or furloughed, you can apply for unemployment benefits in your state. Once the state approves your claim, you can apply to receive whatever state benefits you’re entitled to. Because states cover 30% to 50% of a person’s wages, there isn’t a single sum you could expect on a national basis. Each state’s unemployment insurance office provides information to file a claim with the program in the state where you worked. Some claims may be filed in person, by phone or online, so it’s best to contact your state’s office directly.

Eligibility criteria vary from state to state, but the general rule is that you should apply if you’ve lost your job or been laid off through no fault of your own, including if it was due directly or indirectly to the pandemic. You can check on your state’s requirements here. In February, the Department of Labor updated its unemployment eligibility requirements to include people who refused to return to work due to unsafe coronavirus standards.

As for self-employed workers and freelancers who are losing PUA coverage, some online groups are calling to extend pandemic unemployment programs through the crisis and offer more information. 

We’ll continue to update this story as we receive more information. 

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