Coronavirus and Your Money

$300 Weekly Unemployment Benefits Included in Stimulus Bill

The bill provides temporary expanded relief to the unemployed in the form of additional payments, longer benefit periods, and help for the self-employed.

In addition to a $600 stimulus check, the 5,600-page long stimulus bill President Trump signed on December 27 provides temporary expanded relief to the unemployed.

"This legislation should help prevent a substantial number of individuals from falling over a financial cliff in the coming days and weeks," says Mark Hamrick, senior economic analyst at Bankrate.com. Half of households have taken a hit to income this year, and of those, some 51% believe it will take six months or longer to recover, according to a recent BankRate survey.

How Much?

The stimulus bill provides an additional $300 a week to those who qualify for unemployment insurance in their state. This number is added to the total you receive from your state.

Who Qualifies?

Anyone who qualifies for regular unemployment benefits will also qualify for the expanded unemployment benefits. In most states, this means you have to be unemployed through no fault of your own. But if you don't qualify for unemployment benefits in your state, you may still qualify for the federal government's expanded pandemic unemployment assistance.

What About Self-Employed and Gig Workers?

The bill also extends Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, which provides benefits for people who usually don't qualify for unemployment, including the self-employed and gig workers.

How Long Will the Unemployment Benefits Last?

Payments will extend to March 14, 2021, but you may be able to continue receiving checks through April 5, 2021, if you haven't used the maximum number of weeks available to you. The new legislation also increases the number of weeks of benefits someone may claim from 39 to 50.

(Stay on Top of All the New Stimulus Bill Developments – Sign Up for the Kiplinger Today E-Newsletter. It's FREE!)

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