$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.

picture of magnified computer keyboard button that says "unemployment benefits"
(Image credit: Getty Images)

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.

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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.

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Emma Patch
Staff Writer, Kiplinger's Personal Finance

Emma Patch joined Kiplinger in 2020. She previously interned for Kiplinger's Retirement Report and before that, for a boutique investment firm in New York City. She served as editor-at-large and features editor for Middlebury College's student newspaper, The Campus. She specializes in travel, student debt and a number of other personal finance topics. Born in London, Emma grew up in Connecticut and now lives in Washington, D.C.