Social Security and Unemployment Benefits Relating to Coronavirus
As we continue into the fall with many families still facing financial hardship as a result of the ongoing pandemic, here is a list of unemployment benefits related to coronavirus that are available to workers. These benefits are for those who have lost their jobs, those who have lost hours on their job, or those who are infected with coronavirus or are essential to family members who have contracted the virus.
The first major unemployment relief allocation was a $600 weekly check starting in April of 2020 for many laid off work. Individual states may have added to this unemployment benefit. Here is the information on this allocation of the federal CARES ACT (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act) passed in late March 2020. More than 31,000,000 people in the U.S. received this aid which came to an end on July 31st, 2020. More benefits were offered by state unemployment offices and here is more information on state benefits or PEUC: https://www.justia.com/covid-19/50-state-covid-19-resources/coronavirus-and-unemployment-benefits-50-state-resources/.
Another resource for financial help is available for certain workers who have run out of aid or are ineligible for existing programs or are coping with the virus themselves or as caretakers. This is called Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Assistance (PEUA) and is part of the CARES Act. You can learn more about this here. This too is running out of funds. Read more about PEUA at https://www.uc.pa.gov/COVID-19/CARES-Act/Pages/PEUC-FAQs.aspx/.
Also, on March 18, 2020, President Trump signed into law the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), which provided additional flexibility for state unemployment insurance agencies and additional administrative funding to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was signed into law on March 27,2020. This expands states’ ability to provide unemployment insurance to workers impacted by the virus. Here’s more information: https://www.justia.com/covid-19/50-state-covid-19-resources/coronavirus-and-unemployment-benefits-50-state-resources/.
A week or after the $600 weekly payment ended, President Trump allocated $300 weekly from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to be administered through individual state unemployment programs. FEMA has no more money to fund unemployment as of the end of August 2020. Many families are left with about $400 weekly.
In August 2020, 8.4 percent (13.6 million) of U.S. workers were unemployed. It is not clear that these people now have access to sufficient unemployment benefits or whether they have any at all. Some State payments run out after 26 weeks from the date they are first awarded. It’s pretty clear that many unemployed workers need money for rent, health care, and food today or in the near future.
For unemployment questions, please visit https://www.nelp.org/faq-unemployment-questions/ for more information.
The Senate and House of Representatives in D.C. have passed bills to remedy the need for benefits and these bills remain in consideration by a joint committee. The Senate Republicans want a small relief bill, and the Democrats a larger more helpful one. The President stepped up to the plate in July and says he will again. We’ll see.
TAKE ACTION: Please make your voice heard by calling your Senators TODAY – (888) 496-3502.