Several states say they are moving quickly to restore federal unemployment benefits that lapsed last month when President Trump delayed signing a second round of federal pandemic relief.
A handful, including New York, Texas, Maryland and California, say they have started sending out the weekly $300 supplement that was part of the legislation, while others like Ohio say they are awaiting more guidance from the U.S. Labor Department.
Michele Evermore, a senior policy analyst at the National Employment Law Project, said that “at least half of the states should have something up by next week.”
Congress approved 11 weeks of additional benefits, and the entire amount will ultimately be delivered to eligible workers even if payments are initially delayed.
“Any claims for the first week will be backdated,” said James Bernsen, deputy director of communications at the Texas Workforce Commission.
In addition to a $300-a-week supplement for those receiving unemployment benefits, the $900 billion emergency relief package renews two other jobless programs created last March as part of the CARES Act.
One, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, covers freelancers, part-time hires, seasonal workers and others who do not normally qualify for state unemployment benefits. A second, Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation, extends benefits for workers who have exhausted their state allotment.
This latest round also offers additional assistance for people who cobble together their income by combining a salaried job with freelance gigs. The new program, called Mixed Earner Unemployment Compensation, provides a $100 weekly payment to such workers in addition to their Pandemic Unemployment Assistance benefits.