US Coronavirus Relief Bill: What You Need To Know About Unemployment Benefits

The United States will launch a $2-trillion relief bill to address the economic downfall it is currently experiencing due to the coronavirus pandemic. This particular bill will provide a myriad of unemployment benefits to Americans who have become jobless in recent weeks.

The legislation is currently at the desk of the United States President Donald Trump for his signature. It was passed on Friday in the House, which received significant support from both the Democrats and Republicans. The need to help those who have been unemployed by the virus is quite excessive, after all.

Here are some of the things that you need to know about this bill.

US Coronavirus Relief Bill: What You Need To Know About It


What Does It Do?

The bill, which is officially known as the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, is legislation that extends the current unemployment insurance of the country. The latter was initiated in 1935 to give financial aid for those individuals who have lost their jobs at that time. 

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act has three functions to perform. First, it provides bigger checks for unemployment insurance. Second, it extends the duration of those insurances. Third, it expands the unemployment benefits to those groups that were originally not qualified for these insurances (e.g., freelancers and gig workers)

How Much Is The Increase Of The Benefits?

Once this legislation takes into effect, it will provide thirteen weeks of unemployment insurance. That’s roughly three months. The funding will come from the federal government. The bill will also provide an extra $600 per week for four months straight. 

This amount is an addition to the current unemployment benefits that are being given by other states which have their respective insurance programs for the jobless. These expanded benefits are expected to last up to December 2020.

How Much Unemployment Benefit Can You Get?

There are several things that can determine the number of unemployment benefits that you can get. This includes the state you are in and your previous income. 

Most states do base the payments they give on the four quarters of the salary of a worker before he/ she becomes unemployed. Just this January 2020, the state programs have given $385 per week in average to their respective jobless workers. This data came from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. 

The new economic bill will restrict the duration of unemployment benefits to 10 months maximum–or around 39 weeks. In short, the legislation would enable a regular worker to receive at least $985 every week for four months. There is a $600 additional relief plus the extra benefits given by the state. It will be followed by a $385-per-week standard state subsidy for 23 weeks. Keep in mind that these unemployment benefits are all taxable. 

Also, don’t forget that these state benefits do vary. You might need to check what your state offers. Some states are considered to be more generous than others. 

Who Are Qualified For These Benefits?

Those who have been laid off by their employers are eligible to get these unemployment benefits. Furloughed individuals are also qualified here. They are on temporary layoff, and those who are in this status are eligible to get these insurances. 

Furthermore, this legislation provides benefits for those people who are previously not eligible for these unemployment benefits. They are the self-employed, part-time workers, people who cannot go to their respective workplaces due to the COVID-19, and those who have an inadequate work history. If you belong to these categories, you can qualify for these economic reliefs.

Of course, the bill qualifies those who left their jobs intentionally due to the threat of the COVID-19. 

Can Gig Workers Qualify?

Yes. This bill qualifies gig workers to receive unemployment checks. Therefore, those who are working under Lyft and Uber will get happy about this. They are independent contractors, after all. In the standard unemployment benefits, they would not really qualify. But with this special bill in place, they can get the same benefits as those salaried workers.

It is the job of the Labor Department to create the guidelines that these gig workers could follow. For instance, documentation requirements (e.g. work history, proof of wages) should become mandatory.