But many of those who ran out of benefits last year will have to wait for their payments to be returned. Self-employed workers, independent contractors and some people who cannot work due to coronavirus restrictions will have to provide more evidence of employment when submitting new applications or pursuing their claims.
The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program has expanded unemployment benefits to include freelance workers, freelancers, independent contractors, self-employed workers and some people affected by the coronavirus. The Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation Program provided an additional 13 weeks of payments to those who exhausted normal state benefits.
Both programs will close to new applicants on March 14th, but will continue until April 5 for current applicants who have not yet reached the maximum number of weeks.
Implementation has started
About half of the states should be paying $ 300 a week by the end of this week, said Michael Evermore, senior policy analyst for the National Employment Bill. This is in line with expert expectations that it will take two to three weeks for many state agencies to reprogram the new procedures into their systems.
Several states, including New York and California, moved quickly to put parts of the new law into effect. For example, the California Employment Development Administration has paid a total of $ 434 million in enhanced federal payments to more than 1 million claims, as of Tuesday.
About 167,000 unemployed residents received their newly expanded benefits against the pandemic, the Georgia state agency said, and nearly 300,000 unemployed students had received an additional $ 300, as of early January.
However, the more than 239,000 Georgians who exhausted the benefits of the pandemic on or before December 26 will have to wait a few more weeks for the start of the 11-week extension, although the payments will be retroactive.
“We are paying as quickly as possible,” said agency spokeswoman Kersha Cartwright.
In other countries, residents are unemployed You are not yet getting the benefits in this relief package.
For example, detained Ohio citizens cannot file new applications for epidemic unemployment assistance or ongoing weekly claims at this time. The state’s Department of Labor and Family Services expects those who have already been approved to be able to submit applications by the third week of January. And it expects to start releasing the $ 300 feature by then as well.
New requirements for some files
The latest relief package requires those seeking benefits for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance to submit additional paperwork proving that they have a job or are self-employed.
In the past year, state agencies could simply accept testimonials from claimants about their work and income. But lawmakers tightened the rules in part because the program, which opened the unemployment system to many Americans who were not eligible at all, was facing widespread fraud.
Unemployed persons who apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance benefits before January 31 and receive payments on or after December 27 must submit documents to their government agency within 90 days, according to the US Department of Labor. Those who file a new application on or after January 31 must submit papers within 21 days.
The agency said proof of employment could include salary slips, W-2 tax forms, or earnings statements, while proof of self-employment could include federal employer identification numbers, work licenses, tax returns, or business receipts.
Oregon, for example, is still awaiting more information about the required new documents, among other program changes. The state agency doesn’t know yet when it will start sending out payments to people with new epidemic unemployment claims or to those whose benefits ran out last year.
Evermore said states have some flexibility in documentation requirements and deadlines. However, this disparity can widen between countries, with some setting strict guidelines and others less.
Cartwright said the Georgia state agency was still determining the best way for the unemployed to meet documentation requirements. She said the new rules place too much of a burden on state agencies to collect and verify paperwork.
“It’ll slow everything down for everyone,” said Evermore.