But many whose benefits ran out last year will have to wait for their payments to restart. And in freelance practice, independent contractors and certain people who cannot work due to coronavirus restrictions will have to provide more evidence of work when submitting new applications or continuing their claims.
The Pandemic Unemployment Support Program has expanded unemployment benefits for freelancers, freelancers, independent contractors, the self-employed and some people affected by the coronavirus. The Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation Program provided an additional 13 weekly payments to those who deplete their regular state aid.
Both programs will be closed to new applicants on March 1
Implementation has begun
About half of the states have to pay $ 300 a week by the end of this week, said Michele Evermore, a senior political analyst at the National Labor Law Project. This is in line with experts’ prediction that many government agencies will take two to three weeks to reprogram new measures in their systems.
Several states, including New York and California, have moved quickly to implement parts of the new law. For example, the California Department of Employment Development paid a total of $ 434 million in enhanced federal payments to more than 1 million plaintiffs as of Tuesday.
In Georgia, nearly 167,000 unemployed received their new expanded pandemic benefits, and nearly 300,000 unemployed applicants received the additional $ 300 in early January, the state agency said.
More than 239,000 Georgians who exhausted pandemic benefits on or before December 26 will have to wait a few more weeks to begin the 11-week extension, although payments will be retroactive.
“We are pushing as fast as we can,” said Kersha Cartwright, a spokeswoman for the agency.
In other states, unemployed residents have not yet received the benefits in the relief package.
Ohio’s laid-off residents, for example, are currently unable to file new applications for pandemic unemployment benefits or ongoing weekly claims. The State Department of Employment and Family Services expects those already approved to be able to submit documents by the third week of January. And he expects to start issuing $ 300 in compensation by then.
New requirements for some files
The latest relief package requires those seeking unemployment benefits in the event of a pandemic to provide additional documents proving that they had a job or were self-employed.
Last year, government agencies could simply accept attestations from plaintiffs about their employment and income. But lawmakers tightened the rules in part because the program, which opened up the unemployment system to many Americans who were never eligible, is battling widespread fraud.
Unemployed people who apply for pandemic unemployment benefits before Jan. 31 and receive payment on or after Dec. 27 must provide documentation to their state agency within 90 days, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Those who submit a new application on or after 31 January must submit the documents within 21 days.
Proof of employment may include payrolls, W-2 tax forms or income tax returns, while proof of self-employment may include federal employer identification numbers, business licenses, tax returns or business receipts, the agency said.
For example, Oregon is still waiting for more information on the new required documentation, among other changes to the program. The state agency still does not know when it will start sending payments to people with new claims for an unemployment pandemic or to those whose benefits expired last year.
States have some flexibility in documentation requirements and deadlines, Evermore said. However, this may increase disparities between countries, with some introducing strict guidelines and others less.
In Georgia, the state agency is still determining the best way for the unemployed to meet documentation requirements, Cartwright said. The new rules place a heavy burden on state agencies to both collect and verify documents, she said.
“It will slow everything down for everyone,” Evermore said.