A look at who is and isn’t eligible for the $300 increase in weekly unemployment benefits squib

  • A $300 increase in weekly unemployment benefits was recently approved by FEMA. To date, 47 states have been approved to dole out the increase in funds.
  • One group not eligible for the increase are individuals who already earn less than $100 in weekly unemployment benefits.
  • While the U.S. economy has recovered in some respects, the unemployment rate is still incredibly high across the country.

In response to the ongoing economic turmoil caused by the coronavirus, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) last month approved a $300 increase in weekly unemployment benefits. The increase comes at a crucial time for two reasons. One, millions of Americans are still unemployed and struggling to find work. And two, the $600 increase in unemployment benefits that was part of Congress' historic $2 trillion stimulus package back in March was phased out on July 31. While the $600 increase was available to anyone eligible for unemployment, the $300 increase backed by FEMA operates a little bit differently. In order to receive the $300 bump, you must reside in a state that applied for and was approved for the funding. To date, 47 states have been approved for funding. As for the other three states, South Dakota has indicated it has no plan to apply while Nebraska and Nevada are still waiting for approval. It's also worth mentioning that a small group of people already receiving unemployment may not be eligible for the weekly $300 bump. Specifically, eligible recipients must qualify for at least $100 per week in unemployment in order to receive the $300 increase. The New York Times reports:
Only people who qualify for at least $100 per week in unemployment benefits — either through the regular state program or a federal pandemic assistance program — are eligible for the extra federal funds. In Colorado, for example, roughly 28,000 people, or about 6 percent currently receiving unemployment pay, will not receive the new benefit, said Cher Haavind, deputy executive director of the state Department of Labor.
As a simple example, imagine you have no earnings and live in a state that pays out $400/week in unemployment. That's $400/week in benefits you're entitled to.  Now imagine you have a side job that nets you $200/week. In that scenario, because you have earnings, your weekly unemployment benefits would decrease by $200. Taking it one step further, if you have a side job that nets you $301/week, you'd be completely ineligible for the $300 increase because your weekly unemployment would be $99 and just below the $100 threshold. If you are eligible, the payments will be retroactive going back to August 1. In other words, if you were unemployed throughout August and just picked up a job at the start of this month, you'd still be eligible for an additional $1200 in unemployment benefits. The payouts are expected to remain in place for three to five weeks. At that point, FEMA will re-evaluate which states are in need of additional funding. A list highlighting when payments are slated to begin on a state-by-state basis can be viewed below: Alabama – payment already started Alaska – late October Arizona – payment already started Arkansas – release date hasn’t been set yet California – payment started on September 7 Colorado – mid-September Connecticut – mid-September Delaware – date hasn’t been set yet Florida – payment started on September 11 Georgia – mid-September Hawaii – a bonus payment will be sent out, but no date has been set for the weekly $300 increase Idaho – payment already started Illinois – a bonus payment of $300 was sent out, but a date for weekly payouts hasn’t been set yet. Indiana – mid to late September Iowa – payment started in early September Kansas – late September at the earliest Kentucky – September Louisiana – payments started in August Maine – mid to late September Maryland – late September Massachusetts – payments already started Michigan – payments already started Minnesota – payments began in early September Mississippi – mid to late September Missouri – payment began in late August Montana – payment began in August New Hampshire – payment already started  New Jersey – October New Mexico – mid-September New York – date not set yet North Carolina – payment already started North Dakota – mid-September Ohio – mid to late September Oklahoma – mid to late September Oregon – date not set yet Pennsylvania – mid-September Rhode Island – September 12 South Carolina – mid to late September Tennessee – payment already started Texas payment already started Utah – mid-September Vermont – mid-September Virginia – September 30 Washington – late September West Virginia – no date set yet Wisconsin – November Wyoming – no date set yet
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