SPOKANE, Wash. — States throughout the country, including Washington and Idaho, are beginning to implement the enhancement of unemployment benefits included in the $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief package.
The package includes an extra $600 per week in unemployment benefits for up to four months.
The extra benefits are now available in both Washington and Idaho, according to the states' unemployment offices.
Expanded federal benefits also include those who are self-employed or part of the gig economy. Those benefits are already available in Washington, while Idaho residents are still waiting.
Here's what you should know.
Benefits in Idaho
The Idaho Department of Labor announced on Friday that it has begun making payments for the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program, which provides an extra $600 per week.
Department of Labor officials said it would take approximately three business days for unemployed workers to see the funds in their bank accounts or debit cards once they have been issued, according to the Department of Labor.
The payments are retroactive to March 29 or the first week the individual received benefits, whichever is later. The payment will be delivered in one lump sum.
People currently filing or receiving benefits under regular unemployment insurance program already qualify for the additional funds and do not need to take further action. However, unemployed workers should continue to file weekly claims.
Unemployed workers with pending issues preventing payment will not receive the extra $600 until the issues are resolved and they are allowed benefits.
Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation also allows for an additional 13 weeks of benefits added to the end of regular unemployment benefits, according to the Idaho Department of Labor. This program is also federally funded, retroactive to March 29, 2020, and ends on Dec. 26, 2020.
Unemployed workers who have already exhausted their unemployment benefits can now apply for expanded benefits, the Idaho Department of Labor said on Thursday.
Those who are self-employed, contract employees, members of the gig economy, or those not ordinarily eligible for benefits in Idaho are still waiting for unemployment benefits. Department of Labor leaders say payments are expected to begin in mid-May.
The minimum payment amount for individuals will be $168 per week, while the maximum payment will be $448 per week.
Benefits in Washington
Washington state has enabled CARES Act provisions. That means unemployed workers in Washington should already see an extra $600 show up in their checks.
People currently filing or receiving benefits under the regular unemployment insurance program already qualify for the additional funds.
Recipients will receive retroactive payments from the time the legislation went into effect on March 29 for both the weekly benefit amount and the additional $600 per week.
The extra $600 will only last through July 25 if Congress does not extend the program. Unemployed workers will then receive just the state benefits or equivalent federal benefits.
The Employment Security Department has also rolled out updates that open up unemployment benefits to those who hadn't qualified before and raising the weekly benefit amount.
The three main changes are:
- Independent contractors, self-employed workers, and those with fewer than 680 hours worked in the previous year.
- It will increase the weekly benefit by $600 for anybody on unemployment insurance.
- The expansion and extension of benefits from 26 to 39 weeks if people need it.
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