The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) includes $260 billion for unemployment insurance benefits for those impacted by COVID-19, including increased benefits that will be available for an extended period, and assistance for individuals not traditionally eligible for unemployment benefits. Here is a summary.
Increased Unemployment Compensation Benefits
Unemployed individuals will receive an extra $600 per week in addition to any normal state benefits, through July 31, 2020.
Extended Unemployment Benefits
The Federal government will provide an additional 13 weeks of unemployment benefits through December 31, 2020 to assist those who remain unemployed after their state unemployment benefits are no longer available.
Temporary Full Federal Funding of 1-Week of Benefits for States Waiving Waiting Periods
The Federal government will provide full funding to pay the cost of the first week of unemployment benefits for states that choose to pay individuals as soon as they become unemployed, instead of requiring a 1-week waiting period before individuals are eligible to receive benefits.
Federal Funding for States with Partial Layoff Programs
The Federal government will fund 100% of the cost of state Partial Layoff programs (where employers reduce hours instead of laying off employees). These employees will receive a partial unemployment benefit through December 31, 2020, for such programs available under state law. The Federal government also will fund 50% of state Partial Layoff programs through December 31, 2020, for states that implement these programs.
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance
Individuals not traditionally eligible for unemployment benefits (self-employed, independent contractors and individuals with limited work histories) will be eligible to receive unemployment benefits through December 31,2020, if they are unable to work as a direct result of COVID-19. This program has yet to be fully implemented. More information is expected soon.