- The new $2 trillion stimulus package passed in the Senate Wednesday evening would allow people to claim an extra $600 per week in unemployment benefits for up to four months.
- In January, the average unemployment-insurance check was $385 per week.
- A record 3.3 million people filed jobless claims in the week ending March 21.
- The bill also makes self-employed and contract workers — who typically do not qualify for these benefits — eligible for unemployment benefits for up to 39 weeks.
- The bill must now pass in the House of Representatives before landing on President Donald Trump’s desk to be signed into law.
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The new $2 trillion stimulus package passed in the Senate Wednesday evening would allow people to receive an extra $600 a week in unemployment benefits for up to four months — on top of the amount they get from the state.
That’s a significant boost from the average weekly unemployment-insurance check, which was $385 in January.
The proposed relief package would also provide unemployment benefits to self-employed and contract workers, who typically aren’t eligible, for up to 39 weeks via the new Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program.
The US has already seen a record number of people applying for unemployment benefits as the pandemic results in mass layoffs. Nearly 3.3 million people filed for unemployment insurance for the week ending March 21 spiked to 3,283,000, the Labor Department reported Thursday. That’s the largest number on record for a single week, far outstripping the record of almost 700,000 newly filed claims set in 1982.
The bill would also create a $500 billion pool for struggling companies, up to $150 billion in loans to state and local governments, $367 billion to small businesses, and $100 billion to hospitals and healthcare providers, according to a draft obtained by Business Insider. The package also includes direct payments to lower- and middle-income Americans of up to $1,200 for each adult and $500 for each child under 17.
The bill must now pass in the House of Representatives before going to President Donald Trump’s desk to be signed into law.
The proposed $2 trillion stimulus package is the latest expansion of unemployment benefits in response to the economic upheaval caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
On March 18, Trump signed into law the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which expanded unemployment benefits and gave grants to states for processing and paying unemployment claims.
The federal government also issued guidance to states to allow more flexibility with granting unemployment benefits to employees who can’t go to work because their workplace was shut down, workers who are quarantined, and those who leave work because of a risk of exposure or infection or to care for a family member.
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to file for unemployment benefits if you’re unable to work during the coronavirus pandemic.