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Coronavirus Relief Stimulus Package: Information About Unemployment Benefits

What You Should Know About the Expanded Program for Unemployment Benefits – Up to $600 Extra Per Week for Eligible Americans

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (a.k.a. CARES Act) was signed into law by President Donald Trump on March 27, 2020.

This historic stimulus package allocates funds for a number of programs – including stimulus checks for many individuals, loan relief for small businesses, and expanded unemployment benefits – among other legislative changes.

This page addresses Frequently Asked Questions about the new expanded program for unemployment benefits that is part of the recent CARES Act.

Who Is Covered By the Expanded Unemployment Benefits Program?

Under the CARES Act, the expanded program covers many more Americans than are typically eligible for unemployment benefits. People who are unemployed, partly unemployed, or can’t work because of reasons related to the Coronavirus are now more likely to get unemployment compensation. With the expanded program, the federal government is providing eligible workers an additional $600 per week on top of extended state benefits.

Self-employed individuals are one of the new groups who can qualify for unemployment benefits under the expanded program. The amount of your benefit will be based on your previous income and the state where you live/work. Additionally, self-employed people are eligible for the additional $600 weekly compensation that’s provided by the federal government.

Part-time workers are eligible for the expanded unemployment benefits plan. The amount of your benefit and how long it will last depends on the state where you live/work. Part-time employees are also eligible for the extra $600/week from the federal government.

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How Much Money Will I Get If I’m Unemployed?

This new program gives qualified jobless individuals an extra $600 per week from the federal government, in addition to their state unemployment benefits. The amount you receive from your state depends on where you live/work. Your state may send you the weekly benefits separately or as a single payment.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, you receive the full $600/week of federal benefits if you are eligible for at least $1 of state or federal unemployment compensation.

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How Long Will the Extra Unemployment Payments Last?

Under the CARES Act, all eligible workers are given an additional 13 weeks on top of whatever existing unemployment benefits are available. For example, if a state already provides 26 weeks of unemployment compensation, a qualified worker in that state is now eligible for 39 weeks total. (Note that the total length of benefits cannot exceed 39 weeks.)

The extra $600 per week from the federal government will last up to 4 months total. The expanded program is available to workers who were/are newly qualified for unemployment benefits for weeks starting on January 27, 2020 and through December 31, 2020.

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Do I Have to Apply to Receive the Extra $600/Week?

You do not have to apply separately for the expanded unemployment program. Your eligibility is based on whether you qualify for state or federal benefits.

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How Does This Affect Existing Unemployment Benefits?

Those who are already getting unemployment benefits from the state (for reasons that are not related to the Coronavirus) are still receiving help too. Individuals in this group are getting their state benefits extended by 13 weeks and they’ll also receive the additional $600 per week from the federal government.

If you have already exhausted your unemployment and your benefits recently ran out, you may be eligible to reapply. The amount you receive and how long the expanded benefits last will vary depending on the state.


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