Congress extended unemployment benefits for millions of out-of-work Americans by 11 weeks with the passage of the $900 billion coronavirus relief package -- but some laid-off workers will be eligible to aid longer.
Continue Reading Below
Under the $900 billion aid package that Congress passed at the end of December, which included $120 billion for jobless benefits, unemployed Americans will receive an extra $300 per week in federal unemployment aid for 11 weeks, through March 14.
The bill also expanded unemployment benefits to self-employed individuals, gig workers and those who have exhausted their state benefits by extending CARES Act programs, including the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), a program created to provide jobless benefits to gig workers and others typically not eligible for benefits, and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program, which will extend the maximum number of weeks that aid is available from 39 weeks to 50 weeks.
But some Americans can receive assistance for another month during a so-called "phaseout period" that ends April 10 or April 11, depending on the state.
If claimants have not exhausted the 50 weeks of benefits they're eligible to use by March 13, they may continue to receive benefits -- though they won't receive the extra $300 a week. Workers who began receiving jobless aid in the early weeks of the pandemic will hit the 50-week threshold around mid-March.
Both programs were set to expire on Dec. 26 before Congress extended them.
Because many out-of-work Americans have used up their 26 weeks of state jobless aid, they have transferred to obtaining the money through the PEUC. There are about 7.3 million workers receiving PUA benefits and roughly 4.6 million receiving PEUC benefits, according to Labor Department data.