Who would be covered by the expanded program?
The new bill would wrap in far more workers than are usually eligible for unemployment benefits, including self-employed people and part-time workers. The bottom-line: Those who are unemployed, partially unemployed or who cannot work for a wide variety of coronavirus-related reasons would be more likely to receive benefits.
How much would I receive?
It depends on your state.
Benefits would be expanded in a bid to replace the average worker’s paycheck, explained Andrew Stettner, a senior fellow at the Century Foundation, a public policy research group. The average worker earns about $1,000 a week, and unemployment benefits often replace roughly 40 to 45 percent of that. The expansion would pay an extra amount to fill the gap.
Under the plan, eligible workers would get an extra $600 per week on top of their state benefit. But some states are more generous than others. According to the Century Foundation, the maximum weekly benefit in Alabama is $265, but it’s $450 in California and $681 in New Jersey.
So let’s say a worker was making $1,100 per week in New York; she’d be eligible for the maximum state unemployment benefit of $435 per week. Under the new program, she gets an additional $600 of federal pandemic unemployment compensation, for a total of $1,035, or nearly all of her original paycheck.
States have the option of providing the entire amount in one payment, or sending the extra portion separately. But it must all be done on the same weekly basis.
Are gig workers, freelancers and independent contractors covered in the bill?
Yes, all self-employed people would be newly eligible for unemployment benefits.