Unemployment 2020

You can still get unemployment benefits after state payments run out

Mitchell Hartman Oct 15, 2020
Heard on: Marketplace Morning Report
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The CARES Act gives people the opportunity for a 13-week extension after state unemployment benefits end. Bryan R. Smith/AFP via Getty Images
Unemployment 2020

You can still get unemployment benefits after state payments run out

Mitchell Hartman Oct 15, 2020
The CARES Act gives people the opportunity for a 13-week extension after state unemployment benefits end. Bryan R. Smith/AFP via Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

We are now more than six months into the catastrophic wave of unemployment that kicked off with the pandemic in early spring. More than 25 million people are still claiming benefits.

The half-year milestone is significant because, after 26 weeks on the rolls, people’s regular state jobless benefits run out. The CARES Act passed in March provides a federally-funded extension of those payments. 

Mark Smith of Clackamas, Oregon, has been on unemployment since March when he was laid off from the factory where he worked as a janitor. 

“The initial 26 weeks was up; I was at $0 balance,” he said.

He just put in for a 13 week federally-funded extension called Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation, or PEUC. He had to start a new application and download a PDF — he’s not sure he did it right.

“I’m hoping, doing my fingers crossed,” Smith said.

Switching to the federal extension should be seamless. The rules for qualifying are the same, said Michele Evermore, senior policy analyst at the National Employment Law Project. But, “we’re seeing a much bigger drop in regular unemployment insurance than we’re seeing an increase in PEUC,” she said.

Some states are making people reapply for benefits, causing delays. Smith is waiting to find out if he’s gotten the extension. Until then, “I’m like trying to hold every cent,” he said.

He’s been living on about $300 a week in unemployment.

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

New COVID-19 cases and deaths in the U.S. are on the rise. How are Americans reacting?

Johns Hopkins University reports the seven-day average of new cases hit 68,767 on Sunday  — a record — eclipsing the previous record hit in late July during the second, summer wave of infection. A funny thing is happening with consumers though: Even as COVID-19 cases rise, Americans don’t appear to be shying away from stepping indoors to shop or eat or exercise. Morning Consult asked consumers how comfortable they feel going out to eat, to the shopping mall or on a vacation. And their willingness has been rising. Surveys find consumers’ attitudes vary by age and income, and by political affiliation, said Chris Jackson, who heads up polling at Ipsos.

How many people are flying? Has traveled picked up?

Flying is starting to recover to levels the airline industry hasn’t seen in months. The Transportation Security Administration announced on Oct. 19 that it’s screened more than 1 million passengers on a single day — its highest number since March 17. The TSA also screened more than 6 million passengers last week, its highest weekly volume since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. While travel is improving, the TSA announcement comes amid warnings that the U.S. is in the third wave of the coronavirus. There are now more than 8 million cases in the country, with more than 219,000 deaths.

How are Americans feeling about their finances?

Nearly half of all Americans would have trouble paying for an unexpected $250 bill and a third of Americans have less income than before the pandemic, according to the latest results of our Marketplace-Edison Poll. Also, 6 in 10 Americans think that race has at least some impact on an individual’s long-term financial situation, but Black respondents are much more likely to think that race has a big impact on a person’s long-term financial situation than white or Hispanic/Latinx respondents.

Find the rest of the poll results here, which cover how Americans have been faring financially about six months into the pandemic, race and equity within the workplace and some of the key issues Trump and Biden supporters are concerned about.

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