However, many people who did not run out of benefits last year will have to wait for their payments to start again. Freelancers, independent contractors and certain people who cannot work due to coronavirus restrictions will have to provide more proof of employment when submitting new applications or continuing their claims.
The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program extends unemployment benefits to show workers, freelancers, independent contractors, self-employed persons and certain people affected by the coronavirus. The Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation Program provides an additional 13 weeks of payment for those who have exhausted their regular state benefits.
Both plans will be closed to new applicants on March 1
Implementation has started
Michele Evermore, a senior policy analyst for the National Employment Law Project, said that by the end of this week, about half of the states should pay a $300 weekly salary increase. This is consistent with experts’ predictions that many state agencies need two to three weeks to reprogram new measures into their systems.
Several states, including New York and California, moved quickly to implement some of the new laws. For example, as of Tuesday, the California Department of Employment Development has paid a total of $434 million in federal payments to more than 1 million claimants.
State agencies say that in Georgia, as of early January, nearly 167,000 unemployed residents received the newly extended pandemic benefits, and nearly 300,000 unemployed received an additional $300.
However, more than 239,000 Georgians who have exhausted their pandemic benefits on or before December 26 will have to wait a few more weeks before the 11-week extension can begin, although payments will be retroactive.
The agency’s spokesperson, Kersha Cartwright, said: “We are doing our best.”
In other states, unemployed residents Has not yet benefited from the relief plan.
For example, a dismissed Ohioan can neither file a new pandemic unemployment assistance application, nor can it file a weekly ongoing claim. The State Department of Work and Family Services hopes that those who have been approved can submit their applications by the third week of January. And it hopes that by then it will also begin issuing proceeds of $300.
New requirements for certain filers
The latest relief package requires those seeking pandemic unemployment assistance to submit additional paperwork to prove that they are employed or self-employed.
Last year, the state agency could simply accept the claimant’s proof of employment and income. But the legislators tightened the rules, partly because the plan opened up the unemployment system to many Americans who had never qualified, and has been fighting widespread fraud.
According to the US Department of Labor, unemployed persons who applied for pandemic unemployment assistance before January 31 and received payment on or after December 27 must provide documents to their national agency within 90 days. Those who submit a new application on or after January 31 must submit documents within 21 days.
The agency stated that employment certificates may include salary stubs, W-2 tax forms or income certificates, while self-employment certificates may include federal employer ID numbers, business licenses, tax returns or business receipts.
For example, Oregon is still waiting for more information about new required documents and other program changes. State agencies don’t yet know when they will start sending payments to people who have new pandemic unemployment requirements or who ran out of benefits last year.
Evermore said states have some flexibility in terms of document requirements and deadlines. However, this may widen the gap between states. Some states have established strict guidelines while others are not so strict.
Cartwright said that in Georgia, state agencies are still determining the best way for unemployed residents to meet document requirements. She said that the new regulations have increased the burden of collecting and verifying paperwork on state agencies.
Evermore said: “This will slow everyone down.”