When Do $400 a Week Unemployment Payments Start? Your COVID Relief Questions, Answered

Rebekah Sager
August 11, 2020 - 3:29 pm

    On Saturday, President Donald Trump used his executive authority to clear the path for an extra $400 in weekly unemployment insurance benefits, in an effort to assist 16.3 million jobless Americans.

    Although the memorandum will make the benefits retroactive to August 1, it could take weeks for claimants to actually see the money.

    The order would require the money to come from the states, and according to unemployment experts, some states may not have the money to provide the necessary 25% of the benefits. That could see the aid sliced to $300 a week, half the extra weekly payment workers had been receiving until the end of July through the CARES Act.

    "That is the tragedy — workers are expecting to get this because the president promised it to them," Michelle Evermore, a senior policy analyst at the National Employment Law Project, an advocacy group tells CBS News. "It's going to be a real challenge for states to say they can get this up and running."

    “The state does not have an identified resource of $700 million per week that we haven’t already obliged,” Newsom said according to the Los Angeles Times. “There is no money sitting in the piggy bank.”

    If you or someone you know has questions about the new unemployment benefits, here are the answers as it stands for now.

    When will the $400 unemployment payments begin?

    The extra jobless benefits are unlikely to begin this month, Andrew Stettner, senior fellow at progressive think tank The Century Foundation, told CBS.

    According to Stettner, states need time to establish new systems for administer the funds, a process which may not be in place until at least September.

    "We're lucky if anyone gets this money in August," Stettner said. "It's more likely to be in September at the earliest."

    How long will the new benefits last?

    The funds authorized through Trump's order may only last about a month, according to Ed Mills, a Raymond James analyst.

    The bonus unemployment benefits would tap into the nation's Disaster Relief Fund, using about $44 million. According to Mills, this figure is enough for about four or five weeks.

    What happens if my state can't provide funding?

    Under Trump's directive, the federal government will provide $300 in additional aid and the states will contribute another $100.

    But some states may be unable to foot the amount. Several governors have already said that even the additional $100 per month is too much.

    According to a Sunday memo from the Department of Labor states can "count their existing unemployment insurance (UI) weekly benefit payments from state funds" toward their $100 contribution.

    Who does not apply for these additional benefits?

    Under Trump's executive order, jobless workers who receive less than $100 a week in unemployment pay aren't eligible for the additional $400 per week.

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