$ 300 unemployment benefits reach Americans in need

But many whose care ran out last year have to wait for payments to resume. And freelancers, self-employed people and certain people who are unable to work due to the limitations of the coronavirus need to present more proof of employment when they submit new applications or pursue their needs.

The pandemic unemployment benefit program extended unemployment benefits to concerts, freelancers, self-employed people, the self-employed, and certain individuals affected by the coronavirus. The pandemic emergency unemployment compensation program provided an additional 13 weeks of payments to those who exhausted their regular state benefits.

Both programs will close for new applicants on March 14, but will continue until April 5 for applicants who have not yet reached the maximum number of weeks.

Implementation has begun

About half of the states will have to pay the $ 300 a week grant by the end of the week, said Michele Evermore, senior policy analyst at the National Employment Law Project. This is in line with experts ’forecast that it will take two to three weeks for many government agencies to reprogram the new measures into their systems.

Several states, including New York and California, quickly stepped in to replace parts of the new law. For example, the California Department of Employment Development has paid a total of $ 434 million in increased federal payments to more than one million claimants as of Tuesday.

In Georgia, nearly 167,000 unemployed residents have received newly extended epidemic benefits, and nearly 300,000 unemployed claimants have received the extra $ 300 since early January, the state agency said.

However, more than 239,000 Georgians who exhausted epidemic benefits on or before December 26 will have to wait a few more weeks for the 11-week extension to begin, although payments will be retroactive.

“We’re pushing as fast as we can,” said Kersha Cartwright, the agency’s spokesman.

Unemployed in other states has not yet received the benefits of the aid package.

For example, laid-off Ohioers are currently unable to submit new pandemic unemployment benefit applications or ongoing weekly claims. The State Labor and Family Service expects those who have already been licensed to be able to file their registration by the third week of January. He also expects to start spending the $ 300 allowance by then.

New requirements for some files

The latest aid package requires pandemic unemployment claimants to submit additional papers proving that they had a job or were self-employed.

Last year, government agencies could simply accept certificates from applicants about their employment and income. But lawmakers have tightened the rules in part because the program that opened up the unemployment system to many Americans who were never eligible struggled with widespread fraud.

Unemployed people who apply for epidemic unemployment benefits before January 31 and receive pay on or after December 27 must submit documentation to their state office within 90 days, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Those who submit a new application on or after January 31 must submit the paperwork within 21 days.

Proof of employment can include pay stubs, W-2 tax forms or income statements, while proof of self-employment can include federal employer identification numbers, business licenses, tax returns or business documents, the agency said.

Oregon, for example, is still waiting for more information on the new documentation required, along with other program changes. The state agency doesn’t yet know when it will start sending payments to new pandemic unemployment claims or to those whose care ran out last year.

States have some flexibility with regard to documentation requirements and deadlines, Evermore said. However, this can widen the differences between states: some introduce strict guidelines, others less so.

In Georgia, the state agency continues to determine the best way for the unemployed to meet documentation requirements, Cartwright said. The new rules place a heavy burden on government agencies to collect and control paperwork, he said.

“It slows everything down for everyone,” Evermore said.