The additional $600 unemployment benefit: What, Why, Who, and When. 

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What if we told you that you could be among those lucky few who are going to receive a $600 extra check-in on their unemployment benefits? Yes, you heard it right! The states are all set to send out a heftier unemployment check this week, depending on where you are based. 

Many states have taken it upon themselves to implement this historic enhancement. The benefit comes from the $2.2 trillion package to help those who are worst affected by the lockdown. The additional relief includes a $600 weekly increase for up to 4 months on top of the already sanctioned state benefits. 

Since New York has grown to be the epicenter, the employed people therein would be among the early beneficiaries. But all laid-off workers in most of the states will get the full amount in due course. 

The states were waiting for a nod from the Federal Department of Labour to issue the guidelines for extra funds, which would be covered by the federal government. Still, most of the states lack a clear action plan for implementing this program because it requires an extensive change to their applications. Most of these states are in the process of chalking out a seamless execution plan to get this benefit across to people who lost their jobs during the outbreak. 

The program extends jobless benefits to independent contractors, self-employed persons, and individuals form the gig economy. The only hiccup here seems to be the figuring out who qualifies and what would be the required documentation. 

Benefits to the New Yorkers

If you are one of those jobless New Yorkers who receive his/her unemployment benefit every week, then we are sure you must have received an additional sum of $600 a few weeks earlier. If you didn’t, then you can claim it and wait to receive it in the next 2-3 weeks. 

Governments from New York and California are the states which have started sending out these checks to their unemployed residents early on. 

States like Missouri started on April 12, 2020, and Indiana expects to begin by April 20, 2020, which is a significant relief to most of the unemployed individuals who have to pay out their insurance or meet other expenses during these harsh times. 

A little more wait for independent contractors and self-employed individuals.

The states are already in the process of creating online applications, and making necessary updates in their back-end to start enrolling the unemployed. Although this is a part of the disaster unemployment assistance program, still the states are facing a bit of a jet lag because they never provided benefits to this section, who are now covered under this federal relief program.

Since these are tiring times, many have written to CNN or complained on social media about their rejected applications. The states are encouraging people to be patient and await the new applications to be posted online. 

The Labour Department has not yet announced what documents would be required to file or show their income statement of the last five quarters. The previous five quarters because this is the period on which the benefits are based. Still, you can refer to documents like the Form 1099, bank records showing checks or deposits from employers, or your earnings information. 

Many advocates are worried, the Labour Department might miss out on some of these workers who are in dire need of the benefits to survive this nation-wide lockdown.

Another worry, the guidelines are forcing these workers to prove their eligibility in a situation where they have no freedom to move, in case they don’t have the information handy. 

The Bottom Line

The additional $600 makes a significant difference to the unemployed who have no sources of income at this point. Many states have started giving out these checks, and many are in the process of doing so. 

The crux of the situation still revolves around the relief benefit of unemployed. We suggest you be patient and wait since the states are already chalking out a way to help you through this, and we can only hope that this wait reaps fruits for all. 

As we always advise, stay tuned and updated with the latest information in response to COVID-19. If in case you find a hiccup around the corner, feel free to contact the MyTaxFiler at C19Grants@mytaxfiler. 

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