Extended Benefits Still Available after Unemployment Ends? Or Extended Due to Delta COVID strain as the Unemployment Pandemic is Far From Over? Biden vs State Funding

As the COVID-19 Delta variant spreads rapidly across the US many are worrying about the economic impact from additional regulations, state/national safety mandates and business reopening delays. But even of more concern to millions of jobless or under-employed Americans, still recovering from the pandemic induced slow down, are the end of the federally funded enhanced unemployment programs in early September.

The most impactful programs ending are the additional $300 weekly payment (FPUC) for jobless Americans eligible for benefits, as well as payments under the PUA program for those workers who previously did not qualify for state unemployment benefits. Many states had ended their participation in these programs earlier than the legislated September 6th end date to push unemployed Americans to return to work, but this has had mixed results.

Extended benefits still available after unemployment ends?

Most state agencies (e.g. CA, NJ and Nevada) have confirmed that claimants on the PEUC, PUA, MEUC and FPUC programs will file/certify for benefits for the last time covering the week ending September 4, 2021. Any active claims with or without remaining balances will expire after this date. No further benefits will be paid, including the $300 weekly boost.

Some claimants may be eligible for State Extended Benefits (SEB), but these are only available for an extra week until September 11th in most states. In either case, after September 4th all claimants must have a regular UI claim to continue receiving benefits. See the state specific UI pages for more details.

Options to Extend Pandemic Unemployment Benefits

However with the rapid spread of the Delta strain and prospects of an economic slowdown heading into the winter months, government leaders are having serious discussions at the federal and state levels keep some or all of the pandemic unemployment programs in place through at least the end of 2021.

There is even talk of the Biden administration repurposing some of existing ARPA stimulus bill funding to extended unemployment programs to the end of 2022. This is similar to the 6-week LWA extension that then President Trump did by executive order in September 2020 when Congress could not agree on funding the first extension to the original CARES act stimulus.

[Recent Update] The Biden administration recently advised that they won’t use Executive or federal orders to push to extend federally funded unemployment benefits past the September 6th expiration date. Instead they are encouraging states with high unemployment to use some of the existing $350 billion in stimulus funding for State and Local Fiscal Recovery (SLFR) to fund enhanced unemployment benefits for as long as needed.

Leaving the extension of unemployment benefits to states is the most likely path for a short term benefits extension given there are still significant unspent funds left under the APRA stimulus bill.

I will continue to monitor these and post updates as more information comes to hand.

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Pandemic Unemployment Programs and Impact

As you can see from the graphic below, the PUA and PEUC programs make-up nearly 70% of unemployment benefits paid over the last 12 months. These programs, in addition to the $300 to $600 weekly boost, have helped tens of millions of people and their families get through the worst economic crisis in over a century.

When these federally funded programs officially end in September, unless an unlikely extension is approved, the main option left to jobless workers will be traditional state unemployment.

With unemployment levels still above pre-pandemic levels, there is a real concern that the impending end of enhanced pandemic unemployment benefits with no new stimulus payments on the horizon, millions of jobless workers could be left in financial ruin as economic and job growth may stall in the coming months as new COVID strains wreak havoc.

The biggest concern however is that those who got benefits under the PUA program, such as freelancers and gig workers, would not qualify for regular state unemployment which requires a W2 or some proof of employer based income. This is going to potentially leave millions without any benefits and no recourse for getting regular state unemployment benefits.

States that have ended benefits early are already facing backlash and law suits from jobless workers and advocate groups, but are holding firm that the number of unfilled vacancies support the early termination of benefits.

Proponents of keeping benefits going say that some workers are unable to return to jobs just yet due to fear of falling ill or difficulty accessing child care. Estimates suggest that nearly 75% of jobless workers in these states have no access to any form of unemployment benefits.

While it’s too early to say if this is the case, there is little doubt from the comments below and across this site that the unemployment pandemic is far from over.

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12 thoughts on “Extended Benefits Still Available after Unemployment Ends? Or Extended Due to Delta COVID strain as the Unemployment Pandemic is Far From Over? Biden vs State Funding”

  1. What about those with high risk medical conditions ?? It’s not as if the virus has disappeared – though mask mandates sure have.

    How are those people expected to just go back to work – while so few wear masks now and the virus is still being spread ??? Are they just expandable now ???

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  2. I was receiving unemployment which had run out so I was receiving extended benefits but those ran out in 10-2020. Apparently I was eligible to reapply and receive PEUC-A when it was passed on 12-27-2021 but I was unaware. I received a letter from my state unemployment office on Aug 15th 2021 informing me that I’m eligible so I reapplied and have received benefits for the last 2 weeks but even though it shows I will have a balance over $8,000, PEUC-A will end on Sept 4 here. I live in New Mexico. Do you know if I’m entitled to retroactive payments from 12-27-2021? Or do you know what will happen to me when the PEUC-A runs out? I can’t reach anyone by phone here and I don’t know what to do.

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  3. There’s a million jobs out there that need to be filled! How come people still need goverment money? I dont get it.

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    • Because some folks as myself are gig workers… I actually a.c. Under a contract to work but since New fears have arisen… Along with everyone wanting everyone else to be vaccinated or wearing masks while others don’t feel safe in unable to set up any populated events… To .and matters worse I am noa quarantined with 3 others people that have contracted Corona Virus… TWO of which WERE Vaxed!!! Which is the point of myself not seeing the point of vaccinations…. I just keep.my immune system up and I ‘ve been fine! Seems to be better than their vaccinations the Gov is handing out…. So, what else can I or am I supposed to do? People don’t feel safe at public events yet… Especially with 2 new strains of the virus spreading rapidly again… Already homeless too… don’t even have funds to get to any work…no fuel funds… Or anything … Now.stuck anyway quarantined too so…. No hope in Arkansas..

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    • Bobby – some people have high risk medical conditions, and with mask mandates lifted – we now see millions of people walking around without masks. Their medical risks didn’t just disappear and neither did the virus. Are they are supposed to just suck it up and risk their lives because there are jobs available?? I am not being sarcastic – just asking a question. This seems pretty ludicrous to me. Not all people have this risk – but many do.

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  4. Glass half full girl thinks PUA may extend until after November NJ elections in part due to Delta variant.

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  5. really thank you for trying to give me information on payments and such for my PUA or unemployment or working but I did not file my taxes personally somebody talk me into doing it for me by which I was working with my brother at his house if you consider that work all it was really was he gave me money because I had no other option but to sit at his house with him and his child or sometimes my cousin would come over but they never left me alone by myself to where I was capable because my mentality does not understand a lot of stuff so they were just really helping me out with income that I really did not even have to file a tax is on it I don’t know what the man that does the taxes actually estimated income on because the income that I made was yes they gave me $140 a week but I simply stayed at my brothers house and helped him under their supervision because they felt bad for me having no income and when I filed for disability I keep getting denied I can’t even function properly to make my own decisions with everything around me causing me to relapse on drugs and then have a therapist and all the stuff I’m about to go crazy and everybody don’t understand I have no way of making money so if whatever you say payment I’m not approved for I don’t know what to do to get approved for anything honestly everybody has to help me to figure all this mumbo-jumbo language where they’re talking all this big stuff that I don’t understand I’m so sorry to bother you

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  6. Wonderful article. You drive home the highest problem. Oh you really drive it home. We in PUA have no recourse. My company folded and come Sept I CANNOT file like everybody else. I understand I am not in the State’s loop but we have nothing after Sept 5. Nothing. Really a sad situation. Sure I knew it was coming but help a little longer Wolf of course helped. Great article. I know we have no extension coming.

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  7. I have been receiving regular UI and the additional benefits PEUC since I started claiming March of 2020. I now am on the supposed final extension that ends with the week ending Sept 4th ( in NJ ) for the additional $300 boost. At that time I will still have enough funds in my account for an additional 2 weeks of regular UI, Will I loose those last two weeks ? If either yes or no, Do I have any other option to continue to receive at least my regular UI benefits? I await your kind reply.

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    • Yes i still believe you’ll get paid for your remaining balance of weeks, paid by the state, so wothout the $300 boost, of course.

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