There has been a lot of news around people getting one or more of the extra $300 weekly unemployment checks, part of the enhanced unemployment stimulus programs, but then seeing an extended delay or sudden stoppage of these checks without any notice. This has created a lot of angst and anger for millions of unemployed Americans who needed the extra unemployment stimulus to make ends meet. So why did this happen and what can be done? Read on.
Based on various state labor and unemployment websites and official channels here are some reasons why the $300 payment may have been interrupted.
The $300 FPUC has ended in your state
Unless you are expecting retroactive or back payments for the period the initial FPUC program was in effect you will no longer be getting this check when your state ends participation in this program (see list of end dates), even if you recently lost your job or a big part of your income. This will only leave claimants with access to regular state (pre-pandemic) unemployment programs.
You didn’t certify
While you only need to qualify for at least $1 of regular state or enhanced unemployment to get the $300 supplementary payment, you do need to certify that you qualify every week or bi-weekly (depending on state). So if you don’t certify or your employment situation changes such that you no longer qualify for state unemployment, then you won’t get the extra $300 FPUC payment either. That’s why some people are complaining that getting standard and enhanced unemployment checks could be more beneficial than what they may earn working!
Your State Has Technical Issues Making Payments
Many states like Florida, Ohio, Virginia and Kentucky have reported that their systems are struggling to cope with the amount of new claims and as a result were unable to process payments on schedule for active claimants. They have advised of delays in payment and at times incorrect details being displayed when checking payment status’.
The main problem with UI and payment issues across the country is the antiquated systems being used across several state agencies that administer claim filings and payments. States are literally on the fly revamping their systems as some of them caved from the unprecedented amount of claims filed. In NY the DOL added hundreds of workers to assist with the enormous amount of claims and there are Reps working from home that are now assisting the claims process. In early April it was a jumbled/hot mess but it is actually starting to function now the way it is supposed to. Hang in there and keep bugging your politicians to get off their butts via phone calls and email. Good Luck! (Jim)
Some states like New York, had initially paid out the $300 with few checks on claimants. But as systems were upgraded for the new unemployment provisions and due to the massive increase in fraudulent claims many subsequent $300 payments were held back to ensure identity and qualification checks were more rigorous. The appears to also be the case in other states. As a results payments are being delayed and getting to genuine claimants at much later dates.
The Federal Government is not paying states
There is a rumor that the delay in payments is due to the state not receiving funds for the federally funded $300 FPUC payment. This is not true as the payment of these claims is being done by states who can get reimbursed by the federal government. As long as the individual state agree to Department of Labor rules for the extra pandemic unemployment provisions (and all did) they will be covers by the federal government and should not be a reason the $300 payments are delayed to eligible recipients.
Payment Frequency of the $300 is different to regular state UI
The $300 FPUC payments in many states are paid on different schedules to the regular UI (but paid via the same method). Some states due to processing delays and because the $300 is accounted for differently (since federally funded) have staggered this payment which has resulted in some delays. This seems to be especially notable after memorial day.
What to do now?
For those who have gone more than two weeks since receiving their original FPUC payment, the first step is to confirm your job/eligibility situation has not changed (i.e. continue certifying) and to contact your local state unemployment agency (see links by state here). It can be hard to get a live agent to talk with so I also suggest you check the social media channel for these state UI agencies. That seems to be eliciting a faster reply in many cases. Here is a good news case from a recent comment I got.
While it is stressful for many to have the interruptions to their $300 payments, states by law have to pay you what is owed and are retroactively catching up on payments. In fact many comments on this site across the articles on enhanced unemployment benefits indicate claimants are eventually receiving large backdated unemployment payments covering several weeks.