Why The $300 Cut to the Original $600 FPUC Unemployment Stimulus Benefit and 2021 Extension is a BIG Deal

Congressional leaders and the President have now approved a $900 billion stimulus plan that includes funding for extending federal pandemic programs (PUA, PEUC) and providing another supplementary unemployment benefit (FPUC) of $300 per week for millions of unemployed or underemployed Americans. This new $300 payment will be made to eligible recipients between December 27th, 2020 and March 14th, 2021.

Unfortunately this is only half of the original $600 FPUC payment, but had to be cut to keep the overall stimulus package below $1 trillion and get Republican Senate support. While the $600 weekly payment provided nearly full income replacement for 73% of Americans, the lower $300 will only cover about 42% of Americans (assumes regular UI is also being received). The the new 2021 $300 FPUC provides the same extra weekly benefit as the $300 LWA program, the good news is that it only requires a claimant to be getting $1 in regular UI (vs $100 under the LWA program).

You can see this article on actions claimants will have to take to get these extended benefits. States are updating their systems so will take time to get this payment, but will be retroactively caught-up for eligible weeks. See how your state is tracking with this payment.

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[October LWA Update] Most have states have paid out the $300 weekly LWA unemployment benefit. See the full and update list of states and payment dates.

The limited funding for this program means that the states who sign up late may have limited funding to implement these programs. The FEMA website, which this program is being rolled out under, has the latest updates on states enrolling in this program.


President Trump’s executive order on extending extra weekly benefits looks like it will provide much needed relief to millions of unemployed and under-employed Americans given Congress’ inability to compromise on a new stimulus bill which was supposed to include an extension of funding for the FPUC benefit (which was $600 p/week until the end of July 2020). Based on recent Department of Labor guidelines, Trump’s executive order will be enacted through the Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) Program and have the following features:

The LWA program will extend the extra weekly unemployment payment until the end of the year, or until funding runs out. Under the program the extra UI benefit will cut the overall weekly payment to between $300 and $400, depending on how much states can fund of their obligation (up to 25%) of the extra weekly unemployment payment versus federally owned funding (75%). The payments will be valid from August 1st 2020 to the end of December 2020, subject to funding availability.

While the federal component of this weekly payment ($300 or 75%) will be funded under the FEMA program, the states can fund their $100 component out of the Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF), provided under the CARES Act or other state funding. Alternatively, and importantly under DOL guidance, states may count funds that are already used to provide regular state UI payments toward the state match. If this is the case then the revised extra FPUC weekly UI amount will only be $300.

This is BIG deal because many states will likely just count their existing UI payments towards their state match, leaving the extra weekly payment to the federally funded $300! Which is a 50% drop from recently expired FPUC levels. While this will be in addition to existing state UI payments, it will still be a large cut for many families and jobless workers who relied on the earlier $600 FPUC payment.


[July-August 2020 update around 2020 $600 FPUC extension] Despite all the payout challenges with the enhanced unemployment benefits, millions of Americans have been benefiting from the $600 FPUC payment (detailed below in previous update) while they survive Coronavirus induced shutdowns or job losses. But with the $600 payment officially set to end at the end of July 2020, many Americans are asking if the $600 payment will be extended?

You can see a more detailed analysis here, but as with everything government related nowadays this has become a political issue. Republicans have indicated that they don’t want to extend the $600-a-week UI benefit past its current expiry. They feel the economy is improving and now want to encourage workers to go back to work versus relying on the generous enhanced unemployment benefits. This is why they are pushing for either a cut to the current $600 weekly amount to something around $200 to $300 p/week and/or providing back-to-work bonus payments. The argument here is that the current $600 weekly federal unemployment payment on top of regular state unemployment benefits is 133% more than the average income for most jobless Americans. They want to move to something like 60% to 70% of the average income, which will encourage people to go back to work (assuming their job still exists).

House Democrats, led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, have confirmed the importance of the $600 weekly payment for the millions of unemployed by passing putting a new Stimulus bill in the House, called the HEROES act, which includes an extension of the $600 per week extra unemployment payment (FPUC) through to January 2021. However it is likely they will have to compromise with Republicans to get something passed.

My bet is that a compromise will be reached where the unemployment benefits will be extended to the end of the year, but the amount of extra UI payments will be reduced and/or progressively tied to the states unemployment. There will also likely be a matching incentive to workers if they go back to work. But stay tuned for more updates.

NotePUA unemployment benefits will continue to the end of the year while retroactive $600 payments will also likely continue into August as state UI agencies catch-up on payouts to eligible recipients.

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[Previous update] Under the latest Coronavirus stimulus bill (CARES act) unemployment compensation insurance has been extended by 13 weeks and boosted by adding $600 per week for up to four months, on top of what beneficiaries normally receive from states. It also expands eligibility for unemployment checks to self-employed people and independent contractors. More details and specific state payment dates shown below.

When will the $600 Unemployment Benefit Payment Start?

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has now provided guidance to states for implementation of the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) programs and the $600 per week extra unemployment (FPUC) approved under the CARES act. While most state labor departments and unemployment agencies have implemented the enhanced unemployment programs, they have been very slow in getting payments out due to issues with updating policies and systems to accommodate the mandated changes. As a result state UI agency websites are behind on processing the additional $600 p/week payment to eligible recipients. Payments to those already receiving unemployment should be automatic, while others or newly unemployed will need to (re-)apply for the UI payments. The table at the end of the post shows states who are now paying the $600 payment based on their State Labor/UI website.

Will I get the full $600? The $600 is added to whatever amount you are currently getting in terms of regular unemployment insurance compensation (UIC), whether it’s the minimum or the maximum. So for example even if you are only getting $50 a week in unemployment benefits today you will still get the full $600 through the next four months (July 31, 2020) which is mandated in the stimulus bill. Note: regular state unemployment compensation includes UCFE, UCX, PEUC, PUA, EB, STC, TRA, and DUA.

Also note that the $600 weekly FPUC payment is paid retroactively. The DOL has specified that states who agree to participate and take the federal funding for the enhanced benefit program under the CARES act must provide retroactive payments to individuals eligible for FPUC for the weeks they would have been entitled. So assuming your state agrees to take part in the DOL program at the end of March (and most states have done so) payments would be effective starting with the week ending 4/5/20. So, if it takes your state UI agency until mid-April to actually start the payments, they will be retroactive back to 4/5/20.

The $600 only applies to those who are receiving regular or PUA state unemployment benefits. If your state said that you don’t qualify for any amount of unemployment compensation, then you do not get the $600 either. The bill also waived the 7 day waiting period for new claims or if you lost your job due to any COVID-19 related reason. So you can file as soon as you get laid off or lose income as a self employed person.

Do part time workers or those getting partial UIC qualify for the $600 unemployment stimulus?

Yes. The Department of Labor (DOL) issued Unemployment Insurance Guidance Letter 15-20 (UIPL 15-20) that alludes to the fact that individuals who are entitled to receive regular unemployment compensation (UC) will also receive the $600 flat weekly payment through July 31, 2020. There is no minimum limit of unemployment compensation that is specified in the DOL guidelines, so even qualifying for a partial amount (i.e the case for part time employees) would qualify the employee for the $600 weekly payment. See more for part-time workers on getting this payment.

State by State Status on $600 payment

The following table shows how the current state administered maximums would increase with the supplementary $600 provision and which states are now paying these. However the roll-out of the enhanced UIC payments for those able to file new claims has been much slower than planned (see details). This information is changing daily so please let me know if you see an changes and I always recommend checking your local state labor or unemployment site to get the official payment dates specific to your claim.

State
(Click State For Details)
PUA State Contact NumberPaying Original 39 weeks (CARES)?Paying 11-Week 2021 Extension?
AlabamaY
AlaskaY
ArizonaYY
ArkansasY
California1-800-300-5616YY
ColoradoY
ConnecticutY
DelawareYY
District of ColumbiaYY
FloridaY
GeorgiaY
HawaiiY
IdahoY
Illinois1-800-244-5631Y
IndianaYY
IowaY
KansasY
KentuckyY
LouisianaY
MaineY
MarylandYY
MassachusettsYY
MichiganYY
MinnesotaY
MississippiY
MissouriY
MontanaY
NebraskaY
NevadaY
New HampshireY
New JerseyNorth Jersey: 201-601-4100
Central Jersey: 732-761-2020
Southern Jersey: 856-507-2340
Y
New MexicoYY
New York1-833-491-0632
1-833-324-0366 (to certify)
Y
North CarolinaYY
North DakotaY
Ohio1-877-644-6562Y
OklahomaY
OregonY
Pennsylvania1-855-284-8545Y
Puerto RicoY
Rhode IslandYY
South CarolinaY
South DakotaY
TennesseeY
Texas1-800-939-6631Y
UtahY
VermontYY
Virginia1-866-832-2363 YY
WashingtonY
West VirginiaY
WisconsinY
WyomingY

Naturally the above flat weekly increases are creating controversy as the new maximums could exceed what workers make from normal jobs and actually encourage employees to temporarily lay off employers while things are slowed down due to the Coronavirus induced shutdowns.

Will I get the $600 payment if I owe the IRS money or pay child support?

Individuals who currently have a debt with the IRS (or other government agencies) are still eligible for the $600 payment even if 100% of their weekly benefit amount is currently intercepted. Child support obligations however must be deducted from FPUC payments in the same manner and to the same extent as these obligations are deducted from regular UIC. Generally one-half of your $600 payment will be deducted and applied to your court ordered or voluntary child support or repayment of an UI over payment.

Since unemployment benefits are administered at the state level, please check your state’s UI website and file a claim to confirm your specific entitlement. Also note that the $600 payment is taxable and will be shown as income in your 1099G.

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595 thoughts on “Why The $300 Cut to the Original $600 FPUC Unemployment Stimulus Benefit and 2021 Extension is a BIG Deal”

  1. I live in SD and a friend told me to try and get pua in June 2020, I told her I wasn’t working, she said she wasn’t either and got approved. I was confused but had her help me out and went through the process. My status stayed at incomplete claim, I never got anything in the mail or email so I figured I wasn’t getting it no biggie, then out of the blue I got a 600 payment in my bank… I was surprised and thought maybe they are helping some that wernt employed.. After 2 months they stopped. About a month after they stopped I got a letter saying I owe back the 4.3k I received. So basically they just decided to send the payments before even seeing if I was actually eligible ‍♀️. I knew it seemed odd but I stupidly kept doing my weekly claim thinking I was OK. So now I’m stuck not able to pay it back (I’m a single mom living out of a motel doing all that I can just to even get by) it’s passed the time frame to try and appeal. I feel like even if I did appeal it’s pointless because technically I did commit fraud (although i was truly confused, wouldn’t you be if you start getting payments? I thought I was approved ‍♀️. I’m already being garnished for something.

    Reply
  2. Hi there,
    I’m here in GA. Got laid off on Jan 6th. I just checked my claim status today and noticed 3 weeks of UI payments have been initiated today. (Wonderful) I also noticed that my FPUC payments are a total of $252 per week. I thought it was supposed to be for $600?

    Reply
  3. I live in Arkansas and I’m getting the peuc and I only get 81$ a week so will I get to get the extra $300 extended unemployment money or not

    Reply
    • Not likely. Under Trumps executive order you need to be receiving at least $100 a week in unemployment benefits.

      Reply
  4. I filed in Delaware for self employed at the beginning of April and received the monetary determination letter but nothing else. Then once the system was up for self employed I filed again. This time I started receiving payments almost right away. I was not denied as so told I would be. I did not receive retropay. I even called in for all April since I had filed and had not heard anything. Do I need to file a claim for my retropay or what? This is 5 weeks I am missing that i so very much could use.

    Reply
    • You guys should google “state representative (your zip code)”

      Then email your area rep. to help you with you government issues. I did not know about it until a friend of mine told me about it. I tried it that same night and they urgently responded with in 10-15 minutes.

      Gob bless

      Reply
  5. I live in Alabama our work for school that did pay me right so I question they try fire me and try to get me come in residence but I would I spo to be 1407.00 month but instead I was paid 884.70 months they try to block my unemployment by lie on me so I will be able to get mine

    Reply
  6. UPDATE: I challenge anyone to read my July comment then compare it to today. As of the 25th of July for us, the PUA ended. NOW the state UI is offering me LESS than even $140 per week! I would LOVE to see ANY politician LIVE on this without ANY other source of income! They would die before the end of the day, because we all know they spend more than this on their daily latte’s, etc.
    Now, also, as of today, MORE restaurants, small business owners, etc, have shut down permanently. NOBODY can keep a roof over their head on $140 per week at todays cost of living expenses. Thankfully, by reason of experience, and age, I will “survive” but ONLY by using 40+ years of blood and sweat and taxed to hell savings and investment strategies. The point though is the blantant audacity of ALL the criminal politicians to expect / believe / think, anybody can / will have a roof over their head even at these B.S. payment levels, AFTER having taxed every penny a worker makes during their entire lifetime.
    THIS is my original comment from July >>>
    No matter which side you are on, here is something else to consider. I am an
    Alaskan, just shy of 60 years old, my primary profession, was truck driver/equipment operator, for over 35 years. I have NEVER once drawn
    unemployment before, EVER, before this Covid19 disaster. I used to run the
    entire continent, Yes, Alaska, every Canadian province,and even go into
    Mexico. Well, from Alaska, if you are going by roadway, you HAVE to go
    through Canada !! Well, guess what, they SHUT DOWN the border(s) and
    say NO !! Did we ask for this?! NO!!!! So does this make it OUR fault?!
    I had to pull teeth practically to FINALLY get the FPUA going. Even though
    it “said” zero job searches required (for now) I am smart enough to NOT think or expect that the gov can keep supporting us,me,you,ANYBODY forever,
    We The People are NOT the ones that screwed us out of our work, businesses, etc. !! I looked at the Job Openings while I was in the website and it returned ZERO openings !!!! Ya think that “might” just be a problem??!!
    So, YES, the $600 needs to be extended, at least until, EVERYTHING is back
    to FULL pre Covid capacities, and we ALL know, THAT is NOT going to be
    anytime soon !

    Reply
    • Love your comment by reason of experience and age you will survive…… Born in 1960 I understand exactly that as well. In addition one must get creative and start a new CV19 budget. You are so right what is given is their lunch and latte $$$. If we all wear a mask when out in public it will certainly help stop the spread. Tom do you know when and how the 13 week extension of Regular UI payments gets added on? As mine will run out at 25 weeks and a half week of $ on the 26th week. I thought that 13 week extension was included from the get go….

      Reply
      • Did you ever find an answer to this? I am in the same boat as you; my 26 weeks of support have concluded (gone by rather quickly I might add). I receive my last payment tomorrow, and it isn’t so much a payment as it is simply my claim being closed out by handing me the final crumbs of my “Benefits Remaing” balance. I did see that I received Trump’s $300 assistance for a few weeks, the earliest of which started on July 26th. I was surprised by this as I thought LWA payments didn’t apply to months previous to August. Either way, I was under the impression I would automatically be enrolled in some sort of extended benefits program as my research led me to believe. I was not though. Instead, I received a message that my benefits were completed, and I was not eligible to make a new claim until March of next year. Do i need to apply for Extended benefits or for the pandemic assistance unemployment? Or how does this work? I get confused with all the damn acronyms assigned to these payments, lol.

        Reply
  7. I filed my claim July 17th but was told not to call in my first benefit request till August 2 will I receive one week of the $600 or more then that….

    Reply
  8. Andy, I think your math is wrong.
    “133% more than the average income…”
    I think you meant “133% OF the avg income…”

    Reply
    • I completely agree with you Russ. If anyone reading this article does the math on even my own personal comment earlier today, then here is an example.
      $140 per week X 4 weeks equals a grand TOTAL of $560 !! Yes, that IS
      even LESS for an ENTIRE month, than the pre-expiry $600 per week FPUA !!
      So, just where does that 133% more come from exactly??!! Also, when you make / made as much as $5000 per month working your job BEFORE this
      Covid B.S then $500 would be only 10% of your NORMAL income Andy.
      This would mean a 90% reduction or LOSS of the NORMAL income.
      Just sayin…………

      Reply
  9. I live in NJ. I guess this is an area to complain, so here’s mine. For NJ the max unemployment states 713, which is great compared to most states. It’d be a little more nice if that’s what they were giving. Pre tax I made 1800 a week, which should qualify easily for the 713. I’m getting 588 after taxes. Taxes are 10%. 642 should be the amount. $54 doesn’t sound like much but multiply that over five months and I should have another 1000 up to this point. With the extra 600, which I got last week, but not this, worked out to be exactly 66% of my income. I’m grateful for the money but staying home has cost me over 600 a week through no fault of my own, I don’t see a public sickness, and my employer can’t afford to bring me back in a dead restaurant industry. Taking this 600 away and I’m making less than 35% of my salary!!!

    Reply
  10. Is the retroactive payment applying to April regardless of when you actually filed your initial claim? For instance if you waited until June were approved, and would have been approved if you knew and filed earlier? Also does the half taken out for child support to arrearages or monthly payments or both. They applied my entire 1200 stimulus to arrearages and my monthly. Support payments are only $175. Thanks in advance.

    Reply
  11. if I filled on the 30th of July will I still receive the 600 for the week prior or the full amount..I live in fl..

    Reply
  12. So if my next claim date is August 2nd and I claim every 2 weeks will I still get the 600 payment for the first week of July 26th. I know I wont get the full 1200 since it ends on the 31st but will they at least give me the 600 for the first week when I do my 2 week claim on August 2nd?

    Reply
    • I’m in the same boat, I file the 2nd also but from what I have read in KY they ended it the 25th so they are saying that the first week ending the 26th we won’t be getting it for that week. I hope I am wrong though.

      Reply
  13. The worry that people are not returning to jobs because they’re making more $ on the enhanced unemployment payments is just bogus. The majority of people who collect unemployment do so until their 6 months of collecting is up. Wether or not they are making more, less, or the same as they were at their job. People use their benifits to the end, usually. I’m in Texas and the oilfield is dead. There’s 0 jobs out their right now to replace my 120,000$ a year job. And believe me…..I’m not making more on the benifits than I was at work . But reduced payments from 1120$ a week to 521$ a week will mean I can barely get by instead of comfortably living and doing my day to day shopping. It’s not going to incintivise me to go back to work by taking the benifits away. There’s no work to go back to.

    Reply
    • Exactly, the unemployment rate is ridiculously high. Then they will say well I know I guy that can’t get workers, your right not at $8 an hour because I can’t afford the gas to get there, childcare, etc. It’s cheaper to not work even without any benefits because all the added costs of going to work like childcare basically zeros out my income at those levels. This country is in a mess and the politicians need to quit the BS bickering and do what’s right for the people for once and not what’s good for them. Americans need to wake up and start holding these guys accountable because for so long they haven’t been, now is time to change that.

      Reply
      • If they want to stimulate economy let’s start with raising minimum wage to a living wage which would trickle into everyone’s salaries as well !! Remember Mike there is not enough childcare out there and essential workers are prioritized….And what happened to a second Stimulus check after all this time? By the way….each golf trip by Trump , secret service and the staff cost about $600,000 average paid by tax payers. Trump only goes to golf clubs that he owns so who is really getting that bonus check ????? Abuse of Power and reckless spending!!

        Reply
    • Same for us Mark. Slope worker friends I hardly ever see, I could go visit right now because they are NOT working, they are furloughed / home. I’ve checked our industry openings every time I am on the state website and there are ZERO.
      So to all the Fed politicians >> “Yes,we can all go right back to work to all the
      NOBODY open, NOBODY hiring jobs right now can’t we” ??!!! Must be nice to
      NOT have to worry about the real world cost of living. (But ONLY for them)

      Reply
  14. I’m in Kansas and been getting payments and bonus since April, no issues. 349+600 = 949 a week.

    Not 1 messed up payment. Guess i am really lucky. Also my benefits were going to run out October, but now if they extend it to end of the year, all the better.

    If they extend the bonus, I’m going to be saving it back like i did most of the last bonus weeks, gotta make a long term plan in this crazy times, this is getting worse by the week, scarier than ever and there’s no light end of the tunnel yet.

    Kids going to school online, we dont leave the house except for appointments, wife doesn’t work, (Disabled) I’ve been out a job since January. Holed up at home and clinging on to whatever we can get, as we watch the world fall apart all around us.

    Stay safe, stay healthy.

    Reply
    • They say “back-to-work bonus payments” well that doesn’t help with those who are high risk. My physician just told me yesterday she will not release me yet. I would only draw 75.00 a week (taxes out) so now worry about the other 650.00 to cover rent and my other bills. My medication alone with co-pay is 208.25.

      Reply
      • Jouridan… We all are in different situations but have financial crisis as a common denominator. AS far as your RX goes I have a couple suggestions. (1) you could ask your pharmacist to see if there are any online coupons that they could apply to your RX. I had a RX that found a coupon that was $75 off monthly.( 2.) You could look up or call the drug company that makes your RX to see if they have any additional programs that you might be eligible for (3) Look for resources locally that might be able to help. Most cities have a St. Vincent DePaul Society which is the Catholic Church ( don’t have to be Catholic) and they can be extremely helpful in different areas. I had good experiences with them helping me to pay for RX and gas after Hurricane Ike. Remember every penny saved is a penny earned ! Don’t know if you are eligible for food stamps SNAP but you you could get that during CV19 then less to pay at grocery and in turn you can buy your RX. Good Luck!!!

        Reply
  15. Is anyone else having an issue with payment date saying in progress…? My husband has not received his benefits for 2 weeks they both say in progress it tells me that he is suppose to get paid but still nothing. We didn’t have any issue until child support started to come out last week and we still haven’t gotten his money for last week either.. it states not problems found

    Reply
    • I’m in the same situation. Every claim filed prior to last week was listed with a payment number the next day. Now, last week’s payment (for the prior week), and this week’s payment (for last week – filed today), both show “In Progress”. Also, the $600 stimulus addition was not listed in the last two weeks’ claim summaries, even though this benefit was supposed to last through the week ending 7/25 (last week). No issue with the claim, so I don’t know what’s happening, and that’s unsettling. I’ll just keep filing weekly and if it goes another week, will start reaching out to PA for assistance. Maybe they’re just overwhelmed, or maybe the stimulus being in “ending or extending” limbo has something to do with it. Patience, I tell myself, patience.

      Reply
        • Thanks Tina…that makes me relax a bit. I tend to fret. So clarify if you would, when the week’s status was shown as “In Progress”, was your regular UC listed, and the stimulus not? And then, when you did receive a payment, was it for regular UC plus the $600? SG

  16. I was overpaid with the reg. unemployment benefits plus the extra $600 benefit for 2 weeks back in April.

    I reported the overage and was not paid for 5 weeks, i thought I was paying off the overpayment with the req. Unemployment and the extra $600; that was not the case.

    Per the unemployment “specialist” im only eligible for the reg. Unemployment and not the $600, because I owe to the overpayment office.
    She said I would have to be making payments plus they would be taking all of my unemployment benefits. I told her that is not helpful as I was paid the overage with the extra $600 benefit, unemployment is my only source of income.
    If I owed money to any government agencies I would still be eligible for the extra $600 a week plus the reg. Unemployment, Which then i would be paying off the balances with the extra $600+ the reg unemployment owed which is fine, im paying it off..

    But that apparently is not the case.
    Im paid only the reg. Unemployment benefit.

    Reply
  17. We have a scheduled shutdown for this week of July 4th. We get to draw unemployment. I live in Alabama. My question is do we get to draw the 600 dollars also since this is a scheduled shutdown? Thank you!

    Reply

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