Extensions would prevent unemployment benefits from ending after one year

People line up for free food donations on November 19, 2020 outside the St. To receive Charles Borromeo Church in New York.

Robert Nickelsberg | Getty Images News | Getty Images

It is almost a year since the pandemic increased the labor market and landed millions of people in unemployment.

Normally, the demarcation problem will be difficult: states recalibrate aid grants a year after workers start receiving the money.

For many people, the end of this ‘benefit year’ usually means the loss of benefits or a much lower amount of weekly help, given labor dynamics for pandemic.

But most Americans who lost their jobs in March 2020, experts say, will not be negatively affected once a year is over.

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The House of Representatives on Saturday passed a $ 1.9 billion pandemic aid package that would extend benefits until August – pushing the “benefits year” problem, according to Andrew Stettner, an unemployment expert and senior associate at the Century Foundation.

“All their attention needs to be trained on what’s happening in Congress,” Stettner said of workers. “It will determine their fate.”

The Senate will now consider the emergency lending legislation, the U.S. Rescue Plan Act of 2021.

Democrats plan to send it to President Joe Biden’s desk on March 14, when unemployment benefits for the long-term unemployed will currently expire.

Unemployment benefit year

Recipients who have not worked since then will usually be withdrawn after a further lapse of a year. In most states, they would not have enough work history to be eligible for more assistance.

Recipients who have found little work since their first dismissal have experienced a similar problem – they may not have worked long hours or earned enough wages to qualify. If they do qualify, it will probably amount to a lower weekly amount.

These workers are fast approaching the end of their benefit year in their state unemployment portals and are panicking, Stettner said.

However, the end dates listed on state websites could be misleading for employees, Stettner said.

This is because the US bailout plan would extend temporary unemployment programs – Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation – which are federal.

And through these extensions, individuals can reap benefits for more than a year until federal programs end, Stettner said. Only in some circumstances can someone’s weekly benefits be less, but not more than $ 25 a week.

“People are really anxious about this situation, and there is confusion about it,” he said.

But workers must remain vigilant, Stettner said. Kinks in state-of-the-art technology systems can inadvertently kick people off the benefits or lower their weekly rate, he said.

“There could be mistakes,” Stettner said. “But hopefully it will go smoothly.”

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