Do You Qualify For $300 A Week Unemployment?

Not everyone will qualify for the $300 a week supplemental unemployment benefits.

Here’s what you need to know.

Unemployment Benefits

After Congress failed to secure a stimulus deal, and the $600 a week supplemental federal unemployment benefits expired in late July, President Donald Trump issued an executive order that would have provided $400 a week in supplemental unemployment benefits. However, the $400 benefit was contingent upon states funding 25%, or $100. Later, the U.S. Labor Department said that states could apply their current state unemployment benefits toward the 25% share, which effectively reduced the weekly unemployment benefit to $300 instead of $400. While these unemployment benefits can help provide supplemental income, it’s important to note that not everyone wants these unemployment benefits will necessarily qualify. Here are 3 reasons that you may not qualify for these $300 a week unemployment benefits:


1. You must receive at least $100 of weekly unemployment

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To qualify for these weekly supplemental unemployment benefits, you must be eligible to receive at least $100 of weekly unemployment benefits from August 1, 2020 from an existing unemployment program such as state unemployment or other pandemic unemployment compensation programs. Some examples of these unemployment benefit programs include state unemployment benefits, Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). Some labor rights advocates say that this requirement disproportionately impacts individuals with lower income who need the supplemental income the most.


2. You are unemployed due to Covid-19

In most states, you also need to self-certify through your state that you are unemployed or partially unemployed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. That may sound like a simple requirement. However, under the Cares Act (the $2.2 trillion stimulus package passed in March), it was possible to receive the $600 a week enhanced unemployment benefits, even if you didn’t state you lost your job due to Covid-19. While many individuals have lost employment due to the Covid-19 pandemic, recipients may have listed an alternative reason when they initially applied for unemployment benefits. Plus, if you are still unemployed, you may have to self-certify on an ongoing basis.


3. You may have a job search requirement in your state

Some states may have a job search requirement to qualify for the $300 weekly unemployment benefits. This means that you may be required to demonstrate that you applied to a minimum number of jobs to receive your weekly unemployment benefit. In most states, this requirement could be one to five jobs. However, with many employers not hiring or hiring a limited amount, it may be a challenging requirement for some recipients to meet. This requirement was earlier waived due to the pandemic, and could be reinstated on a state by state basis. If you are self-employed or an independent contractor, this requirement may not apply to you.


How long will these unemployment benefits last?

These federal supplement unemployment benefits are not unlimited, and they are structured as grants from the federal government to the states. These federal unemployment benefits will be available until the earlier of:

  1. FEMA spends $44 billion from the Disaster Relief Fund (DRF); or
  2. The total unobligated balance of the DRF decreases to $25 billion; or
  3. Congress passes legislation for supplemental federal unemployment benefits, or
  4. December 27, 2020.

There are still other forms of unemployment benefits, including state unemployment benefits as well as federal unemployment benefits such as PEUC and PUA.


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