Congress Expands Unemployment Benefits in $2 Trillion Stimulus Package

Congress Expands Unemployment Benefits in $2 Trillion Stimulus Package

Faced with unprecedented levels of unemployment as a result of the coronavirus global pandemic, President Trump has signed a $2 trillion stimulus bill that will send up to $1,200 to each adult and expand eligibility for unemployment benefits.

The president signed the bill, known as the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, on March 27th, just hours after the House of Representatives approved the law. The Senate had passed the bill unanimously a few days earlier. 

Among many other provisions, the new law:

  • provides for direct cash payments of up to $1,200 to each qualifying adult, with an additional $500 for each child age 16 or under in the household
  • adds up to $600 per week to state-provided unemployment benefits through July 31
  • waives the one-week waiting period for unemployment benefits that most states impose
  • expands eligibility for unemployment benefits to self-employed workers, and entitles them to an additional $600 per week of benefits; and
  • adds up to 13 weeks of unemployment benefits on top of what states already provide, up to 39 weeks.

The week before the bill was signed, more than 3 million people filed for unemployment benefits, smashing the previous record from 1982 of 695,000.

Read more about your legal rights during the coronavirus outbreak.

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