New York City

How Will Trump’s Stalled Pandemic Stimulus Bill Signing Impact Unemployment Benefits?

Lauren Costantino, THE CITY

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A shuttered restaurant in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, May 4, 2020.
A shuttered restaurant in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn | Ben Fractenberg/THE CITY

President Donald Trump’s stalled signing of the $900 billion pandemic stimulus bill Sunday came a day after two key pandemic unemployment aid programs expired under the CARES Act. 

The president’s delay spurred concerns about a lapse in benefits. But unemployed workers in New York are not expected to lose this week’s benefits over Trump’s timing, according to a state Department of Labor spokesperson. 

This means New Yorkers will receive 11 full weeks of the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) of the extra $300 per week — including both the week ending Dec. 27 and the week ending Jan. 3.

Michele Evermore, employment law expert at the National Employment Law Project, said: “It was really confusing, but now it looks like this benefit week will be covered.” 

So when can you expect to see the new benefits in your account?

Next week, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo. He announced Tuesday afternoon that New Yorkers will receive extended federal unemployment benefits starting the week of Jan.  3. 

This includes extended Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation benefits and the additional $300 per week from Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation. You can read a summary of each of these programs here.

How can you access the new benefits?

If you are currently receiving unemployment benefits:

  • Continue to recertify 
  • No need to call to receive the extended benefits, according to the Department of Labor 

If you received benefits, but your benefit year has ended:

  • You need to reapply for unemployment benefits online

What about that extra $100 per week?

As we mentioned in our last update, it’s for workers who have both wage income (as recorded on a W-2 form) and are self-employed (like freelancers). 

These workers may have lost both jobs due to the pandemic. Workers in this situation could get traditional UI after losing their wage job. But if they made more than $5,000 of self-employment income, they would be ineligible for PUA, meaning their unemployment benefits could be significantly less. Now workers who can’t get PUA may be eligible for an extra $100 per week, in addition to the extra $300.

The benefit is called the Mixed Earner Unemployment Compensation (MEUC) program. New York has officially signed an agreement with the U.S. Department of Labor to offer these benefits to eligible workers. 

New York’s Labor Department is still waiting on guidance from the federal government on how exactly to implement that program, according to a spokesperson. We’ll keep you updated — including where to apply — as we learn more. 

Questions?

If you have specific questions about working or unemployment in New York City during the pandemic or something else you think we should cover, let us know by emailing opennewsroom@thecity.nyc.

For more jobs, work and unemployment resources, here’s what New Yorkers who attended THE CITY’s Open Newsroom shared. If you see something you believe we should include, tell us.

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