$400 weekly unemployment bonus: When could checks arrive? What to know now

March 4, 2021 0 By boss



$400 more per week in unemployment insurance is looking more likely by the day.

Sarah Tew/CNET

The Senate begins reviewing the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief plan Wednesday in an effort to fast-track the bill, which has already been passed by the House of Representatives. At this point, the bill contains a third stimulus check for up to $1,400 per person, as well as additional unemployment benefits of $400 a week for millions of unemployed US workers.

Other benefits in this stimulus bill include an expansion to the Child Tax Credit, which could bring more money to your family. There’s one benefit that is likely to be left out of the legislation — raising the federal minimum wage — which may fall outside the rules of the bill. Congress has a goal to pass the bill by March 14, before the $300 unemployment assistance expires.

It’s currently looking good for those who are receiving unemployment to get an extra $400 per week on their unemployment checks until the end of August — a $100 boost from what they’re currently receiving from the December bill. Here’s everything you need to know about how the new package will help people who are unemployed. 

How will the next relief bill help unemployed workers?

The $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package seeks to extend enhanced unemployment benefits until the end of August and increase the weekly federal bonus to $400 instead of the current $300. This is down from the $600 per week extended in the CARES Act, on top of unemployment checks issued by the state.

One additional change President Joe Biden has favored is automated triggers, according to The Washington Post. When certain economic indicators change, such as the unemployment rate, the aid provided would change accordingly. This would allow the federal government to continue providing the amount of help as needed for unemployed workers without having to pass an additional package. 

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Will the $400 extra unemployment bonus be retroactive? 

So far, there’s no indication the unemployment payments will be retroactive. That could change once a bill makes its way through Congress, or it could be determined by the states. 

How long will the extra $400 checks be extended for unemployed Americans?

Biden’s initial plan called for the extended benefits to last until the end of September, with triggers that would extend the benefits after September for those who continue to be out of work, and include automatic payment adjustments linked to health and economic conditions. However, the planned end date has since changed to the end of August with no indication of an extension. 


For millions of out-of-work Americans, unemployment insurance is a lifeline.

Sarah Tew/CNET

How many more $300 unemployment bonus checks are currently left? 

The $900 billion COVID-19 relief package passed in December added 11 additional weeks of enhanced unemployment benefits. This includes the $300 weekly checks, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance for gig workers and an extension to benefits provided by the state. The official expiration date for these benefits is March 14 — less than two weeks away — but there’s a phase-out period until April 5, since some recipients have yet to receive any payments from their states’ unemployment offices.

What will happen at the end of August? 

Since being elected, Biden has said multiple times that there will be more relief coming, but he has yet to indicate when that will happen. As of now, bonus unemployment checks will end before September.


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