$400 weekly unemployment bonus: When could checks be sent? What you should know

March 2, 2021 0 By boss

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


Sarah Tew/CNET

The $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief plan is moving forward through Congress after being passed by the House of Representatives late Friday night. Not only does the bill contain a third stimulus check for up to $1,400 per person but it includes additional unemployment benefits of $400 a week for millions of unemployed workers in the US.

The stimulus bill also includes more benefits for you and your family, like an expansion to the Child Tax Credit. One item that could very well be left out of legislation, however, is a boost to the federal minimum wage rate, which right now may fall outside the rules of the bill. The goal for Congress is to tie up any loose ends on the bill before the $300 unemployment assistance expires on March 14.

As it currently stands, those receiving unemployment would see an extra $400 per week on their unemployment checks until the end of August, a $100 increase from the $300 assistance that was passed in December. Here’s everything you need to know about how the new package will help workers who are unemployed. 

What will the next relief bill do for 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 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 assistance 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 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. 

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


Sarah Tew/CNET

How many more $300 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 — a little over a month 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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