Covid Relief Bill Pays Extra $300 a Week in Jobless Benefits, Extends Aid for 4 Months

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  • A $748 billion bill issued Monday by a bipartisan group of senators would extend expiring unemployment programs by four months and pay a $300 weekly boost to jobless benefits.
  • The legislation, the Bipartisan COVID-19 Emergency Relief Act of 2020, would not pay the $300 subsidy retroactively.
  • The group also issued a separate $160 billion bill with state and local aid and business liability protections.

A Covid relief package released by a bipartisan group of senators Monday night would pay unemployed workers an extra $300 a week and extend jobless benefits for four months.

These unemployment provisions are in line with a draft legislative framework the group released last week.

$300 a week

The $300 weekly enhancement to benefits would not be retroactive. The federal government would pay the subsidy for any period of unemployment from Dec. 26 until April 19.  

That weekly subsidy would follow two prior stipends paid by the federal government: a $600 boost provided by the CARES Act through July, and a $300 Lost Wages Assistance payment created by President Donald Trump with federal disaster relief funds.

PUA and PEUC programs extended

The bipartisan legislation, the Bipartisan COVID-19 Emergency Relief Act of 2020, would also issue another 16 weeks of jobless benefits through two temporary federal programs set to expire in about a week and a half.

One of those programs, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, pays benefits to self-employed, gig, freelance and other workers typically unable to receive jobless aid from states.

The other, Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation, offers an extra 13 weeks of state benefits, which generally last for up to six months.

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The two programs would be extended to April 19 if the bill is passed.

Aside from unemployment provisions, the $748 billion legislation has other aid valves like support for small businesses, child-care grants, rental assistance and student loan relief.

The bipartisan group of senators issued a second, $160 billion bill containing funding for state and local governments and liability protections for businesses from coronavirus-related lawsuits.

Together, the bills offer $908 billion.

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