Through the federal CARES Act, coronavirus relief law authorized a $600 weekly benefit for unemployed individuals. This benefit expires at the end of this month, and Congress does not have a clear plan to pass an extension.
What We Know:
- The CARES Act was signed into law in March due to the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic. The bill is a $2.2 trillion economic stimulus passed by the 116th U.S. Congress. You are eligible for the CARES Act if you were furloughed or unemployed due to COVID-19, including self-employed individuals, independent contractors, gig workers, and those who have existing federal and state unemployment benefits.
- The unemployment rate is now higher than the Great Recession rates from 2007 to 2009, which peaked at 10% in October 2009. “The U.S. unemployment rate dropped to 11.1 percent in June 2020, easing further from an all-time high of 14.7 percent reached in April and remaining below market expectations of 12.3 percent, as many people returned to the labor market following weeks of coronavirus-induced restrictions”, according to Trading Economics.
- Many states are thinking about shutting the economy back down due to a rise in case numbers. For many Americans, the weekly unemployment is their only source of income to cover their costs during the pandemic.
- Many states are attempting to recover from the effects of the pandemic thus far. The state of Georgia’s unemployment rate peaked in June at 12.6%, making it 5.0 percentage points lower, and they now have 373,404 unemployed residents. Around 32 million Americans were collecting unemployment benefits during the pandemic, according to the U.S. Labor Department.
Unemployment Rate: Georgia, National
Note: Recessions shown in gray
- States pay aid according to a schedule of a “benefit week,” but since July 31 falls on a Friday, it requires the subsidy to end on or before July 31. The first round of stimulus checks in the Spring paid up to $1,200 for individuals and $500 per child.
Congress returns from recess Monday, July 29, and the Senate is expected to present their draft for a second stimulus package.