Here's what you need to know about Unemployment Insurance in the CARES Act
March 30, 2020
Last week, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was signed into law. This legislation provides more than $2 trillion to support workers, small- and medium-sized businesses, and people experiencing unemployment.
The CARES Act was a remarkable improvement over the Senate’s initial proposal. But it did not include one of the major things I advocated for in my COVID-19 Economic Stabilization Plan: a Universal Basic Income of $2,000 per month given to every American. We were, however, able to secure one of my other top priorities: expanded Unemployment Insurance.
The CARES Act expands who is eligible to receive unemployment compensation, increases the weekly benefit value by $600 a week through July 31, 2020, and extends the maximum amount of time unemployment insurance is available from 26 to 39 weeks. That means that for those who have been laid off, furloughed, or are struggling in the gig economy will be eligible for regular unemployment compensation and receive an additional $600/week—up to $2,400/month.
Here are some other key improvements for those facing unemployment:
• Support for Unemployment Compensation for nonprofit organizations and state, tribal, and local governments. Most nonprofits, Indian Tribes, and governmental entities do not pay per-worker unemployment taxes and instead have “reimbursable arrangements” with state unemployment programs, which require them to reimburse the state for 100 percent of the cost of unemployment compensation paid to their furloughed or laid off workers. During the period of the national emergency, the federal government would . The CARES Act allows the federal government to pay 50 percent of the reimbursement for those workers so that their employers could follow public health recommendations. Workers at these organizations are also eligible for the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation supplement ($600 a week).
• Expanded “Work Sharing” programs to provide partial benefits to individuals with reduced hours. The federal government is temporarily providing full funding for states with Short-Time Compensation or “work sharing” programs in law. Work Share programs allow in which employers to voluntarily make an agreement with the state unemployment office to prevent layoffs by reducing employee hours, and workers with reduced hours are eligible for partial state UC benefits.
• The Families First Coronavirus Response Act provided $1 billion in administrative assistance to states to improve the administrative capabilities and speed of unemployment insurance offices. I continue to work with the U.S. Department of Labor and the State of Oregon’s Employment Department to ensure these resources are available and positively impacting Oregonians seeking unemployment insurance.
These are trying times for everyone. As we work toward a new package to provide Americans with more relief, it's important to thoroughly understand and take advantage of the resources at our disposal to remain afloat during COVID-19.
Visit my website for more information and frequently asked questions about unemployment and access other economic resources: https://blumenauer.house.gov/covid-19-economic-stabilization-resources
Stay home and stay safe.
Stay home and stay safe.