Some workers receive an additional $ 100 on top of the $ 300 weekly unemployment increase

The $ 900 billion Covid bill unveiled by Congress this week gives an additional $ 300 weekly federal raise to the millions of Americans claiming unemployment across the country. But this new incentive package also includes an additional $ 100 boost for some employees if their state chooses to provide it.

The supplement, included in the text of the Emergency Act, is designed to support employees who have both wage income, such as from a W-2 job, and a self-employed or self-employed or self-employed contractor, such as from a 1099 role, but benefit In the calculation, no account is taken of their earnings as a self-employed person.

These individuals may see artificially low unemployment benefits, experts say, because their payments are based solely on wages listed on their annual W-2 tax forms, rather than including self-employment income, which can be much higher.

Take, for example, an entertainer who earns most of his income by acting as an independent contractor, as well as making some money from a W-2 restaurant job. If the entertainer loses his job at the restaurant and qualifies for traditional unemployment, he will not be eligible for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) available to freelancers and gig workers. That means his weekly unemployment check will be lower because the income he earns from the restaurant job is significantly lower than what he earns as a freelancer. PUA payments are at least equal to half of the state’s average unemployment benefit and last 39 weeks.

The additional $ 100 per week, on top of a federal raise of $ 300 per week for anyone receiving jobless aid, is designed to close this gap.

Who is eligible for the additional $ 100

Employees who earned at least $ 5,000 in self-employment income in 2019 are eligible for the additional $ 100 per week from December 27, 2020 through March 14, 2021.

At this point, it’s unclear how states will determine eligibility and manage the new $ 100 weekly payments. It is “highly unlikely” that states will be able to proactively identify people who qualify for this benefit, said Michele Evermore, senior policy analyst with the National Employment Law Project. “Employees affected by this will definitely need to contact their government agencies to find out the process,” she says.

According to the Washington Center for Equitable Growth, there are between 10.5 million and 15 million independent contractors in the US, citing data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and research from academics at Harvard University and Princeton University.

After passing the bill, state unemployment agencies will have to wait for federal guidelines to determine how new benefits to residents should be administered. They can also choose not to enroll, but given the way states have embraced CARES Act measures, that’s unlikely. In addition, it may take a month or more for this benefit to take effect, Evermore adds, as it is a new program and “states will have to find a way to move information between systems in a way they didn’t have to in the past.”

Experts have already predicted it will take three to six weeks to roll out the latest unemployment improvements included in the $ 900 billion rescue package, which also provides a $ 300 weekly boost to all recipients and ensures PUA and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation in March with 11 weeks of eligibility 2021.

Even with the new Emergency Relief Act, an estimated 12 million Americans and their families will experience a temporary hiatus from unemployment relief in January.

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