The extra $ 600 in weekly unemployment benefits expired – but gig workers and self-employed Americans still qualify for benefits

For the first time during the pandemic, weekly unemployment claims dipped below 1 million, but there are likely to be many more Americans eligible for unemployment benefits that were not applicable.

When the $ 2 trillion CARES law was passed in March, the self-employed, self-employed, gig workers and other non-traditional workers were eligible for unemployment benefits. Even though the federally-funded $ 600 per week in enhanced unemployment benefits, which was also part of the CARES Act, expired on July 31, these types of workers can still collect government unemployment benefits by the end of the year.

‘There is certainly a chance that the $ 600 loss of the claimant will change’

– Michele Evermore, Senior Policy Analyst at the National Employment Rights Project

This nuance may have been lost in translation when the $ 600 benefit expired, said Michele Evermore, a senior policy analyst at the National Employment Law Project, an advocacy organization focused on labor rights.

“There is definitely a chance that the $ 600 loss will change reporting behavior,” she said, meaning that unemployed workers may have mistakenly assumed they would no longer be eligible for unemployment benefits after July 31. A total of 10 million Americans have already approved for unemployment benefits that would otherwise not be eligible for or not under the CARES Act, Evermore said.

Unemployment benefits are based on how much money a worker earned while they were employed. For traditional employees, that amount is automatically reported to employee agencies. But self-employed and gig workers often miss the opportunity to provide an exact amount of net income, Evermore said.

“But if they can prove that they got jobs and income or were offered a job and that job offer was withdrawn because of COVID-19,” she said, they can collect what amounts to half the average weekly unemployment benefit in their state.

In all 50 states and Washington DC, the minimum amount is more than $ 100 per week

In many cases allowing them to accumulate more in unemployment benefits than they would if they had a traditional job where their income was reported automatically, Evermore MarketWatch reported.

At the very least, gig workers, self-employed, and other self-employed workers can collect the equivalent of the average weekly benefit in their state. In all 50 states and Washington DC, the minimum amount is more than $ 100 per week, according to the Department of Labor. This is especially important because it means that these types of workers are eligible for an additional $ 300 per week under the executive order of President Donald Trump. (Anyone who receives at least $ 100 in unemployment benefits from their state would be eligible for the additional $ 300.)

However, it may take some time before these workers actually get these benefits. State officials have said that agencies are not well equipped to implement the changes that Trump’s executive order requires.

Evermore said she hopes Congress will consider extending the period of gigs and self-employed people can collect unemployment benefits, but she is “worried that we will reach a deadlock in December, as we now see with the $ 600.”