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Extra $600 unemployment benefits will start flowing as early as this week for a lucky few

A closed sign is shown with an empty parking lot in Detroit, Thursday, April 2, 2020. By Tami Luhby, CNN

(CNN) -- Some jobless Americans will start seeing heftier unemployment checks as soon as this week, depending on where they live.

States are beginning to implement the historic enhancement of unemployment benefits that Congress included in its $2.2 trillion relief package to address the coronavirus pandemic savaging the economy. It includes a $600 weekly increase for up to four months, on top of state benefits.

Among the earliest beneficiaries are unemployed people in New York, which has emerged as the epicenter of the US outbreak -- but laid-off workers in most states will eventually get the full amount due, retroactive to as early as March 29.

States had to wait until the federal Department of Labor issued guidance on the extra funds, which will be fully covered by the federal government. That guidance came out this past weekend, a week after the bill was signed.

However, many states still don't have a timetable for implementing the new pandemic unemployment assistance program -- which covers those who lost their jobs or had to stop working because of the coronavirus -- because it requires a more extensive change to their applications and systems.

The pandemic program extends jobless benefits to independent contractors, gig economy workers and the self-employed, who typically don't qualify in many states -- which are now scrambling to figure out who exactly qualifies and what documentation these workers will need.

New York to send enhanced benefit this week

Jobless New Yorkers who are already getting an unemployment check can expect to see the additional $600 this week, a state Department of Labor spokeswoman told CNN on Monday. Those filing new claims should start receiving both their state and enhanced federal payments in two to three weeks.

"The federal government says they will reimburse us for it, but people need money now in their pocket," Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday. "New York will be doing that immediately."

California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Thursday that Golden State residents would also begin seeing larger checks on Sunday.

"Many Californians are feeling the effects of this pandemic, and this added benefit is very important to our workers so they have the needed resources during this difficult time," said Newsom, a Democrat, noting that last week the Employment Development Department processed more than 925,000 claims -- a 2,418% increase over the same week past year.

In Missouri, eligible unemployed residents should begin receiving the federal benefits as early as the week of April 12, after the state Division of Employment Security updates its technology and implements various procedures, the agency said Monday.

Meanwhile, Indiana expects to start sending out the larger checks the week of April 20th, Fred Payne, commissioner of the state Department of Workforce Development, said Monday.

For Michelle Parks, the additional funds can't come soon enough.

The Pittsboro, Indiana, mother of two sons was furloughed from her job at a retailer at the end of March. State officials initially said the extra $600 might not show up in checks until May, which made her "extremely nervous" since her state benefit will only be $390 a week. She still has to pay more than $600 a month in health insurance premiums to maintain the family's coverage.

"I looked at my husband and said, 'What are we going to do? How are we going to make it on this?' " said Parks, who wrote to her federal lawmakers asking about the delay. "There has to be some sort of urgency here. This is needed at this moment."

Parks, who said she was able to file her initial claim online fairly easily at the end of March, was happy to hear Monday that she'll receive the federal benefits in about two weeks.

"April 20th feels like a win in this book," she said. "It's better than May."

Other states, including Ohio, Oregon and Texas, are still working on the process to send out the extra federal money, agency officials said. Some states will provide a single larger weekly check, while others may opt to send the state and federal benefits separately.

Payments will be retroactive

The rollout comes at a time when states are overwhelmed by an unprecedented crush of people filing for first-time benefits as companies large and small lay off and furlough workers amid the pandemic.

Nearly 10 million Americans submitted initial claims in the last two weeks of March. But countless more were unable to get through to their state unemployment agencies and complete their applications.

But those who haven't been able to file their initial claims yet shouldn't lose out. The federal enhancement will be paid retroactively to claims filed starting March 29 in most, if not all, states. The additional payments end by July 31 at the latest, under the current legislation.

Independent contractors and the self-employed will have to wait longer

States are working on creating online applications and updating back-end systems to begin enrolling their jobless residents in the pandemic program. Though it's modeled on the existing disaster unemployment assistance program, it's still a big lift for many states since they typically do not provide jobless benefits to independent contractors and the self-employed, who are now covered by the federal relief.

"There's a huge difference between modifying our current unemployment system or process to include the $600 federal benefit for those already eligible and creating an entirely new system for a totally new class of covered workers," Payne said.

Some of the newly eligible have written to CNN and complained on social media that they are being rejected. Many states are encouraging these residents to wait until the new applications are posted online to file their claims.

The Labor Department guidance did not provide many details on what documents independent contractors and the self-employed could file to show their income over the past five quarters, which is the typical period upon which benefits are based, said Michele Evermore, senior policy analyst at the National Employment Law Project.

But she suggests they consider using 1099 tax documents, bank records showing checks or deposits from employers or earnings information from gig economy apps. Some workers, especially those who rely on tips, may just have to attest to what they made.

Also, some of these freelancers and contractors who saw their jobs or income affected by the coronavirus may have to attest as to why they had to stop working.

Some advocates are worried that the Labor Department's guidance is not clear and may end up excluding some of these workers.

For instance, the guidance provides an example of a ride-sharing driver who is unable to continue working because a state or municipality is restricting movement through an emergency order. Also, the document lists someone who has had a positive coronavirus test as an example of who might qualify. The fear among advocates is that those who don't meet these specific criteria may wind up excluded in some states.

"I'm concerned that some states are going to interpret this narrowly," said Evermore, who hopes additional information is issued.

Also, some feel the guidance requires too much documentation during a national emergency.

"Most importantly, the guidance forces workers to wade through significant red tape to prove their eligibility, which will inevitably prevent workers from receiving assistance they desperately need and should qualify for," said Sen. Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat.

The Department of Labor did not return requests for comment.

The-CNN-Wire™ & © 2018 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

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35 Comments

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robert 16 days ago
It took a few days for the $ to arrive in my account... It didnt show up as a deposit or anything in my actual bank / nobody seen any incoming $ or anything & all of a sudden - It was there....!!!! Hang in there
Carl 17 days ago
I just checked my unemployment account and it says the $600 x 3 weeks retroactive i was owed was paid on May 8th but nothing showing in my bank account yet.
adrian 18 days ago
I still didn't get my back pay and now I can't check cuz the system is out till tomorrow... What do I do!!!???? This is bullshit for real!!! I knew it that they would skip over me what do I do now!! Unbelievable with this!!!!
sandi 18 days ago
.I got my 600.00 last monday but it was only for 3 weeks of the back pay they still owe me for the week ending 4/4 mine only went back to 4/11 i called and talked to them twice this week they keep on saying their trying to get these things fixed.i thought it all was suppose to be out by the 8th .well that ain't happening.why didn't they pay me the four weeks at once.when i talked to them they did say i had one more week coming. duh..... now they have to go back to all these people that only got 3 weeks and pay them for the one week. they make more work for them selfs no wonder their so far behind. alot of states don't pay taxes but good ole wisconsin does.i don't get it.



robert 18 days ago
Although it does not show in my bank account nor does the bank say that I have any money sitting in limbo ,,, my UI DWD page shows that payments have been made..... they must have paid it at the very last second because I checked my UI info at 11:30 pm last night
Kyle 19 days ago
Clearly they (dad) put in language that gives them wiggle room so they don’t have to meet the deadline they set. The management at dwd should have their pay suspended until they are caught up. Then see how fast this all happens. Another week has gone by and still not caught up. They knew about this and could have started at least 3 weeks ago. My sister in MN has been getting over 1200 per week for 4 weeks! Nice job Wisconsin
Tera 20 days ago
Mine just updated and shows all 4 weeks of back pay now!! Go check your accounts!!!yessss finally!!!!😊😊😊
Joseph Tera 20 days ago
where on the unemployment site
jason 20 days ago
This is truth !! I heard dwd i.t. department could not re write the 50 year old code needed to process back payments. Because of this failure, nobody had the guts to reach out to other states for help or try to employ better computer programmers. Instead Wisconsin decided to say FUk it! And just move forward paying only 600 from last week on. So they basically screwed us all. The $ that was rightfully ours is going to other needs. Wisconsin sucks
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Trina 21 days ago
Yes, those that were already on unemployment will receive the retroactive payments starting from the week of March 26-April 4th through toJuly. I just received the first 600 extra unemployment yesterday 5th. However I also have not received any retroactive payments as was told would given in one lump sum. For what reason this has not accured yet is still not known for there is no one available to answer that question at least from the unemployment agency due to the high call volumes, there is no getting through. A great suggestion would be for someone from the agency to put out there to the American people the information that we so desperately need to hear and not leave us hanging.
Donna Trina 21 days ago
I totally agree. If someone has gotten through and has an answer could you please let us know what was said.
Donna Trina 21 days ago
Cbs58 no one can get through to unemployment to find out why the back pay wasn't given. Can you maybe find out for all your followers & let us know? Thank you very much from all of us 😊
sandi Trina 18 days ago
i got through this past week two times you just have to start dialing at 7: 32 am. tuesday when i called i was number 53 when i called friday at the same time i was number 21 you just have to keep on hitting redial
Wellners54140 22 days ago
i got the $600 for this week but no backpay and it still doesn't show on my main screen or payment history about the backpay being adding
Donna Wellners54140 22 days ago
I also got my $600.00 but no back pay. If you find out any information about why etc. Can you please let me know. Thanks & hang in there.
Joseph Donna 22 days ago
no back pay here either..how many weeks do they go back? 4?
Nakiiya 23 days ago
I got the extra 600 no backpack yet
Donna 23 days ago
What happened to all the recent comments? I've been following so I can get info and they have been taken off. Why?
Joseph Donna 23 days ago
they delete everything donna..
Donna Joseph 23 days ago
Thanks for getting back to me I don't understand why, the delete recent ones & keep ones days past.
Joseph Donna 22 days ago
I dont get that either...doesn't make sense
Wellners54140 27 days ago
it is amazing how i was on here earlier and this tv station takes down all comments it does not want on here almost everything is gone including my comments and posts pretty darn sad they know the truth but don't want everyone else to know
Nate 27 days ago
What's bull sh is that if the government wants our money they take ,garnish, steal the money from our taxes ECT but when It comes to paying us well f you
Wellners54140 Nate 26 days ago
have you received anything saying you got the extra money
suzsnne 30 days ago
Im trying to find out if you were already on unployment before the virus are you still entitled to the extra 600 a week? Does anyone know?
Nate suzsnne 27 days ago
I'm in the same boat wondering that myself they owe me and all these nice people on here back pay from April 4th
suzsnne 30 days ago
I'm trying to find out if people who were already on unemployment before the.virus are entitled to the extra 600 a week? Does anyone know?
Choirmember 45 days ago
We need to find out when are the $600.00 Unemployment stimulus package going to be released to those of us who are unemployed? Will the checks be retroactive. Please do an update story on this.
Dan 45 days ago
The sad part with this whole extra $600 a week unemployment is that by the time wisconsin gets it started nobody will get it cause it will be over. So the rich will get richer and forget the rest of us. Unemployment is a joke. I've had to pass on jobs now due to being home with my kids full time and no sitter. Us normal people are gonna starve while the rich gets everything they want.
JeffreyJ7 Dan 30 days ago
So true. I have already received my notices for back rent. And no matter what they say that there telling creditors to back off. Spectrum is already threatening to turn off my service and the repo man is looking for my car. It’s our money. Why are the holding it.I’ve only got 314 a week my rent is $1300 and got to take care of a 2 kids.
Kelly 46 days ago
I agree 💯% with Jason, Wisconsin is always the last for everything. Our unemployment benefits max amount of $370 a week which is the lowest of most if not all states. I get the very low amount of $173 I can't live off that, who can? My rent alone is $1000 not including food etc... and they say we're not going to see an increase possibly until May sometime and they expect us to keep struggling why their still getting paid. Unfair!
JeffreyJ7 Kelly 30 days ago
So true. I have already received my notices for back rent. And no matter what they say that there telling creditors to back off. Spectrum is already threatening to turn off my service and the repo man is looking for my car. It’s our money. Why are the holding it.I’ve only got 314 a week my rent is $1300 and got to take care of a 2 kids.
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