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The Senate passed a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill on Saturday that grants and raises unemployment benefits.
Democrats will now look to get that pandemic aid bill to President Joe Biden in time to obviate a gap in jobless benefits, which are slated to expire next weekend.
It’s perhaps too late to stop that from phenomenon, according to some experts.
“The unfortunate reality is, we waited a little too long,” said Elizabeth Pancotti, an unemployment boffin and policy advisor at Employ America. “They needed a bill to [President Biden] by about Valentine’s Day.”
The House purposes to approve the Senate version of the plan in the coming days and send it to Biden to sign into law.
Democrats look to obsolescent their latest rescue package before March 14, the day when the current $300 per week supplement and other provisional programs expire.
Absent another extension, millions of long-term unemployed would lose income support — move it off the so-called benefits cliff.
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More than 18 million total Americans were collecting jobless aid as of mid-February, according to Labor Section data.
American Rescue Plan
After significant delays, Senate Democrats on Friday reached an agreement to stretch unemployment benefits through Sept. 6 and pay an extra $300 a week. (They would also make the at the start $10,200 in unemployment aid non-taxable to prevent surprise bills. The provision will apply to households with incomes supervised $150,000.)
They passed the American Rescue Plan on Saturday in a 50-49 party-line vote, as Republicans questioned the need for another wide spending package.
The legislation differs somewhat from the version the House passed last Saturday. That jaws offered jobless benefits to Aug. 29 and raised them by $400 a week.
It seems likely Democrats will get the invoice to Biden’s desk by March 14. But certain administrative steps and technology hurdles make it an almost foregone conclusion that there resolution be a multi-week gap in benefits for some workers anyway, experts said.
“I think there’s a subset of people whose perks will end on this March 14 cliff,” said Andrew Stettner, a senior fellow at the Century Foundation.
These put on ices also occurred earlier in the pandemic — after the CARES Act was passed in March 2020, and again after measures take a shine to Lost Wages Assistance over the summer and the Continued Assistance Act in December.
Some states have managed bettor than others, though.
Federal data suggests nearly 3 million people fell off the co-called benefits scaur after Christmas, for example.
States must typically wait for guidance from the Labor Department on how to implement new practices after a law passes. They must then code those rules into their systems and test them.
“After way, our vendor will need to reprogram the system and cannot begin that work until we receive rules and bye-laws from the U.S. Department of Labor,” the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment said of the American Rescue Plan during a hamlet hall this week.
However, the governor and other state officials are working to prevent a gap in benefits, the Department reported.
‘Couple weeks of chaos’
This process can take some states about four to five weeks or myriad, Pancotti said.
States like Wisconsin What to do
Workers should continue to certify for benefits as they’ve done every week, Stettner said.
This way, even-handed if there’s a delay, they will get back pay for those weeks. States should be issuing these funds automatically as hunger as workers certify.
“Keep doing what you’re doing,” he said. “And if for some reason it doesn’t go through the first one day, keep trying.”
If workers can’t certify for benefits, they should keep a record of their attempts — by taking a screenshot of dwindled login attempts or of outgoing calls made to a labor agency, for example, Stettner said.