$400 weekly unemployment bonus: When will checks go out? What you should know

$400 more per week in unemployment insurance is looking more likely by the day.


Sarah Tew/CNET

The $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief plan passed the House after hours of debate. In the bill is a third stimulus check, an expansion to the Child Tax Credit and $400 bonus unemployment checks that will take Americans until the end of August. 

Next up for the legislation is the Senate. There will be a debate on the bill itself and then a vote. One change that will likely happen while in the Senate is the removal of the $15 federal minimum wage hike, which the Senate parliamentarian decided didn’t meet the chamber’s rules. An amended bill is projected to pass in the Senate, before President Joe Biden signs it into law — before the $300 bonus unemployment checks expire on March 14.

At that point, jobseekers would see an extra $400 a week on their unemployment checks until the end of August, a $100 bump from the $300 that passed at the end of December. Here’s everything you need to know about how the new package will help unemployed workers. 

What will the next relief plan do for unemployed workers?

The $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package seeks to extend enhanced unemployment benefits until the end of August and increase the weekly federal bonus to $400 instead of the current $300. This is down from the $600 per week extended in the CARES Act, on top of unemployment checks issued by the state.

One additional change Biden has favored is automated triggers, according to The Washington Post. When certain economic indicators change, such as the unemployment rate, the aid provided would change accordingly. This will allow the federal government to continue providing the amount of help as needed for unemployed workers without having to pass an additional package. 

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Will the $400 extra unemployment check be retroactive? 

So far, there is no indication that the unemployment payments will be retroactive. That could change once a bill makes its way through Congress, or it could be determined by the states. 

How long will the extra $400 checks last for Americans?

Biden’s initial plan called for the extended benefits to last until the end of September with triggers that would extend the benefits after September for those who continue to be out of work and include automatic payment adjustments linked to health and economic conditions. However, it has since changed to the end of August with no indications of an extension past September. 

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For millions of out-of-work Americans, unemployment insurance is a lifeline.


Sarah Tew/CNET

How many more $300 bonus checks are left? 

The $900 billion COVID-19 relief package passed in December added 11 additional weeks of enhanced unemployment benefits. This includes the $300 weekly checks, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance for gig workers and an extension to benefits provided by the state. The official expiration date for these benefits is March 14 — a little over a month away — but there is a phase-out period until April 5 since some recipients have yet to receive any payments from their states’ unemployment offices. That leaves 

What happens at the end of August? 

Biden has said multiple times since elected that there will be more relief coming, but he has yet to indicate when that will happen. As of now, bonus unemployment checks will end before September. 



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