Enhanced Unemployment Benefits Negotiations Update - Tuesday, August 4th
By UnemploymentPUA.com Staff, Tuesday, August 4th, 2020
The UnemploymentPUA.com hotline is receiving a large volume of emails asking what is going on with the negotiations regarding the $600 FPUC extension since there are so much news flowing in from many sources. This news article brings an update as of 3:00PM EST regarding the status of the negotiations. While many other issues are discussed in the new pandemic assistance bill including stimulus checks and payroll tax reductions, this report will focus solely on the enhanced unemployment benefits.
First off, we want to address a question we've received a lot lately. Many people are asking us whether they should continue certifying while waiting for the FPUC to be extended or whether to preserve their benefits so that they don't use up their remaining benefit weeks while there is no $600 extra. To that we answer, yes you should continue to certify every week! First off, the extension will most likely be retroactive, meaning once a bill is approved you will receive the extra amount for all weeks up to that point. Secondly, in many states, when you stop certifying it automatically closes your claim and you would need to apply again!
Let's get to the important issue, the extra $600, which has now expired. When you certified for the week ending in August 1st, 2020, you may have received 70-80% less of what you have gotten for previous weeks! This certainly is not a sustainable amount financially for most of us.
The HEROES act which passed congress in May and included extension of the $600 FPUC through January 2021 was dead on arrival at the senate, and unfortunately no serious negotiations started until last week, when it was too late.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has expressed that she is committed to the $600 amount.
The republicans oppose such an amount, claiming it disincentivizes people from going back to work since many make more with unemployment benefits than they do from actually going to work. This in spite of the fact that the economy hasn't yet fully opened and many businesses are still closed due to recent spikes in COVID-19 cases, so not enough jobs are available.
Regardless, initially the republicans suggested a 70% wage replacement bill, meaning that people would get 70% of the wages as unemployment benefits (instead of around 50-60%), but for man people and especially minimum wage workers, that increase would result in a very small amount and would not be enough.
That plan appears to have been scratched already, and instead Republicans are now offering a $200 increase, which is still far from the $600 amount. While Democrats have said they won't budge, it is possible that they will reach some agreement in the middle such as $400 or $500.
In the meantime, Republicans have offered a short term (one week) extension to the FPUC which was rejected by democrats since they want a more permanent solution, as part of a larger bill. President Trump and Chief of Staff Mark Meadows have announced that they might be seeking to extend unemployment benefits through executive orders if no agreement is reached soon, though it is unclear about the legality and practicality of that since Congress is the body in charge of allocating funds.
With rising pressure mounting on both sides, we predict an agreement will be reached by the end of this week, or early next week. UnemploymentPUA.com will continue to monitor the situation and post the latest news, so make sure to bookmark and check often regarding any developments in the negotiations!