Second Stimulus Checks: Unemployment Benefits May Pay Just $5 a Week Without Deal

While Americans continue to wait for a second stimulus check bill to be approved, those currently on unemployment benefits may just be paid $5 a week without a deal. According to CNBC, there are more than 26 million Americans who are currently collecting unemployment benefits, per Labor Department data. The outlet goes on to point out that, several months into the pandemic, more than one million individuals are filing for unemployment every week.

When it comes to what states pay in unemployment, there is a varying scale from state to state. For example, even though the Labor Department reported that on average states had been paying unemployed workers $305 a week, some states pay significantly less. Specifically, the minimum unemployment payment in Hawaii is $5 a week, with a possible maximum of over $600, depending on the situation. The United States average of states’ weekly minimum benefits is $61 a week, CNBC notes.

Unemployed citizens had been receiving and extra $600 in benefits, provided by the CARES Act, but that expired at the end of July. House Democrats passed the HEROES Act, which would have been a second stimulus to meet the financial needs of Americans everywhere. Senate Republicans labeled the bill too costly and drafted a bill of their own, the HEALS Act. Democrats felt that it did meet enough of the needs that Americans have amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, so negotiations stalled and no agreement was settled on.

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This led to President Donald Trump signing executive orders, which gave FEMA permission to send out an extra $300 unemployment benefit money to states that applied for it. That extra benefit, however, expired in mid-September. According to Business Insider, nearly 30 million people on unemployment benefits will only receive what their state of residence has allocated to pay out for the foreseeable future. At this time, there is no word on when a new bill may be voted on.