The federal government has temporarily vastly expanded unemployment benefits, giving jobless workers $600 more per week on top of their existing state benefits, which range from $200 to $550 on average per week depending on the state.

The extra money would last for four months and is a part of the $2 trillion stimulus bill passed by the House and signed by the president on Friday.


As governors began shutting down non-essential businesses to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, unemployment soared with a record 3.28 million people filing for unemployment benefits last week.

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The bill also created a new pandemic unemployment assistance program, which extends benefits to independent contractors, freelancers and “gig” workers like Uber drivers, who are unable to work because of the virus but do not qualify for standard benefits.

According to the Department of Labor, those seeking benefits should contact their state’s unemployment insurance program as soon as possible after becoming unemployed.

“To receive unemployment insurance benefits, you need to file a claim with the unemployment insurance program in the state where you worked,” the Department’s website reads. “Depending on the state, claims may be filed in person, by telephone, or online.”

According to the DOl, most people receive their first benefit check two to three weeks after filing their claim.

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