Coronavirus

$600 unemployment benefits: what to do if I didn't get the money?

Those collecting unemployment during the coronavirus pandemic since March have been getting an extra $600 in their benefits but that scheme ends on 31 July.

$600 unemployment benefits: what to do if I didn't get the money?
Scott Heins AFP

The $600 weekly federal unemployment checks that millions of Americans are receiving amid the coronavirus pandemic will end by 31 July as they await the new HEALS Act deal regarding this measure. The Republican-controlled Senate has suggested extending these benefits for two more months but instead of $600 Americans will only receive $200.

Tens of millions haven been receiving these benefits since March, when President Donald Trump signed the CARES Act, but some people are still waiting to receive this money. When the pandemic first hit the country, state offices around the country were inundated with a massive wave of claims.

In Texas, more than 148,000 people who have been deemed eligible for unemployment are still waiting for their payments. Roughly 55,000 people are in the same situation in Florida. People whose benefits claims are flagged can end up facing a lengthy wait amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Among contested claims, 84% were getting decisions within 21 days in February, according to the U.S. Department of Labor and in June, just 39% were hearing back within that timeline. Although the $600 benefits boost ends this month, some claimants will still be owed potentially thousands of dollars in retroactive payments for the weeks they were entitled to get them but didn’t, CNBC was told by Stephen Wandner of the National Academy of Social Insurance.

For those who are still waiting the best way is to contact your state's unemployment offices by phone and just be patient as the wait for them to pick up could take a while. Some people have called several times throughout the day until someone from the office picks up and tells you the following steps that need to be taken.