CORONAVIRUS

Unemployment benefits: how to get the $600 payment retroactively?

The weekly $600 unemployment top-up was discontinued in August but millions of Americans may still be able to claim benefits they have yet to receive.

Unemployment benefits: how to get the $600 payment retroactively?
ERIC BARADAT AFP

Between March and July, all unemployed workers in the United States were eligible to receive an extra $600 per week on top of their state benefits for up to six months. That program came to an end last month and the Senate has yet to decide on a new stimulus package or whether the enhanced unemployment payments program will be extended. However, while millions of Americans received their $600 weekly top-up, many didn’t but they are still able to claim back those benefits retroactively.

For one reason or another, payments suffered delays caused a backlog which meant that many jobless workers, around 40%, did not receive the additional $600. Many of those claims are still being processed as unemployment offices have been snowed under dealing with new applications. Workers who registered for unemployment insurance (UI) before 25 July – or 26 July in the case of New York, can still apply for their $600 payment, retroactively, from the day they lost their job. Those who were made redundant after those dates unfortunately will not be eligible.

Was all of the information in your claim correct?

The first thing to do if you have not received your enhanced payment is to check that your unemployment application is fully correct and not missing any information or includes any errors – for example, personal and work addresses are correctly spelt. To do that, it may be necessary to contact your state unemployment office. Be prepared as this will be a long and time-consuming process.

In some states, the only way to contact the unemployment office at the moment is by calling their helpline. Find your state unemployment office here. It generally takes between two to three weeks after filing your unemployment claim to receive your first payment although in cases were payments were delayed or claimed retroactively, the back-dated payment will be paid in one lump sum either by direct debit or debit card. It is also worth noting that the retroactive payment date might be different depending on which state you worked in and filed an unemployment claim in so you will need to check with your local unemployment office when retroactive payments go back to in your state.

See also

Second stimulus check: how to receive it faster

Unemployment benefits: why $400 could be only $300?

Why has South Dakota rejected the $300-a-week unemployment benefit?