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Unemployment benefits: how long will the $300 enhanced payment last?

The American Rescue Plan included an enhanced weekly unemployment benefit of $300 on top of what claimants receive from the state through September.

Unemployment benefits: how long will the $300 enhanced payment last?
MELINA MARA AFP

Those receiving unemployment benefits can breathe a little easier knowing that until 6 September, they will receive $300 on top of their weekly benefit. If a recipient claims all eligible weeks of the enhanced benefit, their total income will increase by around $7,500. This additional income has been described as critical to keeping US households afloat as millions scramble to find work.

According to a national food bank network, Feeding America, food banks distributed more than six billion meals in 2020. Even more surprising may be that when the pandemic first began, and unemployment hit record highs, nearly forty percent of those who saught help from a food bank reported that it was their first time. 

How much do states spend on unemployment each month?

In March, without the $300 topper, states and territories paid over $5.3 billion in unemployment benefits. States who spent the most were,

1. California -- $2,647,868


2. New York -- $1,846,509


3. Texas $1,014,607


4. Illinois $982,427


5. Pennsylvania -- $947,124


These figures follow population statistics and are not represented because of higher average payments. States that sent the highest weekly benefit payments in March were,

1. Massachusetts -- 489.93


2. North Dakota -- $480.13


3. New Jersey -- $474.61


4. Montana -- $468.47


5. Hawaii -- $463.85


How many people in the United States remain unemployed?

As of 24 April, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 16,559,276 people had filed for benefits the week before. This number, while still exceedingly high, is down more than 845,000 compared to the week before. On Thursday 6 May, the agency will release data on how many jobs were added in the month of April, casting light on how quickly the economy is recovering from the impacts of the pandemic.

States with the highest insured unemployment rate, meaning the highest rate of people within the labor force receiving unemployment benefits were:

1. Nevada -- 5.9%


2. Connecticut -- 5.3% 


3. Alaska 4.9%


4. New York 4.6%


5. Illinois 4.3%.


Interested in how unemployment benefits compare across states? Check out our article on the topic.