Leaves of Change: Fall Unemployment Benefit Payments

Never in the history of our generation’s lifetime have so many people looked in anticipation of unemployment benefit payments.  Yet, here we are as the ripple effect of COVID-19 changes everything we’ve ever done.  After Congress initially passed the CARES Act, parties couldn’t come to an agreement on how to proceed with extending the act’s unemployment benefits.  So, the current administration signed an executive order affecting the legislation, including the decision to extend unemployment benefit payments to come during the fall.  Now that we are approaching autumn, unemployment recipients are wondering when their checks will fall into their mailboxes.

So as not to keep people waiting, here are the details regarding the unemployment benefit payments.  Additionally, you will find information pertaining to when eligible beneficiaries in each state can expect to receive their payment.

U.S. Unemployment Rates

As of August 2020, the U.S. unemployment rate was 8.4%.  As high as that is, it was an improvement over the peak of 14.7% in April 2020.  In total, the U.S. Department of Labor received applications from 13.55 million people.  That is nearly double the 7.5 million applications in August 2019.

So, what is the reason for these astronomical figures?  In a word, Coronavirus.  The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc worldwide since the early part of 2020, and gained momentum in the U.S. as we approached spring.  Consequently, fear of the rapidly spreading virus caused federal and state governments to halt operations of non-essential businesses. The ramifications were far reaching, and the subsequent spike in unemployment continues to hit many communities hard. 

Unemployment Benefit Payments by State

Now, these unemployment benefit payments are intended to help alleviate some of the financial struggles of American workers.  However, the unemployment benefit payment amounts and estimated issue dates vary by state.  In order to give you quick access to the information you need for your specific state, here is an alphabetical grid for your reference:

StatePayment AmountEstimated Issue Date
Alabama$300September 3, 2020
Alaska$300Late October
Arizona$300Mid-August
Arkansas$300TBD
California$300September 7, 2020
Colorado$300September 18, 2020
Connecticut$300Mid-September
Delaware$300Week of September 14, 2020
District of Colombia$300TBD
Florida$300September 11, 2020
Georgia$300Mid-September
Hawaii$300TBD
Idaho$300September 5, 2020
Illinois$300TBD
Indiana$300Mid-September
Iowa$300September 4, 2020
Kansas$400Late September
Kentucky$400Early September
Louisiana$300August
Maine$300Mid-September
Maryland$300September 11, 2020
Massachussets$300September 2, 2020
Michigan$300Week of September 7, 2020
Minnesota$300September 7, 2020
Mississippi$300TBD
Missouri$300August
Montana$400August
Nebraska$300Mid-September
Nevada$300TBD
New Hampshire$300September 10, 2020
New Jersey$300October
New Mexico$300Mid-September
New York$300Week of September 13, 2020
North Carolina$300Already began issuing
North Dakota$300Mid-September
Ohio$300Late-September
Oklahoma$300Late-September
Oregon$300TBD
Pennsylvania$300September 12, 2020
Rhode Island$300September 12, 2020
South Carolina$300Late September
South DakotaN/AN/A
Tennessee$300Already began issuing
Texas$300Already began issuing
Utah$300Mid-September
Vermont$400Mid-September
Virginia$300Week of September 20, 2020
Washington$300Week of September 21, 2020
West Virginia$400Week of September 14, 2020
Wisconson$300November
Wyoming$300TBD
Fall Unemployment Benefit Payments by State

Questions About Unemployment Benefit Payments

After looking at the chart, you might have a few questions.

First, you might be wondering what the “TBD” is all about for some states.  Well, although most states have accepted the feds’ unemployment benefit offer, not all states have determined when they will be in a position to begin issuing payments.  Reasons for the delay include changes to programming for payment processing and unique requirements to verify need for assistance.

Second, you might be wondering why some states get $300 and some get $400.  When the CARES Act was initially passed, eligible recipients of unemployment benefit payments received up to $600.  This benefit, however, expired at the end of July, and the executive order wasn’t signed until August 8.  The new bill grants individuals up to $400, with the feds paying $300, and states covering an additional $100, if they choose to do so. 

Third, if you live in South Dakota, you might be wondering why you see “N/A” in the Payment Amount and Estimated Issue Date columns.  Well, this in an interesting one.  The reason why there is no information available is South Dakota rejected the extended unemployment benefit offer.  The state, however, did not intend to aim a slight at the federal government.  Rather, South Dakota’s governor feels the state’s economy does not need the support, since job losses have nearly recovered.  With that in mind, South Dakota chose not to drain resources that they don’t actually need at the moment.

Leaves of Change

This season may feel gloomy and dreary.  The weather, however, is not necessarily the reason for the heavy feeling in the air.  Still, as the unemployment benefit payments arrive, hopefully they will represent leaves of change, giving people hope that the promise of new beginnings is just around the corner.

Image of a woman standing in the middle of a forest in the fall.

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