How Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID-19 stimulus package affects Delaware unemployment benefits

Sarah Gamard
Delaware News Journal

The $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill passed by Congress last week includes an extension of federal unemployment benefits.

President Joe Biden signed the stimulus bill, known as the American Rescue Plan, on Thursday. It funnels more than $1 billion in aid to state and local governments, as well as direct aid to families.

The plan includes $1,400 direct payments for people making up to $75,000 and couples making up to $150,000.

It also includes a temporary expansion of the child tax credit, increasing it to $3,600 for children under 6 years old and $3,000 for children 6 to 17 years old.

What does this mean for my unemployment?

It means more $300 weekly payments.

The measure extends the $300 federal weekly unemployment benefit through Sept. 6.

Are my state benefits extended?

No. The American Rescue Plan doesn't affect state benefits.

The state unemployment program provides 26 weeks of benefits per year.

When those benefits are exhausted, you are transitioned to the federally funded Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program.

If you have an active Pandemic Unemployment Assistance or Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation claim, it will be extended without interruption.

My benefits are set to expire. What do I do?

If you have an active Pandemic Unemployment Assistance or Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation claim, it will be extended without interruption.

If you have a claim that became inactive, you have to reopen your claim if you become unemployed again.

If you're receiving benefits, you will be alerted about the extension the next time you log into the system.

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I've been unemployed since the start of the pandemic. Do I need to file again?

In Delaware, unemployment insurance claims are active for 1 year and six days. After that, you have to reapply for benefits.

If you've been unemployed for more than a year, you probably need to file a new claim.

In Delaware, unemployment insurance claims are active for one year and six days. After that, you have to reapply for benefits.

The Continued Assistance Act, which Congress passed in December, gave states the option to continue collecting PEUC and delay applying for a new unemployment claim.

"We are working on the system functionality to streamline that process and will be issuing more information to affected individuals as soon as it is available," said Unemployment Division Director Darryl Scott.

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Sarah Gamard covers government and politics for Delaware Online/The News Journal. Reach her at (302) 324-2281 or sgamard@delawareonline.com. Follow her on Twitter @SarahGamard.