How to Get the Extra $600 Unemployment Benefit — Retroactively

By Stefano Tromba
August 26, 2020

The enhanced unemployment insurance which expired last month, was a major lifeline for many households over the past few months. It helped many keep up with payments as the coronavirus led to layoffs nation-wide.

However, the extra $600 boost of unemployment benefits lagged behind for many unemployed workers for months. This was largely due to outdated payment systems by some states, who struggled to keep up with the record-setting number of workers seeking jobless benefits.

In fact, some workers are still waiting for their benefits from March!

How To Get Missed Payments Retroactively

While Congress has yet to extend enhanced unemployment payments — and states determine how to comply with President Trump’s executive order — workers who were certified for benefits prior to July 25 (or July 26 in New York) and have been waiting to be paid will still receive the extra $600 per week retroactively. If you lost your job after that, you won’t qualify for the enhanced benefit.

If you qualified and applied back when you were laid off, the state should have to pay the benefit back to when you applied. It’s a benefit you’ve earned and the state would pay it to you – if you are eligible.

This may be true for a large number of claimants. How large? Around 40% of new applicants had not yet received a benefit payment by the end of June, according to the most recent data collected by the Century Foundation. That’s works out to approximately 15 million people.

One of the only ways to retroactively get this benefit is to continue contacting your state unemployment office. Make sure your application didn’t contain errors that would have prevented the benefits from coming through. However, that can be a difficult and time-consuming process.

Now, this won’t be easy. There have been reports of claimants making hundreds of calls inquiring about delayed or lack of payments without reaching anyone at the unemployment office.

But if you can, don’t stop trying. It’s recommended to recertify each week that you’re unemployed so you get the benefit you’re entitled to. If you can’t get through, try contacting your state representative or join a Facebook or Reddit community where people share tips with each other.

Remember, it’s money you’ve earned.

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