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Homepersonal financeUnemployment benefits delayed? You can collect past the Labor Day cutoff

Unemployment benefits delayed? You can collect past the Labor Day cutoff

  • Thousands of workers who applied for federal unemployment benefits weeks or months ago are likely still waiting for their funds to arrive.
  • They can collect, despite the official expiration of federal benefits on Labor Day.
  • However, many individuals who are eligible for aid but haven't yet applied have a limited time in which to do so.

Spencer Platt | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Federal unemployment benefits lapsed on Labor Day. But there's good news for Americans who've been waiting weeks or months for that aid to arrive: They can still collect back pay past the cutoff date.

Workers who haven't yet applied for the federal assistance can still do so, but many have less than 30 days to act.

Delayed unemployment benefits have been a common occurrence during the Covid-19 pandemic. State unemployment offices have contended with hurdles such as a historic volume of claims, understaffing, antiquated technology, elevated levels of fraud, and implementation of new rules and programs.

Data suggests thousands of people may still be waiting for aid to arrive.

About 19% of applicants — or about 104,000 people — whose first payment of state benefits arrived in July had waited at least 70 days to receive the funds, according to U.S. Department of Labor data. (By comparison, less than 1% waited that long before the pandemic.)

Back pay

However, states will still disburse any federal benefits owed to eligible applicants.

Those now-expired benefits include funds for the long-term unemployed and others (like the self-employed, independent contractors and gig workers) who don't qualify for state unemployment insurance. They also include a $300 weekly supplement.

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"Any weeks of unemployment that occurred before these programs expire can still be paid retroactively if a claimant is later determined to be eligible for those weeks of benefits," according to California's Employment Development Department.

Federal benefits lapsed on either Saturday or Sunday (ahead of the official Monday cutoff) in all states due to their administrative rules. Nearly 9 million people were poised to lose all benefits and another 3 million were set for a $300 weekly cut in aid, according to Labor Department data issued Thursday.


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