$300 unemployment benefits and UI tax forgiveness: Everything the new stimulus package includes for jobless Americans

March 8, 2021, 4:20 PM UTC

Democratic leaders are rushing to pass an economic aid package this week before $300 per week enhanced unemployment benefits expire on March 14.

On Feb. 27, the Democratic-controlled House passed a stimulus package that would extend enhanced unemployment benefits through August and upped weekly payments from $300 to $400. But Senate Democrats amended the bill, keeping the weekly payment at $300 and extending it through early September.

The House plans to vote on that revised bill on Tuesday. Democratic leaders still hope to get the package on President Joe Biden’s desk before the pandemic unemployment benefits lapse on March 14.

To help jobless Americans better understand the bill that passed through the Senate, Fortune put together a guide.

Who would be eligible for the $300 weekly unemployment benefits?

The passage of the CARES Act in March 2020 expanded eligibility for unemployment benefits. It now include jobless part-timers, self-employed workers, freelancers, and independent contractors. These unemployed Americans covered through Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, along with anyone on traditional state unemployment rolls, will automatically get the new $300 weekly federal benefit.

This is on top of their state unemployment insurance benefit. For instance, a worker in New York who gets the maximum state benefit of $504 per week would receive a total of $804 per week.

If the bill is signed into law, how long would $300 unemployment benefits last?

The package passed in the Senate would extend enhanced $300 unemployment through the week of Sept. 6.

Do I have to pay taxes on my 2020 unemployment benefits?

Senate Democrats also added a provision that would grant tax forgiveness for up to $10,200 in unemployment benefits paid in 2020. Just to be clear: That means, if the bill is passed, individuals wouldn’t have to pay federal taxes on $10,200 of the unemployment benefits they received last year. The reason for the provision? Many jobless Americans didn’t have federal taxes withheld on their 2020 unemployment benefits and now owe big tax bills.

Does Biden support the Senate’s unemployment revisions?

The President appears to be on board with the Senate keeping enhanced unemployment at $300 per week.

After the Senate announced its unemployment plans on Friday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki tweeted: “The compromise amendment achieves that while helping to address the surprise tax bills that many are facing by eliminating the first $10,200 of UI benefits from taxation for 2020. Combined, this amendment would provide more relief to the unemployed than the current legislation.”

Does it extend PUA and PUEC unemployment protections?

The $1.9 trillion package passed through the Senate would extend Pandemic Unemployment Insurance (PUA) and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation benefits (PEUC) from March 14 to Sept. 6. PUA expands who is eligible for unemployment benefits to include people like business owners, part-timers, and freelancers. PEUC grants an extra 24 weeks of jobless benefits to recipients once they exhaust their state benefits.

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