You may be curious about just how generous the expanded unemployment insurance benefits are in the Senate rescue bill. I was. First of all, here’s the average unemployment benefit across the nation:
These are not huge payments! Here’s what the Senate bill provides:
- Your normal UI benefit + $600
- A minimum of half the average benefit + $600
- A maximum of 100 percent of your normal income
- For independent contractors and gig workers, the weekly minimum + $600
In Maine, for example, an above-average worker would likely see their benefit rise from about $450 to $1,000 per week. Low income workers would get an increase from around $250 to $850. Gig workers would go up from $0 to about $750. (All with a cap of 100 percent of your normal earnings.) This would be available through the end of June.
This is a pretty large increase, and for most people will probably replace 100 percent of their income or pretty close to it. Add in the average of $3,000 that most families will get from the “checks for everyone” program, and all but a handful of people will be made entirely whole. The biggest exception is those who didn’t work this year and therefore are ineligible for UI benefits.
If anyone knows of a more detailed analysis of the average amount of income replaced by the rescue bill, let me know. Overall, though, it seems pretty well designed.