Biden's Labor Department just said people on unemployment could get a one-time check from states after benefits expire on Labor Day

Biden's Labor Department just said people on unemployment could get a one-time check from states after benefits expire on Labor Day
Protesters rally demanding economic relief during the coronavirus pandemic in New York City on August 5, 2020. Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images
  • Federal unemployment benefits will come to a close in a little over a week.
  • Millions of workers are set to lose all of their benefits, with even more losing a chunk of their income.
  • But the Department of Labor just said that states can give one-off relief payments to those impacted.

On Thursday, Insider obtained guidance from the Department of Labor on how states could renew federal unemployment aid that's set to expire for millions of Americans in only 11 days. If they wanted to, states could opt to issue periodic or one-time relief payments to workers currently on unemployment.

As the pandemic surges and the economy struggles to stay open, both Congress and the Biden administration are allowing benefits to expire. The left-leaning Century Foundation projects that 7.5 million workers will lose all of their benefits in September, and 20 million workers total will experience sharp cuts to their income.

Though the Biden administration recently paved the way for states to extend jobless aid on their own using leftover money from the March stimulus law, it doesn't appear likely that many states will take them up on it. To Insider, states cited dwindling federal funding and the need for further congressional action.

Any relief that does come from states is likely to be limited in scope. Half have already designated the bulk of their federal relief money for purposes like ensuring schools and colleges can educate virtually, alleviating homelessness, or strengthening mental health resources, per Ed Lazere, a senior fellow at the left-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

In addition, 26 mostly GOP-led states already ended some benefit programs well before their scheduled end on Sept. 6.


It'll largely be contingent on how big of a financial cushion states have, even as the pandemic rages on with COVID-19 cases from the Delta variant and hospitalizations are piling up, particularly in the South.

But there's already at least one example of states putting those stimulus funds towards checks.

Millions of residents of California will already see some direct payments partially subsidized by the American Rescue Plan. As Insider's Yelena Dzhanova reported, the state recently enacted its own $100 billion recovery package - whose surplus is "fueled by a resurgent economy, a surge in state revenues and additional federal recovery funds." Under that package, according to the state, about two-thirds of Californians qualify for a $600 stimulus check. And families with kids who qualify will get an extra $500.