The new stimulus package would allow people to claim an extra $600 in unemployment benefits a week. Here's what you need to know if you're applying.

mitch mcconnell senate stimulus package

The new $2 trillion stimulus package proposed in the Senate would allow people to receive an extra $600 a week in unemployment benefits for up to four months, Vox reported.

That's a significant boost from the average weekly unemployment insurance check, which was $385 in January. Advertisement

The proposed relief package would also provide unemployment benefits to self-employed and contract workers, who typically aren't eligible, for up to 39 weeks via the new Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program.

The US has already seen a historic jump in people applying for unemployment benefits as the pandemic results in mass layoffs. For the week ending March 14, unemployment claims spiked by 70,000 to 281,000. This Thursday, the Labor Department will release the number of new jobless claims for the week ending March 21, and it's poised to be historically bad news for American workers. Goldman Sachs estimates the number could be a record 2.25 million, more than three times the previous record high of nearly 700,000 set in 1982. The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) estimates that 3 million total jobs could be lost by the summer due to the pandemic.

The bill would also give about $500 billion in loans and other help to companies and state and local governments; $350 billion to small businesses; and $150 billion to hospitals and healthcare providers, Bloomberg reported.

The Senate will vote on the bill on Wednesday before passing it to the House of Representatives and then to President Donald Trump's desk.

The proposed $2 trillion stimulus package is the latest expansion of unemployment benefits in response to the economic upheaval caused by the coronavirus pandemic. On March 18, Congress passed and Trump signed into law the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which expanded unemployment benefits and gave grants to states for processing and paying unemployment claims.Advertisement

The federal government also issued guidance to states to allow more flexibility with granting unemployment benefits to employees who can't go to work because their workplace was shut down, to workers who are quarantined, and to those who leave work due to a risk of exposure or infection or to care for a family member.

Here's a step-by-step guide of how to file for unemployment benefits if you're unable to work during the coronavirus pandemic.

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