If you’re out of work and making ends meet with the help of a $300 a week federal unemployment extension, that extra money could disappear sooner than you expected. Officials in least 11 states have announced they plan to opt out of unemployment benefits early, before the extra $300 weekly benefit offered by the American Relief Plan ends Sept. 6.
Many have cited large numbers of unfilled jobs in their states, along with widespread availability of COVID-19 vaccines.
Is Your State Cutting Unemployment Benefits Early?
As of May 12, governors in the following 11 states have notified the U.S. Department of Labor that they plan to end extra jobless benefits early. More states are expected to follow.
Unemployed workers can still qualify for state benefits, but in some states, they’ll face stricter requirements. For example, many states are now requiring workers who receive benefits to document their job search, a mandate that was mostly waived at the start of the pandemic.
As states withdraw from federal unemployment programs, they won’t just be cutting the extra $300 a week. They’re also ending:
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) for freelancers, gig workers and independent contractors who usually wouldn’t qualify for unemployment benefits.
Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), which extends benefits for workers who have exhausted their regular benefits.
A $100 supplement for some mixed earners, who have both W-2 and freelance income.
Extra federal unemployment benefits end June 19. The maximum state benefit is $275 per week.
Extra federal unemployment benefits end June 26. The maximum state benefit is $451 per week.
Extra federal unemployment benefits end June 19. The maximum state benefit is $463 per week.
Extra federal unemployment benefits end June 12. The maximum state benefit is $481 per week.
Extra federal unemployment benefits end June 12. The maximum state benefit is $235 per week.
Extra federal unemployment benefits end June 12. The maximum state benefit is $320 per week.
Extra federal unemployment benefits end June 26. The state will substitute expanded benefits with a one-time $1,200 “return to work” bonus. The maximum state benefit is $552 per week.
8. North Dakota
Extra federal unemployment benefits end June 19. The maximum state benefit is $618 per week.
9. South Carolina
Extra federal unemployment benefits end June 30. The maximum state benefit is $326 per week.
Extra federal unemployment benefits end July 30. The maximum state benefit is $275 per week.
Extra federal unemployment benefits end June 19. The maximum state benefit is $508 per week.
What to Do if Your Unemployment Benefits Are Ending
If your benefits are ending soon, consider looking for a bridge job, which is pretty much anything that can help pay the bills. It probably won’t be your dream job, but you can continue searching for work that’s a better fit. Due to widespread hiring shortages, you may find that even low-wage gigs are paying better than they did in the past.
If you aren’t quite ready to leave your home just yet, whether due to COVID-19 concerns or caregiving duties, try searching for an online job. While some opportunities require a high level of expertise, there are plenty of entry-level remote jobs available. The Penny Hoarder has a portal of vetted work-from-home job opportunities.
While you’re searching for your next full-time job, try earning extra money with a side hustle. Uber and Lyft drivers are in big demand right now. Both companies are reportedly offering bonuses to get more drivers on the road. You also may find that some side gigs, like pet-sitting and house-sitting, are in greater demand as some sense of normalcy returns.
Even if your state isn’t on the list yet, don’t count on your extended benefits continuing through early September. It’s essential to ramp up your job search now so that you have the best chance of landing employment before extra benefits end. Be sure to keep records of each job you’ve applied for in case you need to prove to your state’s unemployment office that you’re looking for work.
Robin Hartill is a certified financial planner and a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. She writes the Dear Penny personal finance advice column. Send your tricky money questions to AskPenny@thepennyhoarder.com.
This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.