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How much money did pandemic unemployment programs pay out?

Congress created new unemployment programs during the pandemic. All of them ended in September 2021. What did these programs do? And how much money did they give out?

Each state manages and funds its own unemployment benefits program according to federal guidelines. However, the federal government can fund extensions and expansions of benefits through legislation, like they did during the pandemic.

See our timeline below that shows key dates for these programs. 

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Image of a timeline describing pandemic unemployment programs, titled: Pandemic Unemployment Programs, Timeline of COVID-19 unemployment programs. $439 billion Federal pandemic unemployment compensation (FPUC). Diagram shows that these benefits began on April 4, 2020 and provided an additional $600 weekly, ending on July 31, 2020. FPUC benefits were reinstated on December 27, 2020 and provided an additional $300 weekly. $84 billion Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC). Diagram shows that PEUC

The Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) program added a weekly supplement of $600 to the amount individuals received in state unemployment. This supplement was later reduced to $300
Total dollar amount issued: $439 billion

The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program expanded eligibility to workers who cannot receive traditional unemployment benefits − self-employed workers, gig workers, freelancers, and independent contractors. Additional pandemic relief legislation allowed these benefits to last for up to 79 weeks. 
Total dollar amount issued: $130 billion 

The Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program extended the length of time that individuals can receive unemployment benefits. Generally, benefits are available for up to 26 weeks, but the PEUC program enabled individuals to claim them for up to 79 weeks. 
Total dollar amount issued: $84 billion

Note: Dollar amounts are as of October 23, 2021. See the Department of Labor's breakdown for more details on how much each state has received in federal funding.  

To see what federal, state, and local agencies found in their unemployment program reviews, check out their reports here.

 

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