The Senate Coronavirus Bill Will Replace 100% of Earnings For Most People

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.

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We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

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