$400 boost, extra benefits for six months

ANASTASIA ZYG


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President-elect Joe Biden’s pandemic relief package would extend income support for millions of unemployed workers through September 2021 and increase jobless benefits by $400 a week, according to an outline obtained by CNBC.

Biden would also phase out higher unemployment benefits automatically over time, tying aid to economic and health conditions, according to the plan.

Such a measure would relieve Congress of drawing up new relief measures every few months, thereby avoiding a benefits cliff like one workers experienced in December.

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The unemployment provisions are part of a $1.9 trillion package, the American Rescue Plan, Biden plans to unveil in a speech Thursday night.

It comes on the heels of a $900 billion relief measure passed at the end of last month.

$400 unemployment boost

Six months of extra benefits

Automatic triggers

Biden will seek to automatically adjust the length and amount of extra jobless aid based on health and economic conditions, which would prevent Congress from having to re-up benefits in fits and starts, according to the president-elect’s plan.

Such barometers may include Covid case counts or state unemployment rates, according to economists. Biden’s plan doesn’t stipulate an exact measure.

Biden has consistently called the $900 billion December relief law a down payment on more relief for Americans amid surging coronavirus cases and a deteriorating economy.

The U.S. shed 140,000 jobs in December, the first month of negative growth since April.

More than 18 million people were collecting unemployment benefits by the end of last year. Nearly 1.2 million people filed a new application for state benefits last week — higher than the worst week of the Great Recession.

This is a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.



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