Nearly One-Third of Unemployment Benefits Have Not Been Paid Out Yet

With more than 40 million Americans currently out of work, many have yet to receive their unemployment benefits.

The United States Treasury has disbursed $146 billion in unemployment benefits over the course of the last three months. While that amount is more than all that was paid out during the financial crisis in 2009, it still falls short of the $214 billion total that is owed for the 90-day period, according to Bloomberg.

The $67 billion that has yet to be paid out via overloaded and antiquated government systems means many of those struggling have had to find ways to make due while awaiting their unemployment benefits.

Jay Shambaugh, an economist at Brookings Institution, says that large discrepancy is a “huge hole.”

“There’s a lot more money that should have gone out that has not gone out,” Shambaugh added.

In response to the unprecedented levels of unemployment, the government has hired more workers to process claims and expanded call centers to expedite disbursement of benefits.

More money will likely be added to the Treasury’s bill as experts estimate another 1.8 million filed for unemployment last week. In May, the US jobless rate hit 19.5%, the highest since the Great Depression.

The CARES Act, the federal government’s $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief bill,
increased weekly unemployment payments by $600. It also increased the duration of these payments and extended them to previously ineligible workers like the self-employed.

This bump is in addition to weekly benefits paid by states.

According to data from the Labor Department, workers received an average of $378 per week in state unemployment benefits before the COVID-19 relief bill.

After it was passed, the law increased the weekly average to $978 per week, an increase of 159%.

Per the law, these bonus payments are set to end after July 31, with some states ending them sooner, on July 25.

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