More than 48,000 people have filed for unemployment in Alabama since Sunday, that’s according to the Alabama Department of Labor.
“We’re in unusual times and that’s why we need to have legislation like this,” explained U.S. Congressman Robert Aderholt. “It’s not perfect and we’re going to see a lot of problems with this piece of legislation. Because of quite honestly the seriousness of the virus and how it has spread. It’s been put together very quickly.”
The Senate passed a stimulus package that increases unemployment insurance by $600 per week for up to four months. Alabama Senator Doug Jones said stipulations may apply for those who don’t meet a certain timeline.
“The question is ‘were they employed at the time?’ If they were employed at the time and are no longer employed, they’ll get the unemployment benefits,” he said. “We’ll have to see if there’s a grace period. Some of the kinks in this haven’t been worked out yet, to see if there’s a grace period for some who may have lost their jobs right before all of this.”
The federal aid will be dispersed in addition to Alabama’s base unemployment salary of $250 per week, Aderholt said non-traditional employees qualify as well.
“Those individuals who may be self-employed, and who may only work part time, they would also be able to receive this additional 600 dollars,” he said.
But others on permanently fixed incomes like social security and disability still have questions.
Jones explained the legislation is written to help them too.
“A lot of people with those benefits don’t have to file a tax return because the standard deduction is so high. But they probably ought to go ahead and do it. Just to trigger this as quickly as possible,” he said.
The government may also use your last social security benefit form (SSA-1099), that way payment can be dispersed the same way they send out social security payments.
Jones said checks for retirees and disabled dependents should work in similar fashion.
The House is scheduled to vote on the stimulus bill Friday morning.
“Hopefully, the house will get this passed tomorrow, it’ll get on the President’s desk tomorrow afternoon, he’ll sign it as soon as possible and we’ll start seeing money flowing out next week,” he concluded.