Use this Easy Unemployment Benefits Calculator to See What You Qualify For

It’s challenging knowing how much cash you’ll get through unemployment benefits. Each state calculates unemployment at different rates. So, using an unemployment benefits calculator can make things a bit easier. To use unemployment calculators, all you need to do is choose your state, enter your earnings, and number of dependents. The results let you know how much money to expect in weekly jobless benefits.

Unemployment Benefits in the Age of Corona

Calculating unemployment benefits in 2020 is a hot topic. The CARES Act provided a range of economic stimulus packages — including an extra $600 a week on top of regular unemployment. But those extra payments stopped at the end of July. Now, the HEALS Act is proposing to give jobless folks an additional $200 a week. 

For many people, working out how much they’ll receive in unemployment benefits can be pretty confusing. After all, millions in 2020 are unemployed for the first time. And you’re probably worried about how to manage financially if you lose your job. 

How can you calculate how much you could get in unemployment between August and December 2020? This article has a helpful calculator to help you see what you qualify for.  

Covid-19 and Unemployment 

Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, a record number of folks have lost their jobs. According to official figures, the government has paid a whopping average of $21 billion a month in unemployment in the first three months of the pandemic. This huge amount is due to millions claiming unemployment and the $600 additional weekly payments. 

Some good news is that the rate of unemployment is gradually falling. But reports say that the number of first-time jobless claimants is still around 1 million people a month. At the start of August, there were 30 million people claiming unemployment in the U.S. Unfortunately, it seems that the threat of unemployment looms large for many people.

Unemployment Under the HEALS Act

The HEALS Act — Health, Economic Assistance, Liability Protection and Schools — plans to boost unemployment by $200 a week. The provisions would see all eligible jobless workers get an additional $200 payment until October 5. A wage replacement scheme would kick in to replace up to 70% of workers’ wages.

However, how much in unemployment benefits you actually receive depends on a few factors. For example, any additional payments under the wage replacement scheme have a cap of $500 per week. Also, the HEALS Act still hasn’t made it through Congress. So, any benefit calculations are currently theoretical. 

Unemployed workers can expect to receive less than under the CARES Act that expired at the end of July.

Related reading: What to do when unemployment benefits end.

Unemployment Under the Cares Act

Under the CARES Act, anyone who became unemployed was able to receive the following benefits:

  • An additional payment of $600 per week on top of regular state-funded unemployment
  • Jobless folks could claim unemployment benefits for an extra 13 weeks if the usual 26-week limit expired
  • Self-employed, freelancers and workers in the “gig” economy could claim unemployment for the first time

How to Calculate How Much Unemployment You Could Qualify For

You probably want to know how much unemployment money you qualify for under the HEALS Act. The amount in unemployment that you can expect to get is as follows:

  • From the bill’s passing through September, anyone claiming unemployment receives an extra $200
  • From October through December, federal cash boosts unemployment benefits up to 70% of your earnings

How do unemployment benefits compare between the HEALS Act and the CARES Act?

Unemployment Benefits — HEALS Act vs. CARES Act

Let’s take an example of someone living in New York who lost their job due to Covid-19 in March. Assume that our unemployed NYC worker has two dependents and used to earn $66,000 a year. How would the level of benefits they receive until the end of the year compare under the HEALS Act with what they received under the CARES Act? 

Here’s how much they would qualify for:

Under the CARES Act, unemployment benefits are as follows:

  • Original state benefit — $504 per week
  • Total weekly benefits under the CARES Act — $1104 per week (until July 31)
  • From August 1 until December 31 — $504 per week

So, unless enhanced employment benefits are approved, our NYC worker only qualifies for state benefits of $504 per week from now until the end of the year. 

Under the HEALS Act, unemployment benefits are as follows:

  • Original state benefit — $504 per week
  • Total weekly benefits under the CARES Act — $1104 per week (until July 31)
  • From August 1 until October 5 — $704 per week
  • From October 6 until December 31 — $888 weekly 

Without Congress approving the HEALS Act, our NYC worker would only receive 40% of his wages until the end of the year. However, under the HEALS Act, they would get the state benefit ($504) plus $384 from federal funds to replace up to 70% of their wages. 

It’s important to remember that the HEALS Act has an upper limit of $500 from federal funds. So, high earners would receive a lower wage replacement percentage. 

To calculate how much unemployment benefits you could qualify for in your state, you can check out this handy calculator.

How the Unemployment Benefits Calculator Works

For financial planning, you can calculate the total value of unemployment you could expect to receive. The variables in the calculation are as follows:

  • Annual salary — States calculate benefits based on annual or quarterly earnings. The Department of Labor provides information about minimum and maximum benefits based on your previous earnings.
  • The number of dependents — Some states give extra unemployment benefits depending on the size of your household. 
  • Benefits start date —You should apply for unemployment as soon as you lose your job. Generally, benefits begin from the first full week after you are unemployed. 

Unemployment Benefits Calculator: In Conclusion

It’s essential to know how much unemployment benefits you could qualify for if you lose your job. Each state has different levels of unemployment benefits. So, using an easy unemployment benefits calculator is an essential tool during the pandemic. You can use the calculations to plan your family’s finances until you find a new job. 

If you’re worried about making ends meet while unemployed, please check out these emergency resources to find where to get more financial help. Or you could explore the possibilities of working from home.