Labor Department Ensures Americans Unemployment Benefits Won’t Lapse Despite Trump Signing Delay

The Department of Labor (DOL) says unemployment benefits won’t lapse despite President Donald Trump’s delay in signing a new Covid-19 relief package.

“As states are implementing these new provisions as quickly as possible, the Department does not anticipate that eligible claimants will miss a week of benefits due to the timing of the law’s enactment,” a department spokesman told The Hill.

DOL’s remarks come after Michele Evermore, an unemployment expert at the National Employment Law Project, identified a legal workaround that ensures a $300 unemployment boost will begin on time and effectively saved $11 billion in targeted relief from disappearing. Evermore is also a volunteer member of President-elect Joe Biden‘s transition team but has confirmed she was not acting in her capacity as a member of the Biden transition.

Benefits are set to expire on March 14.

DOL noted that because unemployment benefits are administered by states, it remains unclear if all states will be able to prevent a lapse or delay in benefits. DOL also said that a $100 boost for those who earn income from multiple sources, including self-employment, would take longer to implement.

Fears that unemployment benefits would lapse were sparked after President Donald Trump refused to sign a Covid-19 relief bill, saying that the aid being provided to Americans hurt by the coronavirus pandemic’s economic impact was insufficient. The president, at the 11th hour, called for direct payments to be increased from $600 to $2,000 despite not weighing in during negotiations. He ultimately signed it just hours before a projected government shutdown.