Mass. unemployment gets $600 bump

‘Gig economy’ workers should be able to file by the end of the month.

As of today, people who are receiving unemployment and who are signing up for unemployment will receive an additional $600 a week. — Screenshot from Mass DPH

Starting today, people currently receiving unemployment benefits and those applying for benefits will start seeing an extra $600 on their benefit checks in addition to their regular benefits.

At a press conference Thursday, Gov. Charlie Baker said the state has been calling the federal government everyday seeking guidance on how to implement the three new unemployment benefit services part of the $2 trillion CARES Act, signed by President Donald Trump, which significantly expands unemployment benefits.

The state, which typically receives 7,000 to 10,000 unemployment claims over a three week period, has received 470,000 unemployment claims in the past three weeks.

“These numbers obviously are staggering and we know the story behind all of them is about more than just numbers. Between every new claim is a story of economic disruption and hardship caused by the unprecedented impact of this virus,” Baker said.

The first program is an additional $600 per week on top of what claimants receive.

“As of today all eligible claimants will receive an additional $600 weekly benefit,” Baker said.

People who are already receiving unemployment claims and people who are applying for new claims do not need to take any additional action to receive the extra $600 benefit. The benefit is retroactive to March 29 and will continue until the end of July.”

The second program is set to allow people who have a 1099 tax form, are self-employed, or work in the “gig economy” to receive unemployment benefits. The Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA) is working to create a platform for these workers to begin receiving these benefits. The platform is expected to begin processing claims by the end of the month, according to Baker. This will provide up to 39 weeks of unemployment benefits for these workers. Baker said people interested in applying for this program should check the DUA website for updates.

The third program is a 13-week extension of benefits for people who have exhausted their previous unemployment benefits. This program is not available yet because the DUA is seeking federal guidance on how to implement those benefits.

“I think we know this is frustrating for many, many people here in Massachusetts. People who have lost their job through no fault of their own are trying hard to access funds they need to get by,” Baker said. “The new federal CARES Act, those benefits haven’t been able to be made available as quickly as any of us would like, but you have our commitment that we’re going to continue to do all we can to get the resources out the door to help workers that are impacted by this unprecedented situation.

People can apply for unemployment here. The step-by-step process for filing for unemployment can be found here.


  1. I exhausted my benefits 3 weeks ago, and now they’re saying still waiting on guidelines. Plus 1099 workers have to wait another 3 weeks. What a complete and utter disregard for working people. The federal, state and local towns should be ashamed of themselves for making the decision to have workers (me) stay home without having a financial safety net in place first. What a complete lack of respect and disaster.

      • Fielding Mellish, if I was working all winter, how would I have exhausted my benefits already? I exhausted my benefits BECAUSE I WASN’T WORKING ALL WINTER. That’s how unemployment works. If you can’t add anything intelligent to the conversation, why bother at all?

        • Guess I read your comment wrong. The way you phrased it,it sounded like you were working all winter. Apologies.

    • Yuma, the only person responsible for providing you with a financial safety net is yourself. This is exactly why one should NEVER rely on the government to be the Parent or God. Be responsible for yourself first and foremost.

      • I used to think that. Since 2000 the US government has been spending alot more than it brings in. It has had to lower interest rates on your savings that you have been socking away to 0. How many years do you have to work and save to get a nice nest egg making a 0 rate of return? I guess you now have to factor in no return on your savings when you retire.

      • I expect the government to protect me from all enemies foreign and domestic.
        That is why more than half of my tax dollar goes to military, courts, prisons, and police.
        I want my monies worth.
        Covid – 19 is an enemy.

      • After World War 2 was wrong for America to provide a giant safety net for the the German people?
        Should we have just ignored their needs?
        Leave the kind of breeding ground left after World War 1.
        How long would it have taken the Fourth Reich to rise from the ashes?

  2. Islandgirlstacey, how right you are. We were always told do not ever depend on others or the government. Particularly, do not depend on Social Security as your retirement. And, we see what happened with that. Means testing in the guise of Medicare. Put away your retirement funds starting in your teens from your first jobs and keep doing it. Presto, after years you will have a nest egg. All your own, no depending on anyone. Stay well, all.

    • You must be new here.
      Pick up some Vineyard history books.
      See how utterly dependent the Island has been on government and elitism ever since Mayhew grabbed it for White people.
      The Vineyard economy is utterly dependent on the elites.
      As it was when your great grandfathers were born.

  3. “Yuma, the only person responsible for providing you with a financial safety net is yourself.”

    Precisely! ☮️

    • My father went to Harvard Business School. Who cares. But at least he drilled into me the fact that EVERYONE should put aside 8 months of expenses in case of emergency. Living expenses.

  4. The team comes down hard on yuma for reasons and arguments I fully understand, and yet there is an element of justification in his constructive argument that the government has placed us all under economic house arrest. I have heard it said that a society is judged by the way it treats the least fortunate within it. See here yet another consequence of allowing this island to become so utterly dependent on government and elitism.

    • It’s not just this island. Ten percent of the nation’s work force is out of work now and many people live paycheck to paycheck all over the country, especially those on hourly wages. They have put away nothing for a rainy day, some because it is not possible, and some because they buy too many 4 dollar coffees every day. It is very sad to see so many who do not have enough resources squirreled away so that they could survive several months without any income, but that’s how many all over America live.

  5. Tough crowd. A lot of people work extremely hard for very little pay and don’t end up with extra to put away in their savings. Yuma is saying s/he wants to work and isn’t allowed. That’s hardly lazy or choosing to depend on others — it’s losing the ability to depend on oneself due to unusual circumstances. I completely understand the need to protect the public from illness, but there’s also no denying that this has put many in a horrible financial situation, through no fault of their own. It’s been a no-win ordeal. In my opinion, we don’t need to make anyone feel worse about not working or going broke when they stayed home for the collective good. Everyone’s feeling bad enough. It’s universally terrifying to wonder if you can feed your family or keep a roof over their heads, isn’t it?

  6. hanley– I address this to you, but it is meant for many others. Everyone is correct that we are ultimately responsible for our financial health, as well as our physical health.
    the reality however, is that some people for whatever reasons make bad choices about both .
    I do not choose to judge people by their failures, and, Yuma, I am not trying to imply that you have “failed”.
    To those of you who spout pompous pronouncements about others, let me remind you of the saying “there but for the grace of the FSM, go I ” This crisis may humble some of us more than others, but we should all be humbled, and be reminded that things happen that are beyond our control.
    Now is not the time to judge, but to reflect on what it means to be part of a community.
    We are now obligated, for the common good, to stay physically apart, but I think it equally important to understand that some of us are in greater need than others.
    That’s not to say I am going to agree with you if you think the trump regime is doing a great job, or if you think the economy is worth more than the lives of perhaps millions of our infirm and elderly citizens.. There is a simple word that is often used in Jamaica when people part ways that says it all “respect”

  7. This is my response to everyone who has asked why I’m not being financial responsible. Do you ask that about the airline industry that received 50 BILLION DOLLARS? Corporations that received 500
    BILLION Dollars? 360 BILLION for small businesses? Handouts for the Steamship Authority? I could continue but what’s the point? My original point was that the local (town) government shutdown ALL of my means to make my living, as well as hundreds of other workers on the island, without first providing some sort of financial help. Most of us got by for the 1st couple of weeks, but now we’re moving fast into the middle of April, with still no plan in sight. Most of these negative, judgemental comments just prove to me that this so-called “loving”, “peaceful”, “ain’t life wonderful here up island on our beautiful beaches” is just a mirage. I’m sorry my daddy didn’t attend Harvard Business School and teach me how to save money for a rainy day. He was “just” a starving artist who taught me to love my neighbor and be kind to those less fortunate than me. You hypocrites should be ashamed of yourselves.

    • Yumu you seem really aggressive . There’s no need for that. Can I take a stab in the dark? You said you’ve Already gone through your 26 weeks of UI… does that mean you file for unemployment every year in the off season? Just curious…

  8. This response is for Islandgirlstacey augusyswynd Daddy’s girl from Harvard and any other heartless, spoiled or anyone else who doesn’t know what REAL STRUGGLE is about. Here’s a headline from the Gazette. Why haven’t these hundreds of families, I’m sure only a fraction reported, taken financial responsibilities for themselves. You people are living in the “perfect” place in your own minds,LA-LA LAND.

    Beginning at around 10 a.m., a line of cars, hundreds of vehicles long, stretched from the Oak Bluffs town hall to Our Market on New York avenue, all waiting to pick up food for their families.

  9. This response is for Islandgirlstacey augustawynd, Daddy’s girl from Harvard and any other heartless, spoiled, or anyone else who doesn’t know what REAL STRUGGLE is about. All I was asking for was a little help financially from the government, local or otherwise, as they were the one who decided I can’t make or earn money for at least a month. This is the 5th example, I’m sure there are many more, who’ve made money from this tragedy. If you don’t understand the argument then I really have no time for you or your quixotic life. Please just collect sea glass on Philbin, take writing classes in Chilmark or do whatever other life affirming activity you choose.

    Per Vice News ********’*
    This GOP Senator Conveniently Bought a Ton of Stock in a PPE Company After a Private Coronavirus Briefing

    • Maybe don’t rely on unemployment as your “source of income” the winteR and get a year round job like plenty of other People living both on and off island. You have no right to be so rude and aggressive. THERE ARE SINGLE MOTHERS WHO WERENT SITTING ON UNEMPLOYMENT FOR 26 WEEKS NOT WORKING who now have no way to provide for their children or put gas in their cars. Be an adult. Stop insulting others.

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