Families to Lose Pandemic Unemployment Benefits in September Despite Rising COVID-19 Cases

Photo: (Photo : ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images)

Millions of families across the U.S. will experience a significant financial loss by September 6, when all of the pandemic unemployment benefits provided by the federal government will expire permanently.

As early as June 2021, at least 26 states have already cut off the pandemic unemployment benefits issued to some of America's jobless, citing those workers haven't been motivated to take on jobs. However, after Labor Day, three kinds of financial aid for the unemployed will cease to exist as some economic analysts said there's no "political momentum" to reinstate the programs.

The Trump administration's CARES Act established these financial aids in March 2020. The American Rescue Plan of the Biden administration extended the programs in March 2021 to last until Labor Day.

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Who Will Lose the Unemployment Benefits?

According to The Century Foundation, 4.2 million individuals whose families depend on the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) for gig workers, freelancers, and independent contractors, will no longer receive the cash incentives that served as their safety nets when projects have been scarce.

Another 3.3 million workers covered by the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), or the benefits for unemployed who have exceeded the allowances from the state, will also lose their financial aid. However, some eligible beneficiaries under this program may be moved to the Extended Benefits (EB) scheme and receive cash for 13 to 20 weeks, depending on the state's unemployment rate. Notably, Washington, Connecticut, Alaska, New Jersey, and New Mexico could shift PEUC To EB with a 50 percent funding, per the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

On the other hand, some three million families who have been receiving $600 from the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) will lose half of their benefits as compensation for this program will become $300 after September 6. In a letter to Congress, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Labor Secretary Marty Walsh said cutting the FPUC benefit to $300 was appropriate as states could divert the money for other benefits programs.

Mom Appeals for Extension or Replacement

Amanda Rinehart, a mom who works in the hospitality industry before the pandemic, said that she doesn't know where she'll source the money to provide for her child when the benefits expire. Along with 10 million moms in the U.S., she had to give up their jobs when their school-aged kids had to stay home for virtual learning at the beginning of the pandemic.

While schools have resumed in-person classes this fall, Rinehart, who has been receiving support from the PEUC program, still hasn't found a stable job and has been "staying afloat" because her child under 12 remains unvaccinated. Rinehart had to switch her son to a virtual school because of the risks of virus transmission in an in-person class filled with unvaccinated kids.

The mother believes that the government should not cut off the pandemic unemployment benefits unless vaccines are available for younger children.

"My long-term plan is absolutely to return to work after there's a safe vaccine for these kids," she wrote.

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