Unemployment benefits due to the Covid-19 pandemic will end tomorrow for millions of Americans.
Here’s what you need to know.
Unemployment insurance of $300 a week will end for more than 7 million Americans effective tomorrow, which brings economic uncertainty amid a resurgence of Covid-19. Approximately 26 states have already ended enhanced unemployment benefits ahead of the expiration date, with some governors stating that these unemployment benefits are a discentive for Americans to return to work. Pandemic relief has been an essential way for unemployed Americans to pay for rent, food and other necessities during the Covid-19 pandemic. Here’s what the end of these unemployment benefits mean for you:
Which unemployment benefits will end?
Four types of federal unemployment benefits will end:
- Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation;
- Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation;
- Mixed Earners Unemployment Compensation; and
- Pandemic Unemployment Assistance
Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation
This is $300 a week of supplemental employment benefits (although it was as high as $600 a week).
Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation
These unemployment benefits provided financial relief to those who already exhausted their state’s unemployment benefits, which is typically 26 weeks, although it varies by state.
Mixed Earners Unemployment Compensation
This unemployment benefits program provided $100 a week for those who worked as both an independent contractor and employee.
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance
These employment benefits expanded eligbility criterai to include self-employed individuals and freelancers.
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What employment insurance is available?
Depending on your state, you may qualify for unemployment insurance. This is separate from the federal unemployment insurance that is ending.
How many people will lose unemployment insurance
The end of these employment benefits represents the largest in U.S. history. The Century Foundation estimates that 7.5 million Americans will lose unemployment benefits. This includes:
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance: 4.2 million people
Once Pandemic Unemployment Assistance ends, these individuals — many of whom are self-employed or freelancers — won’t be eligible for any federal or state unemployment insurance. According to the Century Foundation, there are more than 1 million workers in California who will be impacted, and more than 150,000 individuals who will be impacted in each of Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania.
Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation: 3.3 million people
The end of Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation will impact 3.3 million workers. According to the Century Foundation, 900,000 workers are affected in California as well as 125,000 workers in each of Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. Some of these workers will qualify for state unemployment benefits.
Why are these unemployment benefits expiring?
In March 2020, in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, Congress passed temporary enhanced unemployment insurance as part of the Cares Act, the $2.2 trillion stimulus package. In March 2021, Congress extended these unemployment benefits until tomorrow as part of the Americans Rescue Plan stimulus package. However, Congress has opted not renew these unemployment benefits any further. This end of unemployment insurances comes at a similar time when other Covid-19 pandemic relief is expiring as well. For example, the U.S. Supreme Court halted the federal eviction moratorium imposed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), noting it was not authorized by Congress. The end of the eviction moratorium and unemployment benefits also may spell bad news for other federal spending such as wide-scale student loan forgiveness.
Will Congress extend unemployment benefits?
There is no indication that Congress will extend these enhanced unemployment benefits. Why? These unemployment insurance program were always intended to be temporary and tied to the Covid-19 pandemic. It’s possible that Congress could authorize new unemployment benefits in the future due to a further resurgence of Covid-19. However, there are no immediate plans to extend relief beyond tomorrow. That said, in the American Rescue Plan, Congress authorized $350 billion to the states to provide for unemployment financial relief.