• Presley Berry

$600 Unemployment Benefit Is Coming To An End With No Solution On The Horizon

Street Sense Media

On July 31st, the CARES act, which affected around 25 million Americans, ended abruptly.

The CARES Act, passed on March 25th, is a bipartisan bill passed unanimously by the Senate in response to COVID-19 and was signed into law by President Donald Trump on March 27th. The New York Times reported the federal aid prevented 12 million Americans from falling below the poverty line. With no relief measure to replace it and unemployment rates still over 11%, this may lead to an unparalleled financial crisis.

Jobless Americans will only have state checks to rely on. Experts warn that people cannot survive on these benefits alone, with some average state checks dipping as low as $100. House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi said, “We anticipate that we will have a bill. But we’re not there yet.”

Senior policy analyst for the National Employment Law Project, Michele Evermore says:

Losing the $600 will mean people will put themselves in physical jeopardy by showing up to unsafe jobs to keep themselves afloat. For the people who can’t find jobs, they’re going to lose their homes. They’re not going to be able to afford food, and they’re going to take on debt that will stay with them for years.

Finding a new job has also become nearly impossible, with 14 million more unemployed people than job openings right now, according to the Economic Policy Institute.

Democrats and Republicans have made little progress towards a new deal and have reached a deadlock.

When the expiration date neared, the GOP proposed a stimulus package titled the HEALS act. This act would reduce the $600 unemployment benefit, called the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), to $200 until October 5th. Then the amount would combine with states’ unemployment benefits to amount to 70% on the individual’s previous income until the end of the year.

Democrats pushed for extensions of unemployment benefits. In May, the House of Representatives passed the Heroes act, which would extend the FPUC until January, but this act was not approved by the Senate. The Worker Relief and Security Act was proposed by Democratic Senators Michael Bennet and Jack Reed and Representative Don Byer which would extend unemployment benefits until 30 days after Trump declared the state of emergency for COVID-19 over. The amount of unemployment benefits received would depend on the unemployment rate of each state.

Although both parties and the White House have voiced support for more stimulus checks, the details of those stimulus checks are proving difficult to agree upon. Democrats and Republicans continue to blame each other. The White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows said:

We’re going in the wrong direction. They’re going in the wrong direction because of partisan politics. It is very disappointing

Both sides will have to resolve their differences on many different issues to come together and help millions of suffering Americans, but how quickly that can be done is uncertain.


Presley Berry is a Dual Correspondent for The National Times.