Unemployment Benefits: Will Congress Offer An Extension?

Unemployment Benefits
Unemployment Benefits

Around 12 million American families have just one week before they lose their sources of income. But Congressional debates regarding new stimulus has reached a halt. Two CARES Act provisions extend unemployment benefits towards more people that also gig and self-employed people. It also adds additional 13 weeks for payments that were set to get expired by 26th December. Meanwhile, lawmakers are divided on how many financial lifelines to extend to Americans as COVID-19 continues to destroy the country. Michele Evermore, policy analyst, National Law Project has asked the workers to understand how their unemployment benefits get influenced if Congress and the House decide to extend relief.

What Could Happen When Unemployment Benefits Get Extended?

An increase in unemployment has exposed the outdated and underfunded networks of the State unemployment programs. Even if Congress decides to act soon on extending benefits, the payments will get delayed because of programming and administrative difficulties. Even a delay for short time in 2021 can cause catastrophe for American families and leave behind long-term consequences. According to Evermore, there might be an increase in evictions, suicide, and poverty due to the already tough times for people’s mental health. American people end up without medicine, avoiding chronic health crisis, going for credit cards with high interest, checking out pawn shops, or going for payday loans.

At the start of January 2021, if Congress doesn’t act on passing a new stimulus, just those workers will receive aid who traditionally qualified for these unemployment benefits. The Unemployment Assistance program extends benefits towards more workers that includes freelancers, self-employed, gig workers, and those parents who had t o stay from work for proving child care. Without an appropriate federal extension, they won’t qualify for these unemployment benefits. Evermore stated that people receiving overpayment notices are entitled for seeking legal services. She added that legislation after a new aid package will allow the states to waive off the recovery of overpayments.

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