Laid-off workers endure loss of $600 unemployment benefit

www.cbsnews.com
4 min read
standard
Millions thrown out of work because of pandemic are straining to afford the basics now that an extra $600 a week in federal help has expired.
An unemployed makeup artist with two toddlers and a disabled husband needs help with food and rent. A hotel manager says his unemployment has deepened his anxiety and kept him awake at night. A dental hygienist, pregnant with her third child, is struggling to afford diapers and formula.

Around the country, across industries and occupations, millions of Americans thrown out of work because of the coronavirus are straining to afford the basics now that an extra $600 a week in federal unemployment benefits has expired.

"My worst nightmare is coming true," said Liz Ness, a laid-off recruiter at a New Orleans staffing agency who fears she will be evicted next month without the added help from Washington. "Summer 2020 could be next year's horror movie."

Get Breaking News Delivered to Your Inbox

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill are struggling to work out an agreement that would restore some federal jobless aid. Even if they do reach a deal, the amount is likely to be less than $600 a week. And by the time the money starts flowing, it could be too late for many Americans who are already in dire straits

"Members of Congress may have the luxury to come to an agreement this week and vote next week and then roll it out over several weeks," said Brian Gallagher, CEO of United Way Worldwide. "Families don't have that luxury — they are out of money tomorrow."

In the meantime, more than 30 million Americans, their jobs lost or income slashed by an outbreak that has paralyzed the economy and killed close to 160,000 people in the U.S., are trying to get by solely on state unemployment benefits, which on average are less than $400 a week.

On Thursday, the government said nearly 1.9 million laid-off Americans applied for unemployment last week. That figure, which includes the self-employed and gig workers, is a decline from the previous week.…
CBS News
Read full article