Think that extra $600 in unemployment benefits will last until the end of July? Think again.
Many unemployed Americans who are expecting an additional $ 600 a week by the end of July will be surprised to see the benefits go away almost a week earlier than expected.
The additional $ 600 weekly unemployment benefits provided by the federal government are scheduled to officially end on July 31. However, the states will not pay them until the week of July 25th or 26th. This is a major blow to the unemployed who are counting on these funds to boost government benefits - this average is only $ 370 a week.
"The $ 600 (Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation) can be paid for weeks that end no later than the week before Friday, July 31, 2020," said a statement from the US Department of Labor. "For all states except (New York)), that's Saturday July 25th. New York's end date is Sunday July 26th."
The confusion is in the small print. Unemployment benefit is paid by states weekly or biweekly with a fixed end date on Saturday or Sunday. However, the federal law, known as the CARES Act, which approved the additional compensation, states that the benefit ends "on or before July 31," a Friday.
Given the payment plans of most states, the last week of additional $ 600 payments ends on the previous Saturday or Sunday. A Trump administration official said the CARES Act legislation is inaccurate, as written. Efforts to reach legislators involved in legislative work have been unsuccessful.
The technology appeared to be confusing, with some states, including New York, incorrectly giving July 31 as the end date.
The New York State Department of Labor announced that it would postpone the end date on its website for the additional $ 600 benefit from July 31 to the week ending July 26 after USA TODAY asked.
To avoid confusion, the Alabama Department of Labor will advise those receiving benefits that their additional income fluctuation will end after July 25.
"We will send it at least two weeks in advance," Tara Hutchison, a spokeswoman for the State Department of Labor, said in an email.
$ 600 was crucial for many
The additional $ 600 weekly payment is part of the CARES Act, a $ 1.8 trillion congress passed to help the country survive the economic storm sparked by the coronavirus pandemic , the company closed, slowing spending, and dropping an incredible 22 million jobs in just two months.
Within 13 weeks, 45.7 million people submitted applications for unemployment benefits for the first time as the unemployment rate rose to 13.3%, which is almost the highest level since the Great Depression.
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The additional payment of $ 600 provided a decisive boost and significantly increased the support for those who had lost their jobs. And even economists expected it to last until the end of July.
"We all say it's July 31st, but not," says Heidi Shierholz, chief economist and director of politics at the left-wing economic policy institute.
Checks that are $ 600 lighter mean that struggling Americans have to tighten their belts even more, economists say, and it may take longer for the struggling economy to take hold again.
"This is an important thing that helps the economy and really negatively impacts the overall economy, not to mention the people whose own circumstances are badly affected," said Zach Schiller, research director for Policy Matters Ohio.
Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown told reporters Tuesday that it is important to continue the benefit at a time when the country is still struggling with the pandemic, especially as moratoriums increase as tenants are evicted from their homes can.
"There is money in people's pockets," said the Ohio Democrat. "We will see a large number of people being driven out."
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For Melissa Rusk of Bradenton, Florida, the thought of losing the $ 600 subsidy for just a week is almost too much to bear.
"I would say that in some situations it is all about life or death," she said. "It may make a difference whether I can help my husband pay bills like groceries or the car."
The 36-year-old Rusk lost her job in a recreational vehicle rental at the end of April. Her husband is still working in the camp, but his income does not cover the expenses for her family of six, which has four children between the ages of 7 and 18.
Without the federal grant, and given the growing number of new infections in Florida, Rusk fears that she will be forced to take a customer-oriented job that could put her family, including her mother, who has heart disease, COPD, and diabetes, under pressure the completion of COVID-19.
"I would literally risk my life and just take the chance and God hope I don't get sick," she said.
The earlier than expected end of the program is likely to put more pressure on Congress in July as lawmakers plan to negotiate another possible coronavirus emergency package.
"Legislators believe they have until the end of July to find out," says Shierholz, "but they don't."
When asked about the early termination of the program, a Senate democratic adviser who did not want to be identified because he was not empowered to speak said that this was an example of why Democrats pushed for an extension and considered the possibility of doing so Program automatically tie benefits to the state of the economy.
Democrats have made expanding unemployment one of their priorities, but Republicans have been skeptical and found that some Americans are more unemployed than at work, and companies that try to re-open are having trouble hiring .
"The federal government will honor its CARES law commitment. Every fourth phase economic package must prioritize growth-enhancing economic measures that motivate employers and our large American workforce to re-employment and return to the labor market," said Judd Deere, white vice press secretary for the House said in a statement to the US TODAY.
The House Democrats passed just under a $ 3 trillion coronavirus package in May, which would extend $ 600 unemployment benefits to January, among other things.
But the bill was viewed as a non-starter by the Republican-controlled Senate, arguing that more time was needed to investigate how the trillions already passed are working and what needs remain with the country's reopening. The Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, called it a "liberal wish list" at the time.
Since then, top democrats have continued to refer to the Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act for Health and Economic Recovery or the HEROES Act and pressured the Senate to take action.
"They say they don't want to take out unemployment insurance," House Speaker Nancy Nancy Pelosi said at a press conference last week about the need for additional laws to fight the pandemic. "This is the thirteenth week in which over a million people apply for unemployment. ''
The Republicans, however, hesitated to approve widespread unemployment expansion, with some requesting reforms or other changes as part of an upcoming package.
"We need to go back to CARES law, do some tailoring, really understand who hurts out there, who has really made a lot less money in the past three months than last year," said Senator Thom Tillis, RN.C. said on Tuesday.
30-year-old Phylicia Darice from Chattanooga, Tennessee, has not received unemployment benefits since her application in mid-April after her vacation.
She says no one from the Tennessee Department of Labor and Personnel Development told her that the addition to the CARES Act would end on July 25, despite calling the department about 100 times to ask about the progress of her claim.
"It's kind of frustrating that you keep going through it and then feel like you're being lied to," said Darice.
Darice, who worked in retail customer service, may be able to work again in late July, but with the virus still spreading, the future is uncertain. After weeks of no income or unemployment benefits, she is already financially sown, she says. Losing a week of extra funds has a significant impact on your budget.
"I realize that $ 600 may not be much for some, but you're talking about making a living for someone who ... eats for a few weeks," said Darice. "Or make sure that the rent for August is paid because nothing is guaranteed."
Contributors: Michael Collins and Christal Hayes (USA TODAY); Wendy Rhodes, Post in Palm Beach, Florida; Cassandra Stephenson, The (Nashville) Tennessean; Mark Williams, The Columbus (Ohio) shipping.
This article originally appeared in the US TODAY: Unemployment under the Cares Act of $ 600 will go away sooner than many expect
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