Will the $600 federal unemployment benefit be renewed?

Will the $600 federal unemployment benefit be renewed?
(Source: WMC Action News 5)

Many people collecting unemployment are starting to get concerned.

The extra $600 a week in federal pandemic benefits runs out in just four weeks, on July 25th or 26th for most people.

Millions of unemployed Americans have been kept afloat by that extra $600 weekly, which supplements their $200 or $300 in state benefits.

But some people still waiting for their first check worry they will never see a dime.

Ashley Duncan was laid off from her job helping disabled children when the pandemic began.

Worse, her application for unemployment benefits was rejected for not meeting the income threshold.

”They said I made insufficient funds last year, " she said, even though she worked in two different states and says half her income was not counted as a result.

Trying to explain her unique situation to a human proved impossible. “I waited 7 hours on the phone, and then they hung up on me,” she said.

Now Duncan worries she may miss the $600 a week from the federal CARES Act, before she straightens our her claim and starts getting unemployment.

Mely Positiva, who paints houses for a living, has also lost work, and could use some extra federal benefits.

”We have a family to support and for the last three months it was very hard,” Positiva said.

What could replace the $600 bonus payment?

Marketwatch recently listed three proposals on the table to replace the ending federal benefits. Some democrats have proposed a”HEROES” act, that would to extend the $600 a week through year’s end.

A second proposal would continue the $600 payments until each state ends its pandemic emergency, so the ending date would vary.

A third proposal would be a $450 a week bonus if you return to work.

Supporters say only that proposal gives workers an incentive to go back to the job.

The latest proposal is to continue the federal benefits, but at a reduced level.

Duncan wants to work, but also wants her CARES Act benefits that she believes she qualified for.

”Just enough to make me be able to pay rent, and pay for schooling,” she said.

It appears Congress will approve some sort of extended benefits, since millions remain out of work. But how much they approve will be a hot topic of debate.

Copyright 2020 WBRC. All rights reserved.