How many people will be affected by the July 31, 2020 expiration of the unemployment insurance extended benefits?

How many people will be affected by the July 31, 2020 expiration of the unemployment insurance extended benefits?

On Monday Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell disclosed the Senate’s Health, Economic Assistance, Liability Protection, and Schools, or HEALS, Act. It is supposedly a $1 trillion package proposal for the next coronavirus relief.

This proposal also outlines the second round of $1,200 economic impact payments; legislation to protect entities such as businesses, schools, and doctors from certain lawsuits; and also funding to Paycheck Protection Program loans, schools, coronavirus testing, and vaccine development efforts.

As sweet as it sounds, but it’s not all good news, folks! One major section of the HEALS Act also plans to implement a drop in enhanced unemployment benefits from the current $600 per week to a meager $200 weekly boost, on top of state-administered aid, until the end of September.

As per the recent statistics, this would cut the average worker’s unemployment benefit by nearly 43% to about $521 in total benefits per week, accounting for both state and federal aid. Now that’s going to have a big impact on people who lost their jobs in the pandemic.

That amount can vary from one state to another; with the $200 weekly boost, new benefits under the proposal could reach an average high of $697 per week in Washington and as low as just $244 per week in Oklahoma. But unfortunately, many unemployed people have yet to collect as states struggle to keep up with a surge in claims.

By October, the federal boost will be substituted with a payment that, when combined with regular state benefits, will recover 70% of the worker’s previous wages. The replacement rate will be calculated either by a formula mentioned in the bill or by a state proposing an alternative method and receiving approval from the Secretary of Labor, meaning the method of calculation could differ by state. Boosts will be capped at $500 per week.

The statistics show that almost 32 million Americans are currently receiving jobless benefits. What happens to these people when the unemployment benefit ends? These people did not choose to be unemployed. We live in a free country that is built on the hard work and contribution of honest and law-abiding citizens. In times of crisis, we must speak up for our RIGHTS if they’re not granted. 

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