According to a CNBC report, millions of Americans will lose their unemployment benefits in December if another stimulus check bill is not passed by then. Back in March, one CARES Act program extended unemployment insurance for an extra 13 weeks due to the pandemic, but that measure will expire at the end of the year. Without it, many Americans will lose even the meager financial aid they are still getting now.
Americans know that another stimulus package is already long overdue, and that unemployment has been one of the most contentious aspects of this legislation. The CARES Act provided enhanced unemployment insurance worth $600 per week for qualifying Americans, and the U.S. Congress failed to agree on a new compromise before that program expired on July 31. As it is, many Americans are struggling without that aid, but now they could lose their regular unemployment as well. About 13.5 million people would be impacted, CNBC found.
The programs at stake are called the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program and the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program. These reportedly allowed self-employed people, freelancers, contractors and part-time workers to claim unemployment benefits they would not normally be eligible for due to the pandemic. Labor economist Stephen Wandner of the National Academy of Social Insurance stated bluntly what would happen if these safety nets weren't extended.
"There's going to be an enormous cliff at the end of the year," he said.
In many cases, the people impact will be those who lost their jobs early on in the pandemic, and have not been able to find new work due to the turbulent job market. Some people were temporarily laid off or furloughed at first, only to find that the situation became permanent over time.
Additionally, experts fear that the rise of new cases and outbreaks around the U.S. will cause yet another dive for the ailing economy. In general, surges in new COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths have corresponded with an economic contraction around the U.S., and there is no reason to suspect that will change. Western Michigan University economics professor Jean Kimmel said: "The lack of a coherent and sustained federal response to this crisis will leave scars that will last a generation, at least."
On Monday night, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell adjourned the United States Senate until Nov. 9 — after the 2020 presidential election — with no new stimulus measures in places. This move leaves serious doubt that another stimulus check is coming by the end of the year.