Stimulus Package: $600 Unemployment Benefit Coming to Abrupt End

U.S. lawmakers are currently hammering out the details of a second coronavirus relief stimulus package, but many Americans are facing the grim reality that the $600 federal unemployment benefit is coming to an abrupt end. That is unless the Senate can agree on a plan for extending the benefits. The extra unemployment money, which was provided under the CARES act bill, is set to expire on July 31.

According to CNBC, roughly 25 million citizens have been receiving the extra money since the COVID-19 pandemic caused massive shutdowns of business and industries all across the nation. To try and keep the benefits going so as not to have negative impact on American citizens, Senate leaders are currently having discussions with President Donald Trump and his administration to try and come to an agreement on a new bill that would extend the benefits beyond July 31. At this time, there are no official details regarding the plans. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has offered some thoughts on the subject; however, tweeting, "Enhanced unemployment benefits will expire at the end of the month. But according to reports, the Republican COVID proposal bill will not do nearly enough to aid the 20 to 30 million Americans currently unemployed."

Michele Evermore, senior policy analyst for the National Employment Law Project, has commented on the unemployment benefits situation, addressing the fact that in some parts of the nation, the state benefits are not enough to sustain citizens who are out of work. "These benefits are wholly insufficient," she said. "Losing the $600 will mean people will put themselves in physical jeopardy by showing up to unsafe jobs to keep themselves afloat." Evermore added, "For the people who can't find jobs, they're going to lose their homes." She then said, "They're not going to be able to afford food, and they're going to take on debt that will stay with them for years."

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin has suggested that the new bill will include measures to continue supporting those who are out of work. "Enhanced unemployment is intended for people who don't have jobs, particularly in industries that are harder to rebound," Mnuchin stated. "We'll figure out an extension that works for companies and works for those people who will still be unemployed."