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More than 5 million people won’t get the $300 unemployment boost right now


Philadelphian’s rallied at City Hall before taking to the streets to demand Congress return and come to a deal on Unemployment and other key features of the HEROES Act in Philadelphia, PA, on August 20, 2020.

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Most states have gotten approval to offer workers at least $300 a week in extra unemployment benefits.

But more than a dozen haven’t — and that leaves millions of workers without additional aid and wondering when, or if, it will come.

The dynamic is playing out at a time when jobs are scarce and financial relief measures, such as housing protections and low-interest loans for small businesses, have expired.

So far, 32 states will offer an extra $300 a week in unemployment benefits, funded by the federal government, as part of a Lost Wages Assistance program.

Those states have gotten approval from the Federal Emergency Management Agency over the past week and a half to offer the subsidy, which is being paid by up to $44 billion in federal disaster-relief funds.

Some states, like Kentucky and Montana, are kicking in an extra $100 from a federal coronavirus-relief fund, for a total of $400.

Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming haven’t yet received approval to offer the $300 boost.

That means about 5.5 million people receiving unemployment benefits are currently left out from getting more jobless aid, according to a CNBC analysis of Labor Department data.

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That equates to about 22% of the roughly 25 million Americans receiving traditional state unemployment insurance and those getting benefits through the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program for self-employed, gig and other workers.

And the analysis leaves out many workers who aren’t eligible for the $300-a-week boost even in states approved to offer it. People currently getting less than $100 a week in benefits can’t access the federal subsidy – equating to about 1 million people nationwide, by some estimates.

Of course, many states that haven’t yet received federal approval to offer the extra benefits have applied or plan to apply for it. South Dakota’s governor has said the state will not apply for the aid.

But these delays can prove costly for unemployed workers depending on the extra assistance. Nearly a month has passed since they last received a $600-a-week federal unemployment subsidy enacted in March as part of the CARES Act financial-relief law.

Absent additional money, workers are getting just $308 a week in state benefits, on average, according to the Labor Department.

It appears just two states – Arizona and Texas – have begun disbursing the lost wages assistance to workers, nearly three weeks after President Trump signed an executive measure directing FEMA to pay the benefit.

Meanwhile, jobs are hard to find. There are 11.2 million more unemployed workers than job openings, according to the Economic Policy Institute. 

Federal eviction protections for renters and homeowners unable to pay their housing bills ended last month. Similar protections have expired in around 30 states. That means renters and homeowners are at risk of being kicked out.

An executive measure around evictions that President Trump signed earlier this month doesn’t offer additional protections, experts said, since it directs federal agencies to consider measures to prevent evictions.

The Paycheck Protection Program, a low-interest loan program for small businesses, ended earlier this month, cutting off a key source of aid for struggling entrepreneurs that helped prop up payrolls.

That portends yet more layoffs for some businesses that can’t access additional relief.

Nearly half — 47% — of U.S. employers that furloughed or laid off staff due to the coronavirus pandemic are weighing additional workforce reductions over the next 12 months, according to a survey published Tuesday by Randstad RiseSmart, a career services firm.


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