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PA Unemployment Benefits: Will the $600 bonus expire?

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The $600-a-week increase in federal unemployment benefits for workers in Pennsylvania expired on July 25. On Monday afternoon, Washington Republicans unveiled their replacement program plan.

Known as Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, or FPUC, the extra money for out-of-work Americans has been included in the historic $2 trillion CARES Act boost. He has topped up state payments since early April, after coronavirus shutdowns led to an unprecedented number of layoffs.

Senate Republicans have proposed a second $1 trillion package that:

  • Award another $1,200 stimulus check using the same protocol as the first
  • Reduces emergency unemployment benefits from $600 to $200 until states can implement a sliding scale system
  • Places a moratorium on evictions
  • Allocate at least $100 million for another round of PPP commercial loans

The GOP is working to implement the sliding-scale benefits system, which would cap emergency unemployment benefits at 70% of a person’s normal salary. Deprecated state processes mean it would be probably take between 8-20 weeks to implement this new calculation, NPR reported, increases the load on systems already backed up.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he hopes to finalize the second round of stimulus before July 31.

Such a change would be so drastic that the US Department of Labor opposed it in May, calling it “extremely difficult, if not impossible to implement,” according to NPR.

Currently, between 32 million and 36.4 million American workers are receiving or awaiting unemployment benefits. Pennsylvania June unemployment rate was 13%, higher than the already high national rate of 11% – and many residents are panicking at the end which is fast approaching for the additional $600.

House Democrats passed a bill in May that would extend those payments through January 2021, but President Donald Trump has said he would veto the bill if it lands on his desk.

It’s unclear when McConnell will introduce his coronavirus relief bill and whether it will pass before lawmakers go on summer recess. The house is expected to end in-person voting on July 31 (although Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she will keep it in session until some sort of revival is finalized), and the Senate is off as of August 7.

In late March, Washington DC lawmakers passed a $2 trillion package intended to mitigate the devastating economic effects of the pandemic.

In addition to one-time payments of $1,200 for large numbers of people, or more for some families, as well as various financial supports for businesses and hospitals, the stimulus package provided additional money for jobless filers. traditional and also extended benefits to people who were not usually eligible, such as freelancers and gig workers.

At the same time, states have struggled to manage an unprecedented volume of claims.

More than 737,000 Pennsylvanians applied for unemployment benefits in the first two weeks following Gov. Tom Wolf’s business shutdown order in March, overloading the system. There have been more than 1.8 million unemployment claims filed in Pennsylvania since the pandemic hit.

The increase in applications means that around 8% of applicants – or 90,000 people – still haven’t received unemployment payment at all. here are some tips on how to navigate the system.

The original $2 trillion stimulus package was called the CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security). It came with a bunch of provisions, but the most important ones related to unemployment are:

  • Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation or FPUC, which provided an additional $600 to traditional unemployment claimants each week,
  • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance or PUA, which extended unemployment to gig workers and the self-employedand
  • Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation or PEUC, which extends the length of time a person can collect benefits by an additional 13 weeks.

PUA payments range from $195 to $600 per week and will last until the end of December.

Pennsylvania FPUC payments expired in Pennsylvania on July 25.

PEUC extends Pennsylvania’s 26-week unemployment collection limit to 39 weeks. Pennsylvania also has its own extended benefits program which adds an additional 13 weeks. That means residents could potentially collect their unincreased unemployment amounts for a full year.

FPUC payments were due to end at the end of July. They ended nationwide on July 25 or 26, Saturday or Sunday, depending on when a state’s weekly unemployment schedule begins and ends.

The costly bailout of workers has always been a political point of contention. Now conservative Republican lawmakers in Washington DC say they believe the significant increase in benefits discourages working because it is at or above minimum wage. Democrats, on the other hand, are pushing to expand FPUC payments.

Economists from the Economic Policy Institute, a nonpartisan, nonprofit think tank, recommend extending payments.

The PPE has found that there are 14 million more unemployed than job vacancies – thus, the end of FPUC benefits would still leave many unemployed workers waiting to receive them.

Without the $600 weekly raise, unemployed workers have less spending money, and the IPS predicts the resulting economic downturn will cost Pennsylvania an additional 250,000 jobs, or 4.1% of total job openings. of State.

Pennsylvania officials are urging people to apply for state resources beyond unemployment.

The Commonwealth Compass website offers information and ways to apply for healthcare resources like Medicaid. A a single person must earn less than $16,971 per year to qualify for Medicaid. That drops to less than $34,846 for a family of four.

Then there is the children’s health insurance program. CHIP is for uninsured children age 19 whose families are not eligible for Medicaid. A family of four must have an annual income of less than $78,600 to qualifyfor example.

There is also food assistance available through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, SNAP, and utility assistance through the state’s Low-Income Household Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP, among others.

SNAP Income Threshold is similar to Medicaid eligibility and qualify for LIHEAPa single person must earn less than $19,140 per year.