Unemployment Benefits

What pandemic programs will remain once extra unemployment benefits end?

The extra benefits are due to expire on Labor Day, September 6, but there are still other schemes available to help those who are out of work.

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What pandemic programs will remain once extra unemployment benefits end?
Jim Mone AP

The extended CARE act is expiring soon, meaning all three of the extended unemployment benefits, the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and the extra unemployment benefits (FPUC) will be ending. However, these schemes have some clauses meaning you may still be eligible for some support.

  • PEUC - Unemployment Compensation (UC) will retuirn to the standard 26 week benefit to eleible people. If these have already been used up then benefits will end after Labor Day.
  • PUA - claimants will be unable to access unless eligible for UC.
  • FPUC - Weekly benefits will return to normal rate for those who are elible for UC but they will stop for everyon else.

What other schemes are there to provide assistance?

Lawmakers and advocates have been working to extend a handful of federal aid programs.

Child Tax Credit

The enhanced Child Tax Credit is one of President Biden's flagship policies. Since July 15 families across America have received two payments with four more coming this year. The other half will be sent once families have filed their 2021 tax returns For each child under six, those eligible will receive $300 a month, and for children between the ages of six and seventeen, $250 will be sent. There is no limit on the number of children in an eligible family and unless you opted out, it is totally automatic, unless you haven't filed your taxes in the last two years.

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

The value of food stamps is increasing to $36.24 per person, per month. This increase is starting 1 October 2021 and is a 25% bump on the pre-pandemic level.

The USDA stipulates that a household must have a net income below equal to or below the poverty line. In 2019, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) found that this would be an average of around $2,252 a month, $27,020 a year, for a three-person family. However, those applying who live in households with a senior citizen, or someone with a disability, can surpass these income thresholds.

Schools will offer free school meals in the fall.

Eviction moratorium

On August 3rd, CDC Director Dr Rochelle Walensky signed the Moratorium Order meaning tenants in areas of substantial or high transmission who fail to make rent or housing payments will not be evicted. This was introduced to prevent the spread of the virus, enabling people who fell sick to self-isolate and quarantine at home. This will come as a relief to many as the order covers about 90% of renter areas but it is set to expire on the October 3rd, 2021, less than two months away.

Emergency Rental Assisstance Program (ERAP)

Congress have set aside $46 billion in an emergency rental relief fund and encourages member states and local governments to use it. This is funding to assist households that are unable to pay rent or utilities. There are two separate programs, and both are provided directly to states, US territories and local governments. However, just 4% of that has been sent, helping an estimated 350,000 households. This rate of disbursement has increased by 60% since May.