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Unemployment Benefits

How many people have lost federal unemployment benefits in New York?

The ending of the extra unemployment benefits on Labor Day has struck some of the poorest Americans the hardest, 800,000 of them in New York.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul (C) speaks, flanked by US Senator Chuck Schumer (L), New York Mayor Bill de Blasio (2nd L) and US President Joe Biden (3rd L), as the president tours a neighborhood affected by Hurricane Ida in Queens, New York on September
Mandel NganAFP

The extra unemployment benefits kept up supplies to Americans throughout the pandemic, along with a raft of large state support unheard of for a generation. But now the pandemic is estimated to be receding, and with it the extra support.

In terms of the extra unemployment benefits these were the two schemes that ended on Labor Day:

  • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), which provided unemployment benefits “to individuals who are self-employed, seeking part-time employment, or who otherwise would not qualify for regular unemployment compensation.”
  • Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), allowed those eligible to receive unemployment compensation, additional coverage as many states have a cap on the number of weeks claims can be made. This program also provided a $300 extra payment sent by the federal government in addition to state benefits.

As many as 800,000 New Yorkers had their benefits stripped by the expiry. Across the country, the number is closer to 9.2 million people.

Economists have projected that New York City may not fully regain all its pandemic job losses until 2024.

Related news:

What other support is available?

Despite the end of the federal eviction moratorium, New York Governor Kathy Hochul signed a state moratorium on evictions. However, she added that the state could not afford to keep the extra benefits on their own and would need extra support from the federal government.

There will still remain various federal support schemes for the duration of the pandemic. These include the Child Tax Credit, the latest payment of which was sent on Wednesday, SNAP vouchers and the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP).

What are people doing to change the situation?

New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez brought forward new legislation in the House in an attempt to extend the extra unemployment support throughout 2022.

“I’ve been very disappointed on both sides of the aisle that we’ve just allowed pandemic unemployment assistance to completely lapse, when we are clearly not fully recovered from the cost effects of the pandemic,” Ocasio-Cortez said in a town hall on Tuesday.

"I simply just could not allow this to happen without at least trying," she added.

It remains to be seen what support this legislation will garner.