Carlos Ponce joined other protesters in a protest, asking senators to support the continuation of unemployment benefits on July 16, 2020 in Miami Springs, Florida.
Joe Riddle | Getty images
The new study found that the loss of a $ 600 increase in weekly unemployment benefits puts 6 million people at risk of not being able to pay their bills this month.
This financial hardship comes at a time when jobs are hard to find, lawmakers are at a dead end due to continuing federal unemployment benefits, and moratoriums on evictions have expired in about 30 states. The federal moratorium ended in late July.
The $ 600 unemployment subsidy, created by the federal coronavirus relief law in March, topped the traditional state aid payments.
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These state benefits averaged about $ 308 a week (approximately $ 1,232 a month) in June, according to the latest figures from the Department of Labor. They drowned just $ 183 a week ($ 732 a month) on average in Louisiana.
States also set minimum weekly amounts – a minimum amount of benefits, in other words – that can be up to $ 5 per week.
For many, the federal subsidy – which amounted to an additional $ 2,400 a month – was a lifeline that helped them pay their bills.
6 million people
Left with state distribution alone, about 33% of unemployment recipients cannot afford basic living expenses and will have to plunge into savings in August to cover them, according to a study published Wednesday by Morning Consult, a company for market research.
That means about 6 million people, according to John Leer, the company’s chief economist.
That’s about a third of the 18.1 million recipients of unemployment insurance and 1.2 million additional people who applied for benefits last week, according to the latest figures from the Ministry of Labor.
The unemployment crisis has disproportionately affected lower-income Americans, who are less likely to stockpile savings to sustain the current climate, Leer said.
And it would be difficult to make ends meet simply by adjusting the budget – for example, to eat less and buy less clothes, for example – because respondents to the survey said that spending on basic necessities such as rent and food, and not for superfluous things, are out of range. , Said Lier.
“I’m not talking about luxuries and going on vacation,” Lier said. “Paying by car is still your payment by car.
“It’s not adjustable,” he added. “There is a real risk of an increase in arrears.”
The survey’s findings on financial hardship are likely to be underestimated, Leer said, as it only looks at those who collect unemployment insurance. Millions of Americans may lose their jobs but do not collect unemployment benefits.
The survey did not report more than 12 million workers collecting benefits through the federal government’s pandemic unemployment program, which was set up in March to cover the self-employed, concerts and other workers who were previously ineligible for unpaid benefits. work. About 830,000 people applied for benefits from the PUA last week, according to the Ministry of Labor.
Lawmakers are currently negotiating another federal financial aid package, including whether to extend, replace or eliminate the $ 600-a-week increase in unemployment. Democrats want to continue payments early next year or gradually cut aid as the unemployment rate falls. Republicans proposed lowering weekly benefits to $ 200 a week, eventually moving to a system that replaces up to 70 percent of lost wages.
The Morning Consult study surveyed a representative sample of 2,200 adults in the United States, weighted according to age, gender, education and region. It was held between July 23 and 25 and has an error of 2 percentage points.