Only Two More Weeks Left of $600 FPUC, New Legislation Still Not on the Horizon
Discontinuing the extra $600 could cause a massive financial ruin to a lot of families depending on it
The weekly $600 FPUC (Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation), which is a provision established under the Coronavirus Aid, Response and Economic Security (CARES) Act, is set to expire on the 31st of July. The $600 is an extra federal weekly benefit that was added to all regular state unemployment weekly benefit amounts as well as to the self-employed under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA).
For all practical matters, despite the expiration date of the 31st as stated in the law, it will actually expire on the 25th which is the end of the work week for most states. Therefore, at the time of writing this article, only 2 weeks remain.
Many unemployed workers and their families rely on this extra amount to make ends meet, for without it, their life would not be sustainable. Mary B. of Flagstaff, Arizona told us in an interview:
"I am a wedding planner, and since the pandemic started, I am obviously out of work. I was approved for a measly $240 of unemployment per week, but with the extra $600 at least I can pay the bills, pay my rent, buy food. My husband is unemployed as well and I have no care for my kids. I don't know what I will do if the $600 is canceled, don't want to think about it."
Frank T. of St. Louis, Missouri faces similar difficulties:
"I was an administrative assistant but my company closed and laid everyone off. get $320 in unemployment benefits per week from Missouri Labor. That is not enough to survive. The added $600 has helped me and my family immensely. I've been trying to look for a new job but no one is hiring because of all the closures. What will happen if this isn't extended? Who is going to pay our bills? How will I afford to feed my family?
Our hotline has received hundreds of emails of that nature, wondering how they will survive financially without the added $600, and trying to find out more information about a possible extension.
Critics of the act, however, say that the extra $600 serves as a discouragement for people to return to work, because they are earning a lot more in unemployment benefits (sometimes even double or triple) then what they earn at their regular job. Thus one would have no motivation to seek out a job in which they could earn less than what they earn by doing nothing.
However, while when this law was enacted it was expected that the economy would start reopening by July, it is now clear that we are still far from full recovery, and a lot of businesses still remain shut down, and as such it is very difficult to find a job in this market. Added to that are issues such as childcare where schools are on track to switch to remote learning methods.
Several options are on the table, and we predict that one of them will be decided upon in the last moment:
Do NothingThis involves just letting the regulation expire, and not extending or replacing it. This is by far the worse choice as it will leave a lot of families struggling, and drastically increase the poverty level.
Back to Work BonusOne of the ideas thrown around involves giving a bonus for those who RETURN to work, rather than those who are unemployed. So the federal government would add a weekly amount, around $400-$600 to all weekly paychecks to those who return to work.
While this "may" have seemed like a plausible option a month or two ago when planning to re-open the economy by July, right now it makes no sense because states are still struggling to open
Compensation based on Unemployment RateAnother suggestion was to add a weekly compensation based on the unemployment rate in your state. So claimants in those states with a high unemployment rate would receive the full amount, and those with low unemployment rates would receive less, on a sliding scale.
While something is better than nothing, we feel that this plan also does not make sense in the current economic situation.
Extension of the FPUCLast, there is the possibility of extending the $600 FPUC as is. With the current market conditions and the end of the pandemic nowhere to be seen, we believe this to be the best option.
UnemploymentPUA.com will keep monitoring the status of the legislation, so bookmark our website and check back frequently for any updates about a possible extension!