LANSING, Mich. — Millions of Americans have never been in such a dire financial situation as they are right now. Because this is all so new for many some people aren't aware of the government programs available to help. Alicia Nieves explains what's out there and why applying for them now might be key for you.
People around the country have been waiting at least 8 months for Congress to pass another stimulus package and at this point, most are uncertain a new deal will be reached this year.
“It seems like every time we get really, really close then nothing transpires.” Elizabeth Pancotti is a policy advisor at employ America
“There is a sense of urgency within the halls of Congress, but that same urgency was there in July when the $600 top off expired. It’s been there all along, so it is tough to say that this time will be different.”
If this time is not different 12 million American will run out of unemployment benefits and potentially have zero income in January. 40 million Americans and their families will be in danger of eviction, as the nationwide eviction moratorium ends Dec. 31st, but Americans will not be without any safety net to fall on.
Pancotti says they should consider three programs many people don’t know about because so many have never needed public assistance before. “The first one is snap or more commonly known as food stamps. That could provide $200-$600 dollars per week.
“The second program is TANF or temporary assistance for needy families. The problem with TANF is that it does have a work requirement and so many jobless workers are not working and may not be eligible.
“The third program is going to be on a state-by-state basis, so some UI or unemployment insurance offices have tried to extend benefits for longer or tried to top off benefits. for example in the District of Columbia they are planning to send checks to every PUA worker.”
It is important to note that snap benefits can only be used for food, and while TANF usually has a work requirement most states are not enforcing that during this pandemic. Most importantly, note that it could take up to 30 days for someone to get enrolled in these programs so apply now and apply even if a stimulus package is passed.
”Even if congress comes to an agreement this week it is very likely that for most if not all UI recipients, there will be a lag in getting those top off payments. If there is a $300-$400 top off it will be weeks before that starts showing up on checks. It will be weeks before people who are kicked out of the system will be brought back in. ”
These three programs could get millions through the likely gap in their income.
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