LANSING, Mich. — With no new Coronavirus stimulus bill many Americans are approaching a financial cliff. Their unemployment benefits are about to run out eviction moratoriums are about to expire and student loan relief will soon end.
Alicia Nieves shows us potential relief some could get even if congress remains at deadlock on a stimulus bill. Jeff Catanese is a theater director, actor and drama teacher who lost all three of his jobs in march.
“That hit me especially hard.” He has since found temporary work here and there but has mostly relied on unemployment to survive. “In about two weeks, I will no longer have any funding.”during the pandemic, unemployment is capped at 39 weeks.with unemployment being capped at 26 weeks, plus 13 weeks added under the CARES act P.E.U.C. program. he is expiring out of benefits and about to lose all income, with no prospect of stable work ahead.
“So how i get through the winter i am actually not sure.“ There is a part of me that is very worried. however, the one this that is stealing me a little bit is that people who i know personally are a lot worse off than me.”
“We are getting letters all the time of people are [now] living in parks, they are living in their cars.” Stephanie Freed is the co-founder of the advocacy group extendpua.org. It shows people how to share their unemployment stories and struggles with members of Congress, to push them to extend benefits.
Freed, is also someone who lost her job in march, and is about to expire run out of her unemployment benefits in a week. “I will lose my apartment, but i have people i can stay with. I can go stay with my parents even though I am in my 30s and it does not feel great, but I won’t be homeless, and millions of people will.”
Jeff Catanese, Stephanie Freed, and even her extend PUA co-founder Grant Mcdonald…are just three of an estimated 13 million Americans who will expire run out of unemployment benefits by the end of the year and they will do so when federal eviction moratoriums lapse and student loan relief ends.
“It’s a pretty dire situation.” Elizabeth Pancotti is with employ America and explains even without congressional action there may be help for some. “After PUA and PEUC end on Cecember 26th, some of those workers will be eligible to flow on another federal program called the extended benefits program and that is for states where unemployment is high within the state and so you get an additional 6 to 20 weeks.”
The “extended benefit’s” program only gets triggered in January and so far only people living in these 16 states and D.C. are expected to qualify.
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