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Millions face lapse in unemployment benefits despite new coronavirus relief deal
Congress set to vote on $900B COVID-19 stimulus bill
Rep. Tom Reed, R-N.Y., discusses the latest news from Capitol Hill on ‘The Evening Edit’
Although Congress passed a long-awaited coronavirus relief bill on Monday night that will extend unemployment benefits to millions of laid-off Americans, some could still lose their income the day after Christmas.
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Outdated state unemployment insurance systems across the U.S. are expected to slow the distribution of aid — a delay that could affect up to 12 million laid-off workers who were set to see their jobless aid lapse in just a couple of days once two federal aid programs created earlier this year expire.
“We’re too far gone,” says Elizabeth Pancotti, a policy adviser at the pro-worker Employ America, told USA Today. “We would have needed a deal before Thanksgiving for there not to be a lapse in benefits.”
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Under the $900 billion measure, which was attached to the $1.4 trillion government spending bill, laid-off workers will get an extra $300 per week in federal unemployment aid for 11 weeks, through March 14.
The bill also expands unemployment benefits to self-employed individuals, gig workers and those who have exhausted their state benefits by extending CARES Act programs, including the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program.