Millions Left With No Source of Income After Federal Unemployment Insurance Benefits Expire

Brief Summary
  • Seven (7) million Americans are left without a source of income as federal unemployment benefit programs expired last week.
  • The decision was made in order to persuade more people to seek employment and begin moving the economy out of a recession
  • The decision has left millions of people financially anxious as they are left to pay their living expenses without any government assistance.

The Biden Administration recently let the federal COVID assistance programs expire, leaving seven (7) million Americans without a source of income. Here’s what happened and how it has affected the people involved.

What’s Happening with the Federal Aid Programs?

This week, many people who applied and were eligible for federal unemployment benefits during COVID-19 will be losing their benefits, as these programs were set to expire in September. The federal government implemented these programs 18 months ago to help those who were affected by the pandemic. The federally funded assistance programs provided an additional $300 weekly benefit to applicants to ensure they would have sufficient funds for their living expenses.   

Which Programs are Ending?

The following federal programs are ending for those who have filed for unemployment and qualified for federal assistance. 

Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation

  • This unemployment compensation included a $300/per week supplemental employment benefit

Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation

  • This unemployment compensation program included assistance to those who had already used up all of their state’s unemployment benefits, varying by state

Mixed Earners Unemployment Compensation

  • This unemployment compensation program included a $100/per week payment for those who were both working as an employee and independent contractor prior to the pandemic

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance 

  • This unemployment assistance program allowed those who were self-employed and freelancers to be eligible for federal assistance 

Many workers have also applied for unemployment benefits at the state level. Any changes to state unemployment insurance programs are dependent on the guidelines and laws of each state.

Why was the Federal Aid Program Set to Expire?

According to CNBC, the Biden administration has decided not to extend the federal program as they believe those using these assistance programs are discouraged from searching for a job. However, research from the Chicago Federal Reserve indicates people who are using these jobless benefits are more inclined to search for work. 

A study conducted by the Chicago Federal Reserve showed that people receiving unemployment benefits were more inclined and motivated to search for jobs. With the closing down of the federal aid programs, millions may face financial hardship as they are losing benefits and have no access to a consistent and dependable source of income. 

The Effects of Removing the Federal Aid Programs

August’s Labor Report showed that the current unemployment rate is at 9.2% for Black workers, compared to 5.2% for White workers. The large gap confirms that Black workers will be affected the most by the decision to stop federal unemployment aid. The gap between Black and White workers also demonstrates the significant racial disparity in the labor market between Black workers and their white counterparts. 

Recommended Read: The Rise of U.S. Capitalism and the Fight for Economic Equality for African Americans

Next Steps for Those Involved 

With the expiration of federal aid programs, many workers will stop receiving benefits and have to find an alternative way to stay afloat.

Apply for Jobs, if Possible

The first option is to apply for jobs and return to work, if possible. Use Indeed or LinkedIn to search for job openings. If there are specific criteria you would like to find in potential positions, such as remote-only or part-time, filter your job search to include those criteria. Before applying to jobs, consider looking over your resume and perhaps even broadening your job search to include out-of-state positions.

Recommended Read: I Applied to 53 Jobs and Received 1 Offer Letter. Here's Why.

Use Your Car to Make Money

The second option is to use your car to make money. One popular way to use your car is to become an Uber driver. The application process takes between one to seven days, which will help ensure you can pay for living expenses as you can get started right away.

Do Freelance Work

The last option for finding a job is to try and monetize your hobby. If you have a hobby that you think has the potential to become a main source of income, then use a website such as Fiverr to help advertise your hobby and your rates. This option poses the most amount of risk, especially if you have others who are financially dependent on you. However, if you are willing to take a risk, this option is for you as it poses a high reward.

If you are in financial need and are unable to pay rent, you may be eligible for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program, which provides aid to those who are struggling to pay rent. Learn more about the program and check to see if you qualify here

What are your thoughts on the decision to let the federal aid programs expire? Let us know in the comments below.

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