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Can pandemic unemployment benefits get extended in New York? Lawmakers would need to act soon

Will unemployment benefits be extended in New York? Last week President Joe Biden urged some states dealing with a surge of COVID-19 delta cases to extend benefits. Advocates in states like New York have also been calling for unemployment benefits to be extended.

Enhanced benefits run through September 6 under the $1.9 trillion coronavirus stimulus package pushed through and signed into law earlier this year. While there were some states that opted out of the enhanced Pandemic Unemployment Assistance payments, economists found that cutting the program had little to do with getting people back to work.

In New York, a different problem exists. The maximum basic unemployment benefits hover around the same rate as working a full-time, minimum wage job. It has prompted many business owners to look at offering more competitive pay. In New York, the unemployment rate remains high, which has prompted some at the federal level to call for greater benefits.

The logic being that if unemployment benefits are extended, the economy won’t take as much of a hit.

“Even as the economy continues to recover and robust job growth continues, there are some states where it may make sense for unemployed workers to continue receiving additional assistance for a longer period of time, allowing residents of those states more time to find a job in areas where unemployment remains high,” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said last week.

If unemployment benefits were extended in New York it could help nearly 400,000 New Yorkers.