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Pandemic unemployment assistance is ending this week: Millions will lose $300 to $600 per week

By the end of the week coronavirus pandemic unemployment assistance will end in New York and across the United States. Altogether 11 million jobless workers in the U.S. will lose benefits, and in New York State it means that those who are unemployed will go back to receiving a maximum benefit of $504.

The benefits were originally part of the CARES Act in March 2020, then extended again in the American Rescue Plan, which was passed earlier this year.

In New York an extra $300 per week was being infused into unemployment benefits for jobless workers, which was crucial advocates say for keeping families afloat during the pandemic. And now, they are doubling down, noting that as Delta Variant cases skyrocket – it isn’t the best time to slow those benefits.

However, employers across the U.S. say that increased pandemic-era jobless benefits are keeping workers from heading back – prompting a worker shortage that’s being felt across a range of industries. Ending those benefits is what many say was needed.

Nearly 24 states decided to end those pandemic unemployment benefits early, but that didn’t prompt the rush of workers back into the workforce that many expected. That was surprising to some – especially as 7 million stare down the prospect of losing unemployment benefits altogether on September 6.

It breaks down like this: There will be 4.2 million people who loses benefits through Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, then another 3.3 million who lose benefits through Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation.

Could those pandemic unemployment benefits get an extension? It’s possible, but it wouldn’t happen in New York without the legislature returning to session. A special session has been discussed, but no imminent plans to return have been formalized. To make matters worse, it appears unlikely that the federal government or Congress agrees to any additional spending plans on pandemic unemployment assistance.