Nearly 1 million New Yorkers have lost the added $300 in unemployment benefits that was extended through the stimulus package signed into law during the spring. The benefits expired over the Labor Day weekend and means that the weekly enhancements to New York’s unemployment insurance program will end.
Last week during an historic special session when the eviction moratorium was extended in New York until January 15, 2022 – some wondered if there was possibility that unemployment benefits would be enhanced or continued.
The problem is that New York’s financial situation is not such that it can handle paying for the enhanced benefits as laid out by the American Rescue Plan.
Over the weekend, Governor Kathy Hochul said that she would not push to extend the enhanced unemployment benefits, which means that New Yorkers could receive a maximum unemployment insurance benefit of $504 per week.
“Our unemployment system was so overtaxed last year and a half that we now have an $11 billion deficit, and the state law does not allow us to allocate any increase in resources as long as there is a deficit,” Hochul explained. “We looked long and hard to find out what options are available for people.”
The state has paid out a crippling $97 billion in unemployment benefits during the pandemic to a total 4.7 million people. “We continue to review all options to assist New Yorkers in need,” Hochul added.
The federal government had originally approved a boost of $600 per week to unemployment benefits when the CARES Act was signed into law. There were other federal programs, which also expired over the weekend.