The early loss of additional unemployment benefits panics many families
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Heidi Hansen was making $ 72,000 a year as a shopping and warehouse manager in Emmetsburg, Iowa until she was laid off last month.
Her weekly Iowa state unemployment benefit of under $ 500 wouldn’t be enough to cover her monthly bills, including her $ 830 mortgage, auto insurance, and utilities. However, with the $ 300 rebound, she was able to focus on finding a new job that could hopefully lead her into retirement.
But now that Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds announced that the state will end federal unemployment programs in less than a month, Hansen is in a panic.
“I thought I had three to four months,” said 54-year-old Hansen. “And now it’s just like, ‘You have 30 days to find a job.'”
Courtesy of Heidi Hansen
States across the country have announced an early end to their federal unemployment benefits, surprising millions of Americans who believed they could rely on the checks until they expire on September 6 under the US bailout and the 1.9 stimulus package Trillion dollars passed March. Some states will stop providing benefits as early as June 12th. The cuts could affect more than 3 million people.
Republicans have blamed the more generous unemployment benefits for slowing the country’s recovery from the coronavirus pandemic and labor shortages in a number of sectors.
Proponents say the aid gives people the time they need to find jobs that match their skill level and bargaining power with employers. A number of big companies, including McDonald’s and Chipotle Mexican Grill, recently announced wage increases to attract more workers.
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Hansen fears that the early end of her service will force her to take a low-paying job that doesn’t match her decades of experience.
“I’ll do what I have to do to eat,” she said. “But I’ve worked really hard to build a career.
“To go from a manager to a grocer, what should that look like on a résumé?”
She said it was insulting and frustrating to hear the unemployed being described as lazy and complacent.
We will see children go hungry and we will see people displaced.
Director of Labor Education Research at Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations
“I miss working,” she said. “I turn to everyone and say, ‘I need a job.’ I keep getting the same story: “Nobody is hiring at the moment.”
“There are a lot of people out there who want to work,” she said. “You just can’t find a decent wage job. It takes time, and I don’t have that time now.”
In a country with no paid vacation from work, universal health or childcare, and a minimum wage that has not increased in more than a decade, experts say that unemployment benefits have only become more important to Americans in difficulty.
“It will hurt a lot of people,” said Kate Bronfenbrenner, director of labor education research at Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations, of the early end of unemployment benefits in 20 states.
“We will see children go hungry and we will see people displaced.”
Before the pandemic, Chad Webb worked in plumbing and construction, but now the single father can’t take these jobs because he has to be at home with his autistic son Maxx, 4.
During the public health crisis, he was unable to find a daycare center in Carlisle, Iowa that he can afford and that will take in his son who is struggling to put on his mask and socially distance himself.
Chad Webb, his daughter Payton, 12, and son Maxx, 4.
Source: Chad Webb
Webb has plans for an education that would allow him to qualify for a job from home, but that would take time.
Reynolds announced that his unemployment benefit will be cut in less than a month.
Without the relief, he won’t be able to keep up with his $ 1,000 rent and fears he and his two children Payton, 12, and Maxx will be evicted.
“I don’t know where we’re going,” said the 43-year-old Webb, adding that most accommodations only take women and children. “You can’t just let people take care of themselves 30 days in advance.”
Sarah Rush, her daughters Kylee (15) and Adalyn (6) and her husband Tim (48).
Courtesy Sarah Rush
Sarah Rush also needed months of more unemployment benefits until Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee announced the end of federal aid effective July 3.
During the pandemic, she was fired from her job as an occupational therapist in a nursing home and has not been able to find a comparable job since. Her husband’s back was injured in a military accident during the Iraq war and he has difficulty working.
As a therapist, Rush made over $ 30 an hour and was able to take care of her family. But now the only vacancies she sees listed are in fast food restaurants or factories.
“I’ve always made good money so it will be difficult not to make anything,” said the 36-year-old Rush.
Prior to the public health crisis, she commuted from her home in Kentucky to her job in Tennessee, where she is licensed as a therapist.
Rush hoped she could try to get a license in her state in the next few months and that by then, hopefully more jobs would open in the area as the pandemic wanes.
“I had this plan in mind,” she said. “And now I feel very stressed, like sick.
“I don’t know what I’m going to do.”