Thousands of Nevadans to lose jobless benefits day after Christmas
This holiday season won’t be so jolly for thousands of Nevadans poised to run out of federal and state jobless benefits the day after Christmas.
Two provisions of the $2 trillion federal coronavirus relief package passed in March, known as the CARES Act have been providing jobless pay to Nevadans.
But those provisions, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation expire Dec. 26. A study released Wednesday by The Century Foundation, a progressive think tank, found about 12 million Americans around the country will be affected.
“These are temporary programs put into place during the pandemic, but they’re set by law to end on December 26,” Andrew Stettner, one of the co-authors of the study, told the Review-Journal. “It’s coming at a very bad time.”
After the pandemic sparked sweeping business closures and other chaos in March, thousands of Nevadans were furloughed or laid off, launching Nevada’s unemployment rate from 3.9 percent in January to 30.1 percent in April.
Thanks to the CARES Act, independent contractors and self employed workers were able to apply for unemployment insurance through the PUA program.
And those who were already receiving unemployment and who exhausted their benefits could claim an extra 13 weeks of compensation through the PEUC program.
Stettner, one of the authors of the Century Foundation study, told the Review-Journal that the late December cut-off will devastate the Nevada economy.
“This comes at a time when the virus is really raging and unemployment benefits are the last in line for a lot of people between able to make ends’ meet and facing scarring and long-lasting economic depravity and poverty,” said Stettner. “And when you take away people’s last form of income – especially if they’re related to tourism, which is not going to be picking up any time soon – and you take away the protection of their home, this will wreak peoples’ finances and their life.”
Tourism-dependent Nevada is facing a high unemployment rate, at 12 percent in October, up 8.3 percentage points when compared to the same time last year.
The cutoff in benefits coincides with the lifting of several other protections.
The CARES Act included a pause on consumers having to pay their student loans until Dec. 31 and several federal lending programs.
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