Unemployment Benefits For 200K+ Americans Come To An End

Unemployment benefits have been a point of contention in recent years among lawmakers, though less so in the past few quarters than the ones preceding it.

While working Americans pay into the services to have a safety net should they be laid off or downsized, many others view the insurance as a form of “welfare,” thusly subject to cuts, drug testing, loud impassioned speeches on the floor of the House of Representatives and general scorn. But in a time of high and lasting unemployment, benefits such as the somewhat meager assistance we offer is the only thing standing between many families and homelessness, food insecurity and other long-term poverty-related issues.

So news this week that many Americans will stop receiving unemployment benefits is kind of both a bad and a good thing- on one hand, more than 200,000 likely were unable to replace the job they had lost before their benefits have come to an end. Where’s the silver lining in that?

Well, there is a slight one, as Loree Levy of the California Employment Development Department explains. While the benefits are probably keeping some families afloat, their cessation also means that unemployment rates- the ones that prompt longer terms of unemployment benefits- are dropping to new lows.

Levy explains of unemployment in California:

“In order for the state to qualify for the program you have to have a high unemployment rate… Certainly California does have a high rate, but it’s not 10 percent higher than what it’s been over the last three years, and that is a requirement of the program.”

California is one state where unemployment rates remain high. Fluctuating levels of unemployment means that benefits vary from state to state, and CNN Money notes that “unemployment benefits will be reduced to as little as 40 weeks in states with jobless rates below 6 percent and to as many as 73 weeks where unemployment tops 9 percent.”

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