American states are moving to cut pandemic unemployment benefits, a painful blow for millions of people who will soon be left without income.
With punishing jobless levels during the Covid-19 pandemic, unemployment benefits had been extended — especially to the self-employed — and extended further until September 6, even for those who had reached the maximum duration.
But now 21 out of 27 states governed by Republicans — including Missouri, Alaska, West Virginia, Indiana and Georgia — will soon reduce or eliminate additional unemployment aid, according to a note from analysts at Oxford Economics out Wednesday.
This means that some 2.5 million people out of the 16 million unemployed Americans will receive no more help starting in June or July, depending on the state, the analysts said.
One million more unemployed people will lose the additional $300 per-week benefit.
“It’s going to be devastating,” said Sue Berkowitz, director of the South Carolina Appleseed Legal Justice Center, an organization that advocates for the rights of low-income residents.