Unemployment benefit programs covering millions of Americans are ending as the stimulus deal passed by Congress, which would extend the programs, sits on the president’s desk.
“A complete unforced error,” Andrew Stettner, an unemployment insurance expert and senior fellow at the Century Foundation, told Yahoo Money. “At this point, [jobless Americans are] really at the edge, and they don’t have any more further to cut. It’s going to throw them into disarray.”
Around 14 million Americans currently rely on Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), both of which are expiring on Saturday. While some unemployed Americans could move to another program, around 10 million will be ineligible. Nearly 5 million people are expected to fall into poverty in January as a result of relief provisions expiring.
“That’s the last week of compensable unemployment,” Stettner said. “Most people will probably get their final deposit into their bank account early next week, but they won’t be able to claim any more benefits.”