About 1.8 million Americans will face a cutoff in unemployment benefits in January if Congress doesn’t extend emergency federal unemployment insurance (UI) before returning home for the holidays, according to estimates from the National Employment Law Project (NELP). The NELP report (which includes state-specific estimates) says that the 1.8 million workers affected in January include:
- Over 430,000 workers who became unemployed within the last six months and are receiving benefits through their state’s regular UI system, but whose benefits will expire in January, leaving them without access to any federalbenefits. (Several hundred thousand unemployed workers exhaust their regular benefits each month — a trend that will continue over the coming year.)
- Almost 650,000 workers who have been unemployed for over six months and have been receiving benefits through the temporary Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) program, which will expire in January. EUC provides benefits in “tiers” of weeks; people receiving EUC when the program expires at the beginning of the year will be allowed to complete their current tier but not move on to the next tier. NELP estimates that almost 650,000 workers will reach the end of their current tier and thus receive no further federal benefits in January. Many more will lose EUC benefits prematurely in the months to follow.
- Over 700,000 workers who have been unemployed for over six months (most for over a year) and who are receiving benefits through the permanent Extended Benefits (EB) program. Without congressional action, this program will not be available in any state after the first week of January, and all EB recipients will be cut off.
Camping in parks will become a necessity.