ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) — For some people, the government’s extra $600 unemployment benefit has made them eligible for more money while unemployed than they made while they were working.
Millions of workers have become unemployed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
As a result, Congress passed a relief package in March with an extra $600-per-week supplement for jobless workers. The unemployment benefit is part of a $2 trillion relief package meant to offset the impact of COVID-19.
According to Market Watch, two-thirds (68%) of jobless workers are bringing home more money from their state unemployment insurance plus the extra $600 than they would have on the job.
A furloughed 17-year restaurant worker, who wanted to remain anonymous, said for her relatively large family, it was a blessing.
“I’m still making the same amount paycheck-wise for per hour. I usually make about $450 a week, right now I’m making almost $800 a week or more,” she said. “I feel like everyone should’ve gotten that in a way or at least half of something. They should’ve gotten some kind of compensation for being essential workers, and that’s why I feel guilty. “
She added: “I was able to stay home, stay safe, keep my family safe, as my husband went to work every night.”
While the relief program expires July 31, this week is the last for which benefits are paid since payments are only provided for weeks ending on either Saturday or Sunday.
It is unclear whether Congress will pass legislation before then to extend the timeline.
In June, the government reported that U.S. unemployment fell to 11.1%, down from 13.3% in May.
While the U.S. job market improved for a second straight month in June, the Labor Department reported that the country has only recouped roughly one-third of the 22 million jobs lost this spring.