Millions of unemployed Americans faced an income "cliff" in July when the extra $600 in pandemic jobless benefits came to an end. But millions more are now facing another -- and perhaps more dire -- hit to their income as they exhaust all their unemployment options at both the state and federal levels. 


PUA offered 39 weeks of pay for people who lost their gigs or freelance work starting on January 27, which means the first claimants will exhaust their benefits the week of October 19. Meanwhile, all of the program's 11 million recipients face a hard deadline of December 31, when the program is scheduled to expire.

Even with the extensions for unemployment aid, it's not enough to protect jobless Americans from while unemployment remains high, noted Chad Stone, chief economist of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. The CARES Act lifted 18 million people out of poverty, but many have slipped back since that extra money expired, according to Columbia University researchers. The poverty rate is now higher than it was before the pandemic, they found.


Some jobless workers might not be aware they qualify for some extensions, such as the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation, or PEUC, which provides an additional 13 weeks of aid to jobless workers who exhaust their regular state benefits, experts said.

About 3 million workers have exhausted their normal state benefits through August, but only 2 million are on extensions offered under the CARES Act. That suggests some people may be missing out on benefits, Stettner said.

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