While Congress haggles over the next round of coronavirus aid, Americans who have buried loved ones and lost their jobs face a future shrouded in fear and uncertainty

unemployment insurance poverty job loss economic recession america coronavirus pandemic

The coronavirus has not only infected almost 4.5 million Americans, but also triggered a historic economic recession and unprecedented job losses.
Congress signed the $2 trillion CARES Act in March to soften the blow for businesses and individuals and is now haggling over the next relief package.
People told Business Insider that their stimulus checks are long gone and those who received weekly federal unemployment benefits aren’t sure how they will make ends meet now that the payments have lapsed.
“The virus kills, yes, but so does homelessness, starvation, and stress,” said Chris B., a 73-year-old hairdresser from Florida whose health is keeping him from returning to work.
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The coronavirus has wrecked Maria Meza.

It took the life of her husband, Victor Meza, put her in a hospital, and left her without a job — all in three months.

“The love of my life is gone. I was in the hospital fighting for my life and my son was at home alone, trying to survive this deadly virus,” Maria told Business Insider.

Now, the 49-year-old from Dallas, Texas, grappling with the loss of two incomes — her husband Victor’s and her own. She has also exhausted her coronavirus stimulus check and is struggling to find a new job.

In the midst of this upheaval, the supplemental $600 a week that she was receiving by way of a federal unemployment benefit ground to a halt on Friday.

“If this is not stressful, I don’t know what is,” Maria said.

A weekly federal subsidy has expired while 1 in 5 Americans is unemployed

As of Friday, nearly 4.5 million Americans have tested positive for coronavirus and over 152,000 have died, according to Johns Hopkins University. All 50 states enforced varying degrees of lockdowns and businesses closed their doors — 55% of them permanently, Yelp found — in a bid to reduce the infection’s rate of spread.

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In March, Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act — a $2 trillion stimulus package to alleviate the economic calamity triggered by the pandemic. Those who met certain criteria received stimulus checks and around 30 million people — or 20% of the American workforce — received government help because their jobs vanished, Forbes reported.

The $600 weekly subsidy supplemented “regular” unemployment insurance that people can claim for up to 26 weeks, according to the Department of Labor. The average unemployment check amounts to $378 a week, per CNBC, which isn’t enough for people to live on. In Texas, where Meza lives, the maximum benefit you can receive is $521 a week. The minimum is just $69.

However, the coronavirus-related unemployment benefits lapsed on Friday and Congress is deadlocked over the next round of aid. Proposals include another stimulus check and $200 weekly unemployment supplementary benefits while payroll tax cuts, although championed by President Donald Trump, have been omitted.

“I think we are a lot better off just to send another direct cash payment to those who have …read more

Source:: Business Insider


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