Pandemic Aid Expires for Millions at Once

Chris Gaetano
Published Date:
Sep 7, 2021

Over the weekend, three major programs that had been keeping Americans afloat through the pandemic ended, throwing millions around the country into an uncertain, likely more difficult, future, the Washington Post reported

Expiring were the federal supplements to unemployment (first $600, then $300 per week), the expansion of the categories of workers who can access unemployment, and the extension on how long one can remain on unemployment. As of Monday, more than 7 million people lost all benefits and 3 million lost access to the federal unemployment supplement.

With $683 billion spent on unemployment benefits, it was the second largest pandemic aid program outside the Paycheck Protection Program. The Post said that White House aides have been in contact with states to take action on softening the fall, but no states have done so thus far. 

Conservatives had been exerting consistent pressure to end the federal unemployment aid programs on the belief that it was keeping people from going out to find work, leading numerous Republican-led states to end their own participation weeks before the scheduled deadline. Yet data since then indicates that there were few to no real job gains from this action. While the number of jobs did grow, a study found no real difference in rates between states that ended unemployment early and those that did not. 

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