Graham Kilmer

More People Relying on Pandemic Unemployment Assistance

Regular state unemployment insurance will soon start running out.

By - Sep 11th, 2020 02:51 pm
On March 19th, the downtown Milwaukee Punch Bowl Social laid off 91 employees. Photo by Jennifer Rick.

On March 19th, the downtown Milwaukee Punch Bowl Social laid off 91 employees. Photo by Jennifer Rick.

For the second week, new claims for traditional unemployment insurance have been below 1 million. But that doesn’t mean less people are relying on unemployment assistance during the pandemic.

The number of people claiming some type of unemployment assistance was more than 29 million again this week. And the federal programs for those that don’t qualify for state unemployment insurance — or no longer qualify — are seeing increasing claims.

Last week, 884,000 people filed new unemployment claims in the U.S. And 838,916 filed for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), which is for persons that don’t qualify for traditional state unemployment insurance. PUA claims have been steadily rising over the past three weeks.

Taken together, more than 1.7 million people applied for unemployment assistance last week, which is slightly above the previous week.

Unemployment claims are not dropping dramatically. And when they are combined with PUA claims, they have yet to go below 1 million since the start of the pandemic. And there are signs that unemployment insurance will start running out, soon.

In Wisconsin, as with most other states in the country, workers are eligible for 26 weeks of unemployment. But under the CARES Act, states can extend unemployment benefits for an additional 13 weeks using Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation.

Claims for PEUC are rising. Heidi Schieholz, a senior economist with the non-partisan Economic Policy Institute, wrote Thursday that “we should begin to see PEUC spike up dramatically soon.” She said it’s likely we’ll start to see the spike around Sept. 19th because of delays in PEUC reporting.

There is a federal $300 boost in unemployment insurance coming for those still claiming unemployment. But to get the boost, you have to be receiving $100 a week or more. According to a WPR story this will eliminate 15,000 people from the boost in Wisconsin.

In the last seven days since Urban Milwaukee reported on unemployment, the state has seen 11,823 people filed new unemployment claims.

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Categories: Economics, Health

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