Please take two minutes to help millions of struggling Americans make ends meet. Congress allowed the $600 weekly federal supplement to unemployment insurance (UI) benefits to expire July 31. It’s a harmful decision that has left hundreds of thousands of Alabamians at risk of hunger and homelessness. But you can help: Urge U.S. Sens. Doug Jones and Richard Shelby to extend the federal COVID-19 unemployment insurance supplement.
Alabamians need a federal pandemic response that matches the scale of this financial crisis. Congress took some important steps in that direction by passing the CARES Act a few months ago. Hundreds of thousands of Alabamians have received an essential increase in UI benefits as a result.
Alabama’s unemployment compensation is normally capped at $275 a week. That amount is not enough to cover basic needs, and it doesn’t even cover housing costs for many Alabamians. But with the $600 weekly federal supplement, UI can replace most of the paycheck for median-wage workers who lost their jobs during the pandemic. This helps them keep food on the table and a roof over their heads.
Unfortunately, lawmakers authorized these payments only through July. But they can and should fix that oversight now. To ensure economic stability for hundreds of thousands of Alabamians and millions of Americans through the pandemic, Congress must extend the $600 weekly federal supplement in the next COVID-19 relief package. The Senate is deep into negotiations, which is why Jones and Shelby need to hear from Alabamians who want a sensible, comprehensive federal response right now.
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