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Unemployment Funds Quickly Depleting As States Try To Deal With Historic Surge Of Applicants

Nearly half of U.S. states have logged double-digit percentage declines in their trust-fund balances since the end of February. Meanwhile, unemployment aid offered by Congress’s $2.2 trillion package creates a tough situation for some businesses whose employees are better off filing for benefits. And some citizens won’t be getting stimulus checks because their spouse is an immigrant.


The Wall Street Journal:
States Burn Through Cash For Unemployment Payments


New York state has asked the federal government for a $4 billion no-interest loan to cover unemployment payments for people put out of work by the coronavirus pandemic as it and other states burn through funds set aside for jobless claims. States are quickly depleting funds set aside as millions of laid-off workers apply for unemployment-insurance benefits offered by state governments, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of Treasury Department data. (Chaney, 4/20)


The Wall Street Journal:
Coronavirus Sends One-Fifth Of Workers To Unemployment Line In Some States


The coronavirus pandemic is hitting state labor markets to very different degrees, with some seeing as many as one in five workers file for unemployment benefits and others far fewer. The variation appears to partly reflect when officials mandated business closures to stem the spread of the virus during the four weeks through April 11, as well as the state economies’ dependence on the industries most affected. Another factor that boosted new claims for unemployment insurance is that some states—such as Pennsylvania—encouraged laid-off workers to file. Other states, such as hard-hit New York, have struggled with technical glitches and overwhelmed filing systems, which held down the number of claims during the period. (Mackrael and Cameron, 4/21)


Politico:
Restaurants’ Bailout Problem: Unemployment Pays More


Restaurants say their industry needs its own targeted recovery fund because the bailout package Congress passed last month is making it more attractive for their staff to draw unemployment benefits than to continue working. The new Paycheck Protection Program waives repayment of small business loans if the borrower uses 75 percent of the money to maintain payroll, a measure intended to reduce layoffs. But with the expanded unemployment benefits included in the stimulus bill, some workers can as much as double their weekly checks if they stay unemployed. (Kullgren, 4/20)


NPR:
Some Business Owners Can’t Compete For Jobs With New $600 Unemployment Benefit


$600 per week. That’s what the federal government is now offering to people who’ve lost their jobs because of the coronavirus. For many workers and employers, that money is a godsend — a way to keep food on the table while also cutting payroll costs. But the extra money can create some awkward situations. Some businesses that want to keep their doors open say it’s hard to do so when employees can make more money by staying home. (Horsley, 4/21)


Los Angeles Times:
These U.S. Citizens Won’t Get Coronavirus Stimulus Checks 


She works as a film producer and her small business has ground to a halt, forcing her and her husband to eat red beans and rice most nights, scramble to find small business loans and apply for medical assistance for their two children. So the 44-year-old woman from the Midwest, who asked that her name not be used to protect her privacy, has had to bite her tongue as friends have celebrated the arrival of economic stimulus checks. (Jarvie, 4/20)


The Hill:
IRS Says Social Security Recipients With Children Must Take Action To Ensure Full Coronavirus Payment Now 


Recipients of Social Security and railroad retirement benefits who have children should act by Wednesday in order to quickly receive the full amount of their coronavirus relief payments, the IRS said Monday afternoon. The announcement gives non-filers who receive certain federal benefits only a short amount of time to get the payments for their children added to their automatic payments. (Jagoda, 4/20)


This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.



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