As millions of Americans have been without work amid the pandemic, nearly 12 million people will lose unemployment benefits on December 26, according to the Century Foundation.
The Century Foundation estimates that 7.3 million Americans will exhaust benefits from the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program. The federal program extended unemployment benefits for millions of Americans who otherwise would not have received state unemployment benefits.
According to the Century Foundation, 4.6 million Americans will lose benefits through the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program on December 26. This fund extended state unemployment benefits for an additional 13 weeks. The 4.6 million Americans is in addition to the 3.5 million workers who will have lost PEUC benefits by then.
“Congress has stared down major expirations of jobless benefits multiple times during the Great Recession and previous economic cycles,” the Century Foundation said. “Policy makers have been more comfortable with enacting temporary extended benefits programs with more predictable costs rather than improving the automatic stabilizers in (extended benefits) EB."
While millions of Americans are set to lose benefits, there remains ongoing debate on Capitol Hill to provide some form of economic stimulus. There have been various proposals that would offer extended benefits, but the House, Senate and White House have struggled to find any sort of agreement.
“With the stakes of the benefit cutoff perhaps higher than they have ever been before, there also seems to be a grave danger that unemployed Americans could be left behind during a lame duck session taking place in the overhang of a contested presidential election,” the Century Foundation said. “But the numbers—and families behind them—leave no excuses for inaction.”