Optician Ali Nelson sent the latest glasses orders to customers last week before closing their Washington DC store to prevent the spread of the corona virus.
Without an indefinite paycheck, Nelson is one of potentially tens of millions of other Americans whose existence is currently dubious due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The number of Americans who made first jobless claims last week rose to a record 3.28 million, the Department of Labor reported Thursday. This is the clearest evidence to date of the devastating effects of the corona virus on the economy.
Concerned workers like Nelson are behind the numbers.
She has already applied for unemployment benefit, a relatively painless process that took minutes online. But Nelson is not sure how much money she could get and is worried about how she will support a family of six with this amount.
The maximum offered in the District of Columbia – about $ 450 a week – isn’t enough to cover your rental in Fairfax County, Virginia, let alone health insurance, food, and utilities.
“This is unsustainable,” said Nelson, 52, the main income earner in her household, which includes her experienced husband, who is at school, and two working children.
Many of the millions of Americans preparing for unemployment benefits do so for the first time in their lives when retail outlets, cinemas, restaurants, and other small businesses have closed due to the outbreak.
Congress is launching an economic stimulus package designed to increase unemployment benefits for people affected by the virus by $ 600 a week. It could also expand access to the program for the self-employed and freelancers who are not normally covered by the traditional program.
How much money unemployed Americans were supposed to get was a temporary stumbling block on Wednesday, but the senators finally passed the bill early Thursday morning. Currently, unemployment benefits in the US are typically half of an employee’s previous earnings, less than in most other developed countries.
Even if the bill expired this week, it is not clear when consumers will receive cash. The rise in unemployment claims overwhelmed some states and resulted in processing delays. The $ 1,200 promises made by the White House per low and middle income adult can take months to process by the tax authorities.
The uncertainty has made at least some newly unemployed Americans more anxious.
Scott Thomas, 34, lost his job as co-creative director for The Ride, a tour of Manhattan last week. When he jumped through the tires this week to report unemployment, he said he had set aside his goals for his Las Vegas vacation this summer. “I don’t want to take the financial risk,” he said.
Unemployment benefit is intended to help workers find their way around in search of a new job. They can also help the economy recover more quickly from a downturn by making money available to households so that they can continue to spend.
However, the generosity of the US-administered program varies from country to country.
According to a report by the W.E. Each state determines the amount of wages that are subject to unemployment insurance tax as long as it is above the federal minimum of $ 7,000. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research. But many states levy taxes on a low basis and some states pay lower benefits, the report says.
The U.S. program offers unemployment benefits for a shorter time and with more conditions than many advanced countries, according to a report by the United Nations International Labor Office in October 2019.
The average weekly benefit was $ 377 in the fourth quarter of 2019, with the average ranging from just over $ 200 in some states to over $ 500 in others.
For some U.S. households with little to no savings, this may not be enough to cover the essential bills. Half of U.S. households have no emergency savings, and nearly 40% would find it unlikely to cost 400 to do so, according to a survey https://www.federalreserve.gov/publications/2019-economic-well-being-of-us USD to make-Households in 2018 dealing with unexpected expenses.htm from the Federal Reserve.