As the debate over a stimulus package drags on, unemployed workers are beginning to run out of all their unemployment benefits. We are most concerned that the discussion about relief for the unemployed seems to be ignoring the need to extend unemployment benefits beyond the current deadline of 39 weeks. In the Great Recession of 2008-2012, unemployment benefits lasted for 99 weeks. Hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvania workers will exhaust all their unemployment benefits on Dec. 26, and thousands more will run out soon after.
Over 743,000 Pennsylvania gig workers, contractors, and the self-employed will exhaust Pandemic Unemployment Assistance by Dec. 26. Another 240,000 workers on regular UC will see their federal extensions end on Dec. 26. These workers will already be off unemployment when the $300 supplement that is being discussed would take effect. The Philadelphia Unemployment Project is calling on Congress and the Biden administration to restore unemployment benefits to the 2012 level of 99 weeks to prevent massive loss of all income for families of working people in Pennsylvania and the nation.
The Philadelphia Inquirer / Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2020
Letters to the editor
John Dodds, director, Philadelphia Unemployment Project, Philadelphia