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Extra $600 unemployment benefits set to expire this weekend

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MADISON (WKOW) -- When millions of Americans began losing their jobs in March the federal government stepped in to provide a lifeline, $600 a week in extra unemployment benefits but now those payments are set to disappear.

Supplemental checks through the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program expire at the end of the month. But because of when these payments are issued and how the calendar falls in July, workers in Wisconsin won’t qualify anymore after this weekend.

This means people’s employment benefits will be reduced and for some cut in half.

Democrats and Republicans in Congress continue to disagree on how to move forward with the program. The White House and Senate Republicans continue to but-heads in finding a way to scale back the program without overwhelming state unemployment agencies.

This is leaving many Wisconsinites worried about their financial stability.

For Sadie Tuescher the extra $600 and being enrolled in the Workshare Program allowed her health insurance business to stay open and avoid laying off workers.

“I was then able to know my employees were happy and safe and were able to meet their basic needs at not go find jobs elsewhere,” she said.

Workshare allows employers to keep workers at reduced hours and avoids businesses from closing.

On top of the program, Tuescher and her employees were also getting the additional $600 a week in benefits.

But without a guarantee of those funds, she worries some of her employees won’t be able to afford basic needs.

Citizen Action of Wisconsin said once these extra funds expire the state will see a ripple effect because those payments will no longer be funneled into the economy such as paying for groceries or rent. 

“They'll be facing foreclosures, eviction, food insecurity and everything else that comes with your income plummet,” said Robert Kraig, executive director of Citizen Action.

Republicans argue enhancing unemployment benefits could deter people from going back to work. 

As lawmakers continue to negotiate a new deal the uncertainty weighs on people’s livelihoods.

Emilee Fannon

Capital Bureau Chief

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