Two primary CARES Act programs will come to an end just before 2020 closes. Between them, the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) provide benefits to about 12 million people.
Researchers at the Century Foundation have authored a report titled “12 Million Workers Facing Jobless Benefit Cliff on December 26.”
The original CARES Act, passed in March, had total benefits of $2.2 trillion. Among the arguments for extending the benefits is that the overall economy will suffer as people who are consumers drop into poverty and demand for goods and services across the country suffers.
CNBC examined the reports and reasoned:
About 12 million Americans will lose unemployment benefits in December when CARES Act provisions lapse, absent an extension, according to a new analysis. Unemployment benefits will terminate for more than half of current recipients at the end of the year, coinciding with a lapse in federal protections for renters and a resumption in student loan payments.
Put another way, it is a perfect storm of an economic disaster for many Americans and broad parts of the American economy.
Congress is locked in a battle to see if some of these benefits will be stretched into next year. However, the outcome of the debate is uncertain. According to CNN:
Congressional leaders in both parties expressed growing confidence Tuesday evening that Washington will be able to cut a last-ditch deal to provide relief to Americans hit hard by the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic after setting aside months of partisan finger-pointing and bickering.
The state where the most people could lose the benefits of these programs, or “Workers Subject to Immediate December 26 Cutoff of CARES Act Benefits” as Century Foundation describes them, is California, where 1,612,317 are at risk. In New York State, the figure is 1,126,393.