When the coronavirus epidemic first erupted, it was clear that unemployment benefits should be expanded to target a group that is not normally entitled to unemployment – the self-employed. Usually, anyone considered to be a concert worker or a freelance writer cannot receive any unemployment benefit. But due to the extreme nature of the pandemic and the immediate unemployment crisis it created, special federal programs have been put in place to protect self-employed workers from the onset of the epidemic.
The US bailout – the $ 1.9 trillion relief bill that was signed last March and placed stimulus checks in millions of bank accounts – extended these federal programs until early September. . It also allowed a weekly increase of $ 300 in unemployment for workers with the same expiration date. But now, as that deadline approaches, an estimated 7.5 million workers are at risk of losing all of their unemployment earnings. And that could create a pretty dire situation.
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The independents may soon be out of luck
Once the weekly $ 300 unemployment boost expires in early September, unemployed workers (those who worked as employees rather than contractors when they became unemployed) will still be entitled to their regular allowances from the labor market. ‘State. To be clear, their weekly income will drop significantly once that extra $ 300 is gone, but they’ll continue to collect. some silver.
But those who are self-employed will not be in the line for unemployment money once these federal programs expire. And that could put millions of people in an extremely dangerous financial situation.
Will unemployment benefits for concert workers be extended?
Because the unemployment rate has been much lower in recent months than it was earlier in the pandemic, lawmakers do not yet intend to extend benefits to the self-employed. There are also no plans to extend this weekly boost of $ 300 after Labor Day. In fact, in many states that boost has disappeared since June or July.
However, the unemployed can get a lifeline if the pandemic worsens. The Delta variant has wreaked havoc nationally and cases of COVID-19 have increased in recent weeks. This has led some cities to impose mask warrants as a starting point.
If things continue on this trajectory, closures similar to those we saw at the start of the pandemic may become necessary. And if that happens, more jobs could be lost and the national unemployment rate could quickly start to rise again.
Of course, that’s not something anyone should wish to happen. But if things go wrong, it could argue in favor of increased unemployment assistance. And that means the self-employed could see their benefits extended.
Yet, this is not something self-employed workers should bank on. Those receiving unemployment benefits right now should be prepared for the possibility that in about a month this lifeline will disappear. For those who can afford it, putting as much money as possible into a savings account would be a wise move. Unfortunately, many people who live on unemployment benefits need every penny to cover basic expenses. These are the people who will have enormous difficulties if the benefits are not extended beyond the beginning of September.