Unemployment Compensation Benefit Cuts in the South

The expiration – and subsequent lack of renewal – of the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program (FPUC) on July 31, 2020, meant that workers collecting unemployment compensation benefits were no longer provided an additional $600 per week of benefits. Based on the July insured claims data, unemployed workers in the South lost nearly $2.1 billion a week from the FPUC’s expiration. On May 5, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Heroes Act (H.R. 6800 Div. E Sec. 50001) extending FPUC through January 31, 2021.

However, the U.S. Senate has yet to vote for the Heroes Act and has therefore failed to provide much-needed cash assistance to unemployed workers. Without the FPUC program or other direct cash transfers to the unemployed the specter of mass evictions, bankruptcies, and increased poverty and food insecurity will grow unabated across the U.S.