The FPUC benefits were designed BY CONGRESS, in a bipartisan agreement, to provide a livable wage during a pandemic.
The Pandemic is. Not. Over. Medical professionals are even calling for the country to be closed again.
State unemployment UI rates are normally meant to be a temporary band-aid while someone is in transition looking for a new job. They are not livable wages. And they are not survivable when millions of jobs have disappeared.
In 2019, the national average unemployment payment was $370 per week and the national average salary for unemployment recipients was $970 per week. $600 was decided on to bridge that difference.
The CARES act was originally put in place because of the COVID numbers at the time, which have only increased in both infection and mortality rates. Why should the next relief package be any LESS than $600?
Nationally, UI rates are usually around 3%. Right now it is 11%. That’s over 30 million people.
We’ve made a chart of every state’s average UI payment vs that state’s living wage… people CANNOT survive on these state payout amounts: see our breakdown of living wages by state.
The $600 being a livable wage means that the economy HAS NOT CRASHED during a global pandemic because it provides many families with enough to survive and keep buying the essentials. Without the full $600, the economy collapses. See: Economists Think Congress Should Keep Paying Unemployed Workers $600 A Week — Or Even More.
The $600 is helping people:
Pay rent. Analysts place up to 28 Million at risk of eviction with eviction protections beginning to phase out with the expiration of FPUC at the end of July.
Eat. Fourty-four percent of Americans are afraid they won’t be able to afford food, and the numbers are even worse for those who are in the gig economy and/or collecting unemployment. SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) enrollments have increased 100% in some areas since the pandemic began.
The argument that $600 is more than some people make when they are employed is a problem of this country’s economy, not of the FPUC. The FPUC provides an average living wage. Unfortunately many jobs in America do not. Minimum wage in America is not a living wage.
While the $600 may be more than some of those collecting are used to, it’s markedly less than what others made when employed. We all still have the same bills as we did pre-pandemic, and many have added expenses.
extra expenses right now due to the crisis include:
Self pay health insurance due to losing their job’s coverage.
Back to school supplies and PPE FOR CHILDREN.
Hundreds of billions of dollars have been given out by the federal government to giant corporations with zero oversight. Individuals getting $600/wk to survive are not the problem.
See our response to the current republican proposal: click here.