Cuomo urges Congress to extend unemployment programs during Covid pandemic
Press Release, Gov. Andrew Cuomo
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today called on Congress to renew and expand federal support programs for unemployed Americans — many of which have expired or will end just days after Christmas.
The programs provide critical benefits for millions of American families that have faced unemployment as a result of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, including supplemental benefits for individuals and support for local and state governments. Cuomo, who is chairman of the National Governors Association, sent a letter to Congressional leaders urging them to act quickly as states across the country face another surge of infections, hospitalizations, and deaths while millions of Americans remain unemployed.
“The pandemic has not just impacted Americans’ health — it has also created an unprecedented economic crisis. As we enter the holiday season, and as states once again enact stronger measures to stop Covid, critical federal unemployment benefits are about to expire. Inaction from Washington is putting millions of Americans’ financial security at risk.”
Since the beginning of the Covid-19 crisis, New York State has paid more than $55 billion in unemployment benefits to 3.8 million New Yorkers — which represents more than 26 typical years’ worth of benefits.
“Congress moved decisively this spring to address the economic impacts of the pandemic and should once again take action before the calendar year ends to bring badly needed support to millions of struggling Americans,” Cuomo said.
Nationwide, more than 20 million Americans are currently receiving unemployment benefits, including 12 million covered by programs that will expire on December 31, 2020. In New York, that includes 1.2 million current claims from New Yorkers receiving Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, which provides benefits for freelancers, self-employed workers, and others who do not typically qualify for traditional unemployment benefits, and 682,000 claims from individuals who are receiving 13 additional weeks of benefits under the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program after exhausting the 26 weeks of traditional benefits.