Some locals brace as $600-per-week unemployment ends

More than 714,000 Tennesseans have applied for unemployment since the COVID-19 pandemic rocked the economy in March. {File Photo}

During the COVID-19 global pandemic, we’ve often heard it said that we’re all in the same storm but not all in the same boat. And it’s true. Some segments of the economy like Internet and healthcare are soaring. Those who work in travel, hospitality, and tourism are struggling.

Many Moore Countians who lost jobs in March have been making ends meet with the help of a $600 a week federal boost to unemployment through the CARES Act called Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC). That boost will end this Saturday, leaving over 20 million Americans wondering what comes next.

“Between a car payment, food, lights, etc., I’m not sure how we well get by,” says Jill (not her real name) who recently got permanently laid off from the hospitality industry. “I’m also a single mom with two kids who is going to have to buy school supplies.”

The FPUC funding was only ever meant to be temporary. Once the CARES Act expires most folks currently on unemployment will go back to the state benefit that tops out at $275 a week – that’s less than minimum wage for a 40 hour a week position.

Jill says on top of the financial stress, her son with asthma falls in the vulnerable category, and she’s constantly worried about the virus. She says she recognized the temporary blessing of the extra $600 per week and saved a nest egg for when it runs out.

“Many Americans barely get by as it is and it’s proof that wages need to be better,” Jill says.

State officials say it’s important to know that if you’ve been approved for federal FPUC payments and completed certification through July 25 but your claim has not been processed yet, you will still receive those payments retroactively. If you have questions or concerns, contact the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development by clicking here. •

{The Lynchburg Times is the only independently owned and operated newspaper in Lynchburg. We cover Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

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