Rescinding the $600 PUC will affect people of color and women the hardest

Congress must continue the supplemental $600/week Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (PUC) as it is a key lifeline for people of color and women who have been segregated into underpaid jobs.

Due to the COVID-19 crisis, millions of Americans have been laid off or furloughed, leaving many families struggling to make ends meet during the global pandemic that has now stretched into July. Americans who have been laid off from their jobs because of the coronavirus pandemic have been able to collect an additional $600 a week in unemployment benefits on top of what they were already getting from their state. That extra relief was part of the $2.2 trillion stimulus package known as the CARES Act. This relief, however, is set to end on July 31st if this act is not extended, drastically cutting the unemployment income many are receiving.

Congress enacted the $600 supplement, known as Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (PUC), in March to help people who lost their jobs through no fault of their own. With COVID-19 now spiraling out of control in many parts of the country, now is not the time to pull the rug out from under the millions of jobless workers who still cannot safely go back to work or who have no job to go back to.

Cutting the federal unemployment insurance is also an attack on Black and brown families, who are facing hardships on every front due to historic and structural racism that has pushed people of color into the lowest-paying jobs with the least job security.

Though workers of all races, gender, and income levels will be affected by the reduction in benefits, women, and people of color will especially feel the impact if the benefits are not extended. Due to the recession caused by stay at home orders, these groups have been disproportionately affected by job loss according to a recent analysis from the Congressional Budget Office. Of the 19 million people who will receive regular unemployment benefits in July, 53% are women and 47% are people of color, the CBO estimates.

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