As if things aren’t already sketchy regarding benefits for Americans during this pandemic, Millions are faced with losing their unemployment completely. 

Forecasters are predicting twelve million people will lose federal benefits the day after Christmas if Congress does not pass extensions for key unemployment programs. 

According to the report from unemployment researchers Andrew Stettner and Elizabeth Pancotti “Absent congressional action to extend CARES Act benefits, December 26 will mark the end of one of the last lifelines available to millions of Americans in desperate need,” adding “It will be a crippling end to one of our darkest years.”

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Congress had initially passed a slew of expanded benefits programs in the CARES Act, which was the emergency COVID-19 relief bill back in March. Even programs like Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, expanded eligibility to the self-employed and gig economy workers, a group that normally is not eligible for unemployment benefits.

“Nobody is talking about this,” Stettner said in an interview. “We’re just careening into this huge cliff and it’s like it’s not even happening. People are just totally, completely ignoring the situation at a time when things are getting worse before they’re going to get better in terms of public health. And that just really is going to constrain people’s ability to get a job when benefits run out.”

We are hoping, like everyone else that Congress gets this handled before it’s too late. We don’t need things getting worse.