The COVID-19 pandemic has killed nearly 150,000 Americans and has left millions more financially unstable due to the countrywide shutdown of many businesses. While Americans, and New Yorkers in particular, struggle to keep paying their bills during the shutdown, State Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. believes it is crucial for the federal government to extend the $600 portion of the unemployment payments before they expire on July 31.
The Coronavirus has caused unemployment rates across the country to soar to levels not seen since the Great Depression. According to the NYS Department of Labor, the number of unemployed New Yorkers increased by 154,000, from 1,318,600 in May to 1,472,600 in June 2020.
“As our country continues to battle the COVID-19 pandemic, with many local businesses still either completely shut down or only partially open, it is imperative that the federal government extend the $600 unemployment boost,” Addabbo said. “This extra money will help the more than one million of New Yorkers — many of my constituents — who cannot return to work yet or who have lost their jobs due to the shutdown. As expenses continue to pile up, it is our responsibility as elected officials to ensure that none of our residents who are unable to work suffer due to this pandemic. The extra $600 each week, for many, will help keep them in their homes, allow them to purchase medication, pay rent or help feed their family. Without it, those same people may not be able to make it through to the end of this shutdown.”
Even with businesses slowly returning as New York is now in Phase 4 of reopening, it remains difficult for many New Yorkers to find work if they have been laid off.
“The working people of New York are what make our city and state the great place that it is, and we must do what we can to make sure that they are protected during this difficult time,” Addabbo added. “I have received several constituent complaints asking me to do what I can to keep this lifesaving benefit intact.”
Addabbo plans to pen a letter to his colleagues in the federal government, asking them to keep this $600 weekly benefit alive for a certain period, so people can continue to survive throughout this pandemic.