The $600 Unemployment Benefits End This Weekend – What Happens Next?

The $600 enhanced unemployment benefits, which were part of the $2 trillion CARES Act, officially expire on July 31st.

However, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, states can only pay out the benefits until the week ending one week before July 31, 2020, reported Forbes.

"For all states except (New York), that is Saturday, July 25th. New York’s end date is Sunday, July 26th,” the Labor Department said in a statement.

So for millions of unemployed Americans, this weekend is the end of their enhanced benefits.

As far as what happens next, there are a few different possible scenarios.

End the Enhanced Benefits

Congress could let the expiration date come and go without extending the benefits at all. This option appears to be less likely since upwards of 25 million people are at risk of losing the enhanced payments. In addition, with it being an election year, members of Congress would have to answer to voters as to why they cut off financial aid to so many Americans.

Extend the $600 Benefits Temporarily

Congress could extend the $600 benefits temporarily as a stop-gap measure until they finalize a new proposal. Unemployed individuals would continue to receive financial support and it would give Congress time to hash out details in a new stimulus package.

Extend the Benefits But For Less Money

GOP lawmakers have said they believe the $600 benefits have disincentivized some from returning to the workforce since they may be making more now than when they were employed. Republicans are considering lowering the expanded unemployment benefit to $400 a month — but extending it through Dec. 31, according to a report from CNBC.

The Democrat-controlled House previously unveiled the HEROES Act, which would extend the $600 unemployment benefits until 2021. The package has not advanced in the Republican-controlled Senate.

On Thursday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that Senate Republicans and the White House have reached a "fundamental agreement" on the next round of COVID-19 relief legislation, but that certain portions of the bill are still up in the air, reported CBS News.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that the bill would be unveiled early next week.

One of the big sticking points of a new bill, besides unemployment benefits, is the eligibility for a second stimulus check, and whether there should be an income threshold to receive a direct payment.

Time is also of the essence as senators are set to depart for summer recess after August 7 and most want to have a stimulus package settled by then.

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