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12 million Americans to lose unemployment benefits after Christmas

Nearly 12 million jobless Americans would lose federal benefits the day after Christmas unless Congress passes extensions for key unemployment programs, according to a new analysis.

Currently there are two active key government programs authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act, but both expire on December 26.

One program is the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, which provides unemployment aid to freelance and gig workers.

If it expires, 7.3 million workers would lose their benefits, according to a study by The Century Foundation, a progressive think tank.

The other program is Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), which, if expires, would deprive 4.6 million workers of their needed income, the study shows.

“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,” said Andrew Stettner, who co-authored the study with Elizabeth Pancotti. “It will be a crippling end to one of our darkest years.”

The study projected that 2.9 million will be able to continue receiving benefits from state-level programs called Extended Benefits, but that will require that states pitch in to cover half the costs in 2021.

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