Representative Dan Kildee (D-MI) introduced a bill on May 1 to extend the date of Unemployment Insurance included in the CARES Act, which provided 100% federal funding, allowed more people to obtain benefits, and increased benefits by $600 per week. These increased benefits are set to expire at the end of July. Representative Kildee’s proposal would allow people who are unemployed due to the coronavirus to stay on the expanded benefits through December 31, 2020 and would exempt Unemployment Insurance benefits as income for all means-tested programs, including federal housing assistance. NLIHC supports this proposal. The press release announcing the bill is at: https://tinyurl.com/ycf8we78
Representative Kildee’s bill would also create a partial $300 weekly benefit for college students and recent college graduates who lack enough work experience to qualify. The bill would allow workers who have lost jobs since March 13 to receive the $600 per week benefit. Currently, the benefit is available beginning on the day a state enrolls in the program. Additionally, workers whose hours have been reduced due to the pandemic would be able to receive the expanded benefits above and beyond partial state Unemployment Insurance benefits.
“Congress must take every step to prevent housing instability and homelessness as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. Individuals who have lost their jobs or lost wages due to coronavirus should not be forced to choose between unemployment insurance and the housing assistance they rely on to keep roofs over their heads,” said Diane Yentel, NLIHC president and CEO, in Congressman Kildee’s press statement. “Ensuring that low-income workers are not penalized for receiving unemployment insurance helps avoid exacerbating the country’s affordable rental housing and homelessness crisis.”