Unemployed Americans lost $17.6 billion in benefits in January

Unemployed Americans lost $17.6 billion in benefits in January

Payments to the unemployed in the U.S. were significantly delayed last month because the stimulus bill was signed into law in December after the expiration of major unemployment programs.

According to an analysis by The Century Foundation, $17.6 billion in unemployment benefits were not deposited into bank accounts in January — a 38 percent drop from what unemployed Americans should have received. “People are trying to pay their bills, fuel their cars, feed their families. A three-, four- or five-week shortfall in benefits is a really big problem,” Andrew Stettner, an unemployment insurance expert and senior fellow at the Century Foundation, told Yahoo Money.

Eleven U.S. states still have not renewed pandemic unemployment assistance (PUA) benefits, and 12 other states have taken three weeks or more to resume payments.

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Emergency Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) benefits expired in late December, but they were extended after Congress passed the latest $900 billion stimulus package and then President Donald Trump signed it into law.