Two Pandemic unemployment programs set to expire at the end of December

Written by on December 1, 2020

Two Pandemic unemployment programs set to expire at the end of December

By Gabi Falkm WLVR News Lehigh University Intern

December 1, 2020

Two pandemic unemployment programs are set to expire at the end of this month unless the federal government steps in. WLVR’s Gabi Falk reports, Department of Labor and Industry officials say shutting them down will create difficulties for thousands of Pennsylvania workers. 

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One of the programs, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance provides 39 weeks of payments for people not eligible for state compensation, like freelancers and gig workers. It’s slated to end on December 26.  

Jerry Oleksiak is the head of the State Department of Labor and Industry. 

“The loss of those benefits will be devastating to them and it will also be devastating to the economy of Pennsylvania.”

Oleksiak says to date, the state has paid more than 31 billion dollars in unemployment benefits.

He says the department is ready to roll out an extension or a new program to help P.A. families get through the pandemic – if federal lawmakers can come up with a plan. 

This story is part of a collaboration between WLVR News and Lehigh University’s Department of Journalism & CommunicationView all student stories.

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