Unemployed South Carolinians will soon lose extra $600 from federal government

Extra federal unemployment help to end soon
Extra federal unemployment help to end soon
Updated: Jul. 20, 2020 at 10:31 PM EDT
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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - Those on unemployment have been getting an extra $600 from the federal government since April to help them through the pandemic, but that extra cash will be going away soon.

The pandemic unemployment compensation was built in as part of the CARES Act and is set to expire July 25, which means next week’s check is scheduled to be the last with the extra $600.

It leaves hundreds of thousands of South Carolinians adjusting their budgets, and one local non-profit waiting to see how many new people are going to ask for help.

“I expect that we’ll get more phone calls,” said Helping Hand of Myrtle Beach Executive Director Tina Shuppy.

Shuppy said they’ve been helping people make rent and utility payments, as well as with buying groceries, throughout the pandemic.

She said they were expecting a lot of the service industry families that rely on them during the off-season to ask for help this summer with the pandemic, but that hasn’t been the case.

“We haven’t seen them so much as we’ve seen a lot of new households that we have not assisted before. Our thoughts on that are that the food stamps have been increased for right now, and there is that extra unemployment right now. If people don’t need us, they don’t use us,” Shuppy said.

For the past 16 weeks, unemployment has been paying an additional $600 a week through the CARES Act. It’s a significant financial bump, considering standard unemployment ranges from $42-$326 per week, which means many people will lose more than two-thirds of their income.

Shuppy is confident Helping Hand will still be able to help those in need with the help of the community and United Way.

“I give kudos to our community,” said Shuppy. “It’s been wonderful. They’ve come together. They keep dropping off food at the pantry for people in need. We just take one day at a time, but our community, you can always count on them.”

Congress just went back into session on Monday, and they’re expected to discuss unemployment funding this week.

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