Unemployment & Heroes Act Update

Working people of all backgrounds have been waiting for relief since pandemic unemployment assistance expired in late July. There has been a new initiative passed through executive action but this is not a replacement for the long-term funding that would be provided under the Heroes Act. The Heroes Act was passed in May by U.S. House democrats but the bill then went without passage from the republican-led U.S. Senate.

OHIO: Governor DeWine has said that Ohio will apply for a $300 benefit but not the $100 “match” that would be paid by the State of Ohio. Ohio’s application has not been submitted and/or approved yet, according to Forbes. For example, if a worker earns $200 a week through unemployment, the total benefit would be $500 with the added benefit.

WEST VIRGINIA: West Virginia will offer the full $400 in pandemic unemployment assistance – this includes the $300 federally funded benefit and a $100 match that would be paid for by the State of West Virginia. West Virginia’s application has not been submitted and/or approved yet, according to Forbes.

KENTUCKY: Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear at first said the program was unworkable. However, new details have emerged that states can decline to pay the “$100 match” by applying the unemployment assistance that they already offer and FEMA will still pay the $300 pandemic benefit. Kentucky’s application has not been submitted and/or approved yet, according to Forbes.

Still concerning is that the Committee for a Responsible Budget says that the $44 billion being used for this program could run out in just five weeks. Without passage of a stimulus bill with the protections such as those offered by the Heroes Act, this action is not a long-term solution. Negotiations over the Heroes Act, which was passed in May, recently broke down due to an impasse.

Write to your members of the U.S. Congress about the importance of the Heroes Act at this link. We will continue to keep members updated.

In Solidarity,

Becky Williams – President
SEIU District 1199 WV/KY/OH

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