More than a salary: what help do those who lose their jobs due to a pandemic get in the US
“My friend lives in Oklahoma, she is an ultrasound technician, and together with her husband they receive $ 8800 a month in unemployment benefits, and now it’s more profitable for them not to work,” my friend Valeria, who lives in New York, told me. She is a dentist, and while she could not work for two months, she received approximately the same payment - $ 4400 per person.
“But life in Oklahoma is much cheaper than in New York,” Valeria says. For example, renting a two-room apartment in Manhattan costs $ 4200, in Oklahoma City - $ 800.
Now, protective equipment has been delivered to her clinic, so she will work with urgent dental cases two days a week, at the risk of contracting a coronavirus: in the districts where Valeria lives and works, there are more cases of COVID-19 after the city of New York itself.
Two trillion against coronavirus
$ 2 US - such an amazing amount of assistance to Americans during the pandemic was laid down in the assistance package adopted by Congress on March 000. According to the package, each permanent resident of the country, who pays taxes and has an income up to a certain level, was paid up to $ 000 one-time help and $ 000 per child.
In addition, people who lost their jobs were paid $ 600 per week — in addition to the usual unemployment benefits, which can reach $ 500 per week in some states. Is $ 1100 for living in the US is it a lot or a little? The answer depends on the state.
How much is life in the USA?
The standard and cost of living in the United States illustrates well СЌС‚Р ° РєР ° СЂС‚Р °. This is the calculation of the annual dirty salary before taxes (average quarter of income) for a family of two adults and a child.
The general trend is as follows: it is more expensive to live on the coasts and in the north than in the center and in the south of the country. The most expensive states are the District of Columbia (Washington), California, Hawaii, New York, Massachusetts and Connecticut, the cheapest are Idaho, South Dakota, Arkansas, West Virginia and Kentucky.
How much do the unemployed get?
At the same time, each state determines what help to pay to a person who has lost his job. As seen on this map, unemployment benefits in expensive California or Arizona are comparatively lower than in cheap Kentucky or North Dakota.
Because of this, millions of people who have maintained their low-paid jobs may feel that it would be more profitable for them not to work at all and to receive help from the state.
It is these representatives of the working class who produce food, clean hospitals, stand at the cash registers of shops, work at construction sites, and drive taxis - often do not have enough personal protective equipment and, due to frequent contacts with people, are most at risk of contracting coronavirus and causing infection home.
At the same time, getting this help can be difficult. In some cases, people who have lost their jobs spent more than a month just registering at unemployment offices. In some states - and it is the states that are providing financial assistance - from the influx of users, websites for registering applications stopped working, and long lines lined up at offices.
At the same time, it should be remembered that unemployment benefits are temporary, and are usually paid from 12 to 26 weeks depending on the state, a two-trillion aid package extended this time by another 13 weeks. But the "coronavirus" premium of $ 600 is issued even less - until July 31. Therefore, people who receive payments from the state now will soon be forced to look for a new job in a situation when the US economy is just beginning to revive.
At the same time, living in America is gradually becoming more expensive. April was the month of skyrocketing food prices - the highest since the USA in 1974. On average, the cost of products for four weeks in stores increased by 2,6% - and this is a significant indicator for American consumers who are accustomed to annual inflation of 0,12-2,4% (2015-2019).
Congress is now considering a new record $ 3 trillion aid package to the US economy. It includes a $ 200 fund for people working in hazardous conditions. However, according to this law, unlike March, there is no unity among Republicans and Democrats.
The original column is published on the website. Ukrainian service "Voices of America".
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