$600 unemployment benefits set to expire

Published: Jul. 22, 2020 at 6:49 PM EDT
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HARRISON COUNTY, W.Va (WDTV) - Unemployment benefits could drop significantly as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell indicated that the GOP will not extend the extra $600 federal checks.

West Virginians relying on unemployment benefits will soon see a major decrease in how much they receive each week. The $600 unemployment checks were part of the cares act but is only slated to last until the end of the month.

For so many here in north-central West Virginian and across the country, there is no where to turn so she turned to us.

"If I need to be the voice for these people that don't know where to turn, they don't know how to access help, so be it," Means said.

Workforce West Virginia is an unemployment agency that according to a number of residents is unresponsive and saying they haven’t heard from anyone.

"That is when I became outraged, there was 997 posts of people reaching out to workforce West Virginia saying I just need answers," Means said.

Senator McConnell promised on Tuesday a new round of direct payments to earners below a certain income level, similar to the $1,200 checks sent in the spring.

Not receiving unemployment benefits does not just affect those unemployed but also those who support them.

"I have family members that are trying to get unemployment assistance and my line of thinking was 'well I'll jump on and help too. I will make phone calls; I will try to send letter," Means said.

Means has seen how the issue takes a toll on a loved one.

"There are people who cannot feed families, they're losing their homes, they're losing their cars, they're...losing their desire to live."

Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia in his video press call today says negotiations for another COVID-19 stimulus package will be done by the end of next week.

“As far as the $1,200 stimulus, we have a lot of West Virginians who haven’t even received the first $1,200 stimulus, so I want to make sure that gets to them first and as far as the second round, there might be a second round of a stimulus,” Manchin said.

Manchin says congress will be discussing whether or not to extend the $600 in benefits this week.

“They’re waiting 14 to 15 weeks just to get an unemployment check, that’s a travesty,” Means said.

On online petition to extend the $600 unemployment checks until the end of the year garnered over 1 million signatures.

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If legislation does not pass by this weekend, the $600 unemployment checks would effectively expire.

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