The newest COVID-19 stimulus plan that Senate Republicans released Monday would cut supplemental unemployment benefits from $600 to $200 a week. That would impact about 182,000 Mainers, including 46,000 children.
That is according to an analysis of Census Bureau data, by the progressive think tank Maine Center For Economic Policy (MECEP).
James Myall is the author of that report. He says even with the extra $600 a week, many Mainers have already been struggling, “relying on credit cards, some were relying on borrowing from friends and family, about one in four of those folks receiving UI benefits have already missed their last mortgage or rental payment, and about one in three were worrying about whether they'd be able to make the next month's payment as well.”
He says that many people are also food insecure, and that situation will only worsen if their income drops by $400 a week.
More broadly, the report finds that the $600 weekly benefit is supporting the equivalent of 18,000 jobs in Maine, and the loss of that money will have serious ripple effects. MECEP is calling on Congress to extend this and other benefits for as long as it takes for the economy to recover.