CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – By the end of next month, thousands of West Virginians will lose their supplemental unemployment benefits due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
People in the community are concerned this early cut-off will cause a lot more problems to residents and the city.
Governor Jim Justice announced earlier this month the state is ending the extra $300 in supplemental benefits at midnight on June 19. Residents are worried a lot more people will be homeless soon after.
Originally, the unemployment supplemental benefits were supposed to run out on September 4. That date has now been pushed up after Justice cited that many small businesses across the state are “really struggling to fill jobs.”
“To see that the benefits are actually going to be cut off , there’s going to be a lot more people who are going to be perpetuated into another poverty,” Maya Clark, who is concerned about unemployment benefits ending soon said.
Gov. Justice also stated West Virginians will have access to thousands of jobs and everyone needs to be back to work. Unfortunately, for people like Tammy Jackson, a former steelworker, and Maya Clark, a former contractor, the job search hasn’t been well.
“I’ve knocked on doors. I’ve talked to crews. A lot of what’s going on is suffering from supply shortages right now,” Tammy Jackson, who is concerned about unemployment benefits ending soon said. “We’ve made our decision to sell our house and go south looking for work.”
“I’ve applied to 20 jobs and gotten 3 calls backs within this month,” Clark said.
Advocates say cutting off these benefits before people can get back on their feet is going to cause a lot more problems within the city.
“You’re going to have people committing suicide because they have no way out. Your drug problem is going to get worse, and more people like us are going to leave,” Jackson said.
Since the unemployment benefits end on the 19 and people file on Sunday, the 20., they will not be getting paid for the last week in June.