The Legal Aid Society is sounding the alarm over the expiration of federal unemployment benefit programs. More than 1.6 million New Yorkers will lose their benefits starting on Labor Day, according to THE CITY.
“It is extremely concerning that people will lose the money they are getting to sustain themselves,” said Richard Blum, an attorney with The Legal Aid Society’s Employment Law Unit. “The New York economy still has not recovered. There are whole industries still with high levels of unemployment.”
Unemployment remains high in New York City at 10.5%, almost double the national average of 5.4%.
“There’s a lot of hope that despite the Delta variant sectors will continue to reopen, but the tourist, hotel, performing arts industries are all at risk, as well as the businesses that depend on those. New York has a very interconnected economy,” Blum continued.
Blum also warned of the effect losing these benefits will have on the larger economic picture.
“It affects individual people and families, and it takes money out of the economy as a whole,” he said. “As soon as New York is starting to get a foothold, you’re taking a large amount of money out of the economy. If people can’t buy things, what does that do to all the businesses around them?”
New York State does have the ability to fund an extension of benefits to weather this period of high unemployment by using federal grants or loans, an action which Legal Aid supports.
Last Updated: 1 September 2021
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