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Pandemic Related Unemployment Benefits Expire On Saturday

A client walks out of San Diego County's unemployment office in this undated ...

Photo by KPBS Staff

Above: A client walks out of San Diego County's unemployment office in this undated photo.

As we head into this Labor Day weekend, millions of unemployed Californians, including about 130,000 people in San Diego County, are set to lose their pandemic-related federal unemployment benefits.

The extra federal benefits began as a way to keep unemployed people afloat during the pandemic, especially those who typically aren’t eligible for unemployment benefits like gig workers.

Listen to this story by John Carroll.

Four types of benefits are ending. They are: Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation, Pandemic Additional Compensation and Mixed Earner Unemployment Compensation.

RELATED: San Diego County Unemployment Decreases Slightly To 6.9% In July

For most people, that means that extra 300 federally-provided dollars a week is now going away.

“The ending of the federal benefits is interesting timing because when that was scheduled some time ago, we didn’t anticipate where we would be with the pandemic now," San Diego Workforce Partnership President and CEO Peter Callstrom said.

Callstrom told KPBS that he disagrees with the notion that most people who’ve been getting the extra federal help haven’t gone back to work because of the federal benefits.

“We don’t hear people wanting to not work," Callstrom said. "It’s a matter of safety and being able to make this economically feasible for them, given the cost of child care, the difficulty of transportation … Currently when we’re in the middle of a pandemic and it is a very difficult time. We thought we would be past this, but we’re not.”

Callstrom said there is a bright side: It’s still a job seekers market, and he said the Workforce Partnership has lots of ways to help.

“We’re all about upskilling and reskilling. So people, even while they’re working, have options to come to us and get free or low cost training so that they can enter a new career," he said.

Californians who made less than $75,000 last year will get a $600 stimulus payment from the state soon, and the state does offer other programs apart from unemployment benefits to help. Everything from food assistance to help for families.

Safety nets and lifelines that are still out there, even as a big one goes away.

Reported by John Carroll , Video by Nicholas Mcvicker

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John Carroll
General Assignment Reporter & Anchor

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI'm a general assignment reporter and Saturday morning radio anchor for KPBS. I love coming up with story ideas that aren't being covered elsewhere, but I'm also ready to cover the breaking news of the day. In addition, I bring you the local news headlines on Saturday mornings during NPR's Weekend Edition.

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