Families struggling after added $600 unemployment boost ends

Federal unemployment benefits expiring

JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) -State unemployment benefits continue to be paid out to Mississippians still out of work. But the added $600 federal payment has ended. The maximum unemployment benefit for the state is $235 a week.

Amy Benjamin has six kids. She and one of her children had COVID in March and are still feeling some long-term effects. Her husband lost his job of more than 10 years with a manufacturer in Tupelo around the same time.

“The unemployment and the pandemic money has gone to pay our bills through that time,” said Amy Benjamin. “Now that we don’t have that money or employment, the options are very small, very limited, as to what our choices are.”

That’s because their weekly payments have taken a drastic cut. Amy had been part-time in her job pre-COVID and her husband full time. But the added $600 they were each getting allowed them to get by.

“The only stability we have really is in our home because this is where... this is only home my children, my youngest ones, have ever known,” Benjamin explained. “And it’s very scary to not know that we can still be here a month from now, two months from now.”

Krispin Watson is also scared. She’s the single mom of two.

“I was working for a fortune 500 company, a major credit card company,” described Watson. “I was actually working from home. So, COVID happened. I got laid off.”

The added 600 was helping her pay the bills while she looked for something new.

“A ton of interviews but nothing really came through,” she said. “A ton at the beginning of it but now it’s definitely slow down. And I’m just at a point where I don’t know what’s gonna happen.”

With the kids, she has other factors she’s trying to weigh, all while figuring out how much the little she was able to save will last them.

“Trying to find a job to where I can be at home with my kid at the same time,”Watson. “Definitely can’t afford day care right now.”

Congress is considering possible plans to extend federal help to those who are still unemployed but no plan has been approved.

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