6 million Americans yet to receive unemployment benefits: Report

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Yahoo Finance’s Alexis Christoforous and Denitsa Tsekova discuss a new reports that reveals millions of Americans haven’t received unemployment.

An unprecedented number of Americans have applied for unemployment insurance since March, but more than 2 in 5 haven’t received regular state benefits because of ineligibility or backlogs.

Of the 47.5 million initial claims filed between March and August 15, 21.1 million people didn’t receive a benefit, an analysis by the Century Foundation, a left-leaning think tank, found. While most were ineligible for state benefits, around 6 million people — or 1 in 8 who originally applied — are still waiting for a final determination on their application.

“Our core state unemployment benefit program was not ready for this pandemic,” Andrew Stettner, an unemployment insurance expert and senior fellow at the Century Foundation told Yahoo Money. “They are still really struggling to keep up with the volume, and they’re still dealing with the backlogs.”

The unemployment system has been overwhelmed by high volume applications resulting in wait times of between four to 16 weeks, according to a study by the National Conference on Citizenship. And six months later, many still face long waits.

Everyone else was forced to wait’
The rate of benefits being paid out has improved slightly since March and April when the weekly jobless claims reached its record high of nearly 7 million claims for the week ending March 28.

“Making the eligibility decision, it’s something you definitely need a trained worker to do,” Stettner said. “They’ve been trying to pay the people that they could pay easily and disqualify the ones that get disqualified easily. Then everyone else was forced to wait.”
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