End of federal unemployment benefits. Here are the pandemic assistance programs that can still help.



Starting this week, millions of unemployed people in Philadelphia and across the country will see less money deposited into their bank accounts – if they receive anything.

The enhanced federal unemployment insurance put in place during the pandemic and extended by the most recent COVID-19 relief bill expired over the weekend. As a result, around 7.5 million people across the country will lose all of their unemployment benefits and nearly 500,000 Pennsylvanians will be affected, according to estimates from the Century Foundation, a progressive public policy think tank.

The three federal unemployment programs that expired over the weekend are:

  • Unemployment assistance in the event of a pandemic: Up to 79 weeks of unemployment benefits have been paid to freelancers and concert workers who are not normally eligible for traditional unemployment.

  • Emergency unemployment benefit in the event of a pandemic: Up to 53 weeks of additional unemployment benefits.

  • Federal unemployment benefit in the event of a pandemic: Provided an additional $ 300 per week for unemployment benefits.

Without federal assistance, Pennsylvania pays up to $ 580 per week for those unemployed for up to 26 weeks. The Commonwealth’s unemployment rate in July was 6.6%, down from 13% caused by the pandemic in July 2020 but above the national unemployment rate of 5.4%.

Several state and federal programs will continue to provide assistance, but most have specific requirements. Pennsylvania officials have compiled a list of resources for residents facing unemployment due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The enhanced child tax credit, which began in July, will continue to provide parents of eligible children with up to $ 300 per month per child until December. According to the Treasury Department, $ 15 billion in advance tax payments, affecting 61 million children and their families, were sent in August.

A $ 3.5 trillion budget plan released by Democrats last month would extend credit beyond this year, and they plan to run it through reconciliation – a legislative process that does not require the support of Republicans if every Democrat in the Senate supports the bill.

Last month, the moratorium on payment and interest on federal student loans was extended to January 31, a welcome help for about 42 million people in debt. More information can be found here.

The White House has said this will be the final extension of the moratorium, so borrowers unable to resume payments in February should contact their loan providers.

Benefits through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, will increase slightly in October, to $ 157 per month per person – the largest benefit increase in the program’s history.

To receive benefits, you must apply in the state where you live and meet certain eligibility criteria, including income level.

Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, known as TANF, is a benefit program aimed at providing cash assistance so that low-income families become independent.

The program provides money to help:

  • Dependent children and their parents who live with them

  • Dependent children and other family members who live with and care for them

There are eligibility conditions, including income limits and job search conditions. Here is more specific information and how to apply for residents of Pennsylvania and residents of New Jersey.

In Pennsylvania, help from the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children – known as WIC – is available to those who qualify. Eligible individuals can apply at a local WIC agency or call 1-800-942-9467, and include:

  • People who are pregnant or have had a baby in the past six or 12 months if they are breastfeeding

  • Infants and children under 5

  • Fathers, grandparents and foster parents who are legal guardians of a child under 5 years old

The New Jersey WIC is a public health preventive nutrition program that provides nutrition and breastfeeding education, nutritious foods, and better access to regular health care and social services for pregnant, post-pregnancy low- and moderate-income partum and breastfeeding mothers and young children with or at risk of developing nutrition-related health problems. Find out here if you are eligible. Apply at your local WIC agency or clinic.

Despite the Supreme Court overturning an extension of the federal eviction ban, tenants are still protected in Philadelphia and New Jersey.

The Philadelphia eviction moratorium ended at the end of June, but landlords must continue to try mediation with tenants under the nationally recognized eviction diversion program, apply for rent assistance, and wait 45 days before requesting the eviction of tenants for non-payment of rent. This mandate lasts until October 31.

Philadelphia residents in need can also request rental assistance by calling 311 or visiting the city’s rental assistance program website.

In New Jersey, a moratorium on evictions remains in effect until the end of the year for low and moderate income households. The moratorium on evictions in Pennsylvania ended last year.

In Philadelphia, the Utility Emergency Services Fund provides assistance to families facing service interruptions or who are cut off. There are also several programs ranging from rent assistance to financial and budgetary assistance.

More information can be found on the Public Services Emergency Services Fund website.

In Pennsylvania, eligible working families can receive help paying a portion of their child care costs through the subsidized Child Care Works program.

For more information on the program guidelines and how to apply, visit the Department of Social Services website.

Editor-in-Chief Michelle Bond contributed to this article.


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