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VERIFY: If Congress doesn't act by the end of the year, what CARES Act benefits will end and when?

The Verify team spoke with financial experts to break down what CARES Act benefits are set to end, unless Congress or the executive branch takes action.

WASHINGTON — QUESTION: 

What CARES Act benefits are at risk of expiring at the end of the year, without action from Congress or the executive branch?

Sources:

PROCESS:

The Verify team looked through some of the biggest benefits from the CARES Act to break down which are set to expire with the end of 2020. Our experts said that if action is not taken, the biggest impacts would be on unemployment benefits and the eviction moratorium.  

Eviction Moratorium: 

What it is: Initially, the eviction moratorium was part of the CARES Act to limit the number of renters removed from their homes during a pandemic by their landlords. 

However, this moratorium expired on July 25. 

In the aftermath, President Donald Trump signed an executive order which directed the Centers For Disease Control to initiate an eviction moratorium of their own. 

A White House briefing on the Executive Order began as follows:

Following an Executive order by President Trump, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is using its authority to temporarily halt evictions through the end of 2020 in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Under the CDC Order, American renters who meet certain conditions cannot be evicted if they have affirmatively exhausted their best efforts to pay rent, seek Government rental assistance, and are likely to become homeless due to eviction.

Professor Caroline Bruckner from American University said that it's possible that the CDC could extend this moratorium, if the president makes such an order.

"One would anticipate that the CDC," she said. "If there's legislative authority. Would take action to extend that moratorium." 

When it could expire: If action is not taken, this moratorium will expire on December 31. 

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA):

What it is: This unemployment benefit is brand new, created by the CARES Act, offering benefits to those who typically are not eligible for unemployment insurance. 

"This program allows unemployment for people who don't usually qualify for regular unemployment," said Amy Miller from the Association of International CPA's. "So that includes business owners, self-employed workers, gig-economy workers. These people normally don't qualify."

When it could expire: If action is not taken, this benefit will expire on December 26. 

According to the Economic Policy Institute, the Department of Labor reported a total of 8.9 million workers on PUA during the latest recorded week of November 14.

Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC):

What it is: According to a recent report by the Economic Policy Institute, most states provide 26 weeks of regular unemployment benefits. The PEUC allows these workers to add an additional 13 weeks of unemployment benefits, due to the pandemic.

"This is a 13-week benefit extension for people who have used all of their benefits available in the regular insurance claim," said Miller. "So essentially it's your normal unemployment rules, and then you get 13 additional weeks."

When it could expire: If action is not taken, this benefit will expire on December 26. 

According to the Economic Policy Institute, the Department of Labor reported a total of 4.6 million workers on PEUC during the latest recorded week of November 14. 

"When these programs expire," the EPI report read. "Millions of these workers and their families will be financially devastated."