Extra $600 in unemployment benefits expires July 25, unless Congress extends benefits

SPOKANE, Wash. — Those receiving unemployment benefits will no longer see an extra $600 in their bank accounts after July 25. This is because the money, which comes from the federal CARES Act, will stop. Benefits can only be extended or adjusted by Congress.

One Spokane family said they can’t go back to work.

“I want to go back to work and so does he, but I also don’t want to have to go and put my daughter in daycare and then go to work and then know I could get her sick,” said Emily Roadruck, who currently receives unemployment.

Emily and her fiance, Alex Trach, welcomed their daughter into this world two months early.

Two months later, the pandemic hit. Roadruck worked at a daycare center and lost her job. Trach worked in healthcare, caring for the developmentally disabled.

“They knew my daughter was premature and they were actually the ones that suggested I stay home initially,” Trach said. “Cases started to rise in Spokane and at that point, her doctor actually recommended that we do not return to work due to her being high risk.”

Both Trach and Roadruck decided to file for unemployment because they said staying home would keep their daughter safe.

“I would call non-stop like everybody else said to do. It’s like call, hang up, call, hang up, call, hang up,” Roadruck said. “So I want to say the end of March we had maybe three or four claims that were pending.”

They eventually got approved for unemployment and the extra $600.

Now, that money will not be coming in for thousands of people after July 25.

“If these benefits do run out we have money in savings, things like that but it’s not going to last forever,” Trach said. “A lot of financial stress on us and actually, one of us is going to be forced to return to work, which in turn puts our daughter at risk.”

They said they don’t want to put their daughter back in the hospital because they infected her with COVID-19.

“I would never forgive myself if I gave my daughter something where she would have to go back into the NICU,” Roadruck said. “I would fault myself completely.”

Roadruck said she did the math. If they don’t get the $600, they would be making less than what they would if Trach went back to work. However, that puts their daughter at risk.

On top of that, they have to worry about something else. On August 2, those who get unemployment benefits have to start looking for a job in order to qualify. This was previously waived.

“I don’t think that they’re going to completely cut you off just because you can’t search for a job,” Trach said. “But then again, we don’t know and that’s another thing that plays into the anxiety of the whole situation.”

The Employment Security Department has linked back to WorkSource to help people find a job, tighten up resumes and prepare for interviews.

Washington state has seen increases and decreases in their unemployment numbers.

According to the Employment Security Department, more than 40,000 people applied for unemployment benefits from July 5-July 11. This is up 42.5% from last week.

However, ongoing claims have dropped. In the same time period, more than 646,000 claims were filed. The week prior, more than 687,000 people submitted a claim.

Specifically in Spokane County, initial regular claims increased by 41%. Nearly half of the new claims in the state are from people who work in the food service industry.

READ: Idaho adds 25,000 jobs in June, unemployment rate drops

READ: Spokane Co. reports highest single-day increase with 134 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death since Thursday