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12 million Americans could lose crucial unemployment benefits just after Christmas

November 21, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

With special pandemic unemployment benefits set to expire in the next few weeks, opera singer Brian Montgomery is making plans to leave the country.

(CNN)With special pandemic unemployment benefits set to expire in the next few weeks, opera singer Brian Montgomery is making plans to leave the country.

Since March, Montgomery -- a New Yorker who also works as a voice teacher and tour guide -- has not been able to find steady work, but he's gotten weekly payments thanks to the historic expansion of benefits under the $2 trillion federal stimulus package.

Some 4. 6 million recipients will see these extra payments expire prematurely unless Congress acts, The Century Foundation estimated -- and many of those people won't be eligible for extended state benefits, which can last up to 20 weeks.

The ranks of long-term unemployed has been rising steadily as a growing number of people find themselves unable to land jobs more than six months after they were let go in the record-breaking wave of joblessness that accompanied the onset of the pandemic in March and April.

Caballero will soon exhaust her state benefits, and her pandemic emergency payments will most likely end before she gets the full 13 weeks.

While the 39-year-old expects to shift from the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program to extended benefits next month, she doesn't think she'll be able to find another job before those payments run out in March.

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