Minnesotans stuck on unemployment lose $600 added benefit put in place during pandemic

Thousands of Minnesotans collecting unemployment will no longer receive an additional $600 a week put in place during the pandemic. The benefit was allowed to expire with no extensions at this time at the federal level.

According to DEED, the benefit officially ended on the 25th but this is the first week people can go back and claim the benefit. Moving forward, they will no longer receive the additional $600 a week on top of their standard payment.

The change has people like Stephanie Zillmer, who lost her job during the pandemic, wondering what's next.

"This is the first time in my life, I'm 32 years old, that I am not sure how I'm going to pay rent next month," she said. "Because I was so dependent on that additional federal piece."

Zillmer was furloughed from her job in New York back in March. Her move back to Minnesota is temporary, just as she hopes her work situation will be.

"We thought that it would be shorter layoff that we would be back in the office as early as May, June," she said. "And it's just continued to be pushed out each month which is also frustrating as I'm trying to budget, plan and figure out what my next steps are going to be."

Since March 16, more than 880,000 Minnesotans have applied for unemployment, and 450,000 have received that additional $600 at some point this month.

"It is certainly something that we know is going to have a significant impact on folks from all corners of the state," said DEED Deputy Commissioner Blake Chaffee. "That’s worth about $250 to $300 million dollars a week in the Minnesota economy."

The House of Representatives recently passed The HEROES Act, which would extend the additional $600 a week through January of 2021. But that has yet to get support from Republicans, who recently proposed an additional $200 dollar a week in its HEALS Act stimulus plan that would go through September.
But with no solid plan from the federal government, many are left wondering what they’ll do now.

"There has to be something," said Zillmer. "Some sort of solution for those of us who are unable to get work at this time."