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Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program expiring July 25, as countless Arizonans remain unemployed

Last checks for $600 unemployment boost
Weekly $600 payments for unemployed ending sooner than expected
Posted at 9:50 PM, Jul 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-26 17:27:28-04

Arizonans who are depending on the federal boost in unemployment benefits will see a sharp decrease in their weekly checks unless Congress acts.

A part of the Federal CARES Act added $600 to unemployment benefits across the country. The CARES Act is set to expire on Saturday, July 25 meaning Arizona unemployment checks will return to the normal $117 to $240 range, according to the Arizona Department of Economic Security.

"It makes me wonder how other people who have been on unemployment before this survive," said Francis Binarao, who said the CARES Act money has helped him and his fiancée pay their bills after he was laid off from his job at Hotel Palomar. "It really was a lifeline for us."

Binarao is one of nearly one million Arizonans receiving unemployment. Arizonans’ maximum amount of unemployment benefits, $240 per week, is the second-lowest among states in the country behind Mississippi ($235).

Binarao said it’s scary not having the supplemental income that's helped him keep his finances afloat.

"It helped us know that the government has our back," said Binarao.

On Thursday, Governor Doug Ducey said he will follow the lead of the U.S. Congress when deciding if he will be providing additional financial aid to people receiving unemployment.

Nationally, there is still no word on whether or not Congress will extend the CARES Act, or provide a different method of aid to Americans. The U.S. Senate is adjourned until Monday, and a decision is expected some time next week.