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More Than One Million Californians At Risk Of Losing Unemployment, If Congress Doesn't Act

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Benefits for more than one million unemployed Californians hang in the balance as Congressional negotiations to pass a new COVID-19 relief bill come down to the wire.

Lawmakers are currently debating a bipartisan bill that would extend two federal unemployment programs created by the federal CARES Act — Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) — into mid-April. Both are set to expire on Dec. 26.

According to a new analysis from researchers with the California Policy Lab, this "unemployment cliff" would leave more than a million Californians — and upwards of 320,000 workers in Los Angeles County alone — without benefits, starting December 26.

While legal aid advocates are hopeful that federal relief is coming soon, unemployment recipients say they're under a massive amount of stress. The state's Employment Development Department is notifying three million recipients across the state of the impending cut-off.

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