Some worry as federal unemployment bonus set to expire

Extra unemployment benefits to expire

GOUVERNEUR, N.Y. (WWNY) - If you’re on unemployment, you’ve been getting a federal bonus of $600 through the CARES Act. For some, that has been extra spending money. For others, it has been a lifeline.

But, it's set to expire.

In a normal world, the Serendipity Dance club in Gouverneur would be jam packed with patrons singing karaoke, hitting the dance floor and filling the cash registers.

But not now.

"This is a dance club, nobody can go out dancing, so we have zero income," said Scooter Wetmore, Serendipity owner.

Since Serendipity was shut down in March, Wetmore has been using the $600 unemployment bonus through the CARES Act to pay the bills.

However, this is the last week before that bonus expires.

"Once that $600 a week goes away, I have to dip into my retirement and my personal money to pay business bills. That's going to be tough, that's going to put a boundary on how long I can hang on to this business," said Wetmore.

Small businesses that can't reopen, like Serendipity, aren't the only things that will suffer at the loss of the bonus.

"For people that have this extra $600, it's doing a couple things. Firstly, they can meet their obligations, and secondly, as economists have pointed out, their spending power increases. If it wasn't for their spending power, then more people would be unemployed because we wouldn't have need," said Cheryl Mayforth, executive director of The WorkPlace.

Right now Congress and the Trump Administration are working on a HEROES Act to see what can be done in terms of unemployment benefits. But in the meantime, what options do people have after this last bonus?

“At the current time, there isn’t any. All we can do is sit and wait to see what Congress does,” said Mayforth.

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