‘They get free money’: People will receive more stimulus payments and unemployment insurance. Why is there no accountability?


I am concerned that people are receiving another 11 weeks of unemployment benefits along with an extra $300 per week. I don’t have a problem with providing assistance to those who need it. It’s so sad to see families suffering financially.

But what about these other people who are receiving it? They are dependent on their parents, live in nice homes and are taken care of. I’ve heard of numerous situations where a young adult had a part-time summer job in the summer of 2019, and submitted in March for unemployment.


‘I’ve heard of a family whose kids received a $6,000 check in back unemployment in July. They had been collecting unemployment since March. They live in an affluent neighborhood where houses are worth $300,000.’

They received all the benefits since March, including $600 a week extra. They’re not going to look for a job because they have free money without doing anything. There were a lot of job openings, and businesses could not fill them.

Now these people are going to have 50 weeks of free money and another $300 a week in unemployment. There is no accountability to prove that they are trying to get a job in New York. I’ve heard of one case where the young adult purchased a “new” used car with cash. Another one is approaching the $13,000 mark in savings from unemployment.

There should be a Free Application for Federal Student Aid-like (FAFSA) form to fill out outlining all financial information of dependents and parents’ income. Colleges do it. If you are a dependent and your parents make a certain amount of money, then benefits should not be allowed for those dependents.

I’ve heard of a family whose kids received a $6,000 check in back unemployment in July because they couldn’t work at a local school district. They had been collecting unemployment since March. They live in an affluent neighborhood where houses are worth $300,000.

How stupid. I would fire the New York State Department of Labor Commissioner.

What do you think?

Fed Up with the Waste

The Moneyist:My mother gave me a substantial financial gift. I gave it back. My soon-to-be ex-husband says half belongs to him

Dear Fed Up,

You’ve heard of a lot of people doing a lot of things. Mostly, it sounds to me, they’re trying to live their lives to the best of their ability, and could do without being judged and/or shamed for their choices by their friends and neighbors.

I too have heard a few things. I’ve heard that, on Thursday evening, President-elect Biden said he will call on Congress to approve the distribution of $1,400 stimulus checks and more vaccine funds as part of a $1.9-trillion COVID-19 relief plan.

I’ve also heard that there is dire need for help. I’ve heard of millions people who are unemployed due to the pandemic. I’ve heard that many of those people have run out of state benefits, and have shifted to a temporary federal-aid program because they still can’t find work.


‘I’ve heard of people who have not worked in years because they inherited family money, but I have not heard anyone complain that they are cheating the system or working the system, or somehow not contributing to society.’


— The Moneyist

I’ve heard that applications for federal unemployment benefits have more than tripled since August, an indication that rising long-term unemployment that might not be easy to undo once the pandemic ends. I’ve heard that 20.6 million people have been receiving benefits from eight separate state and federal programs.

I’ve heard of many requirements to qualify for unemployment in New York. I’ve heard that some states require $1,000 in income earned over the prior base year, while others require $5,000. I’ve heard people must be laid off through “no fault of their own” to qualify for unemployment insurance. I’ve heard that some states even require proof that you are looking for work.

The Moneyist:My boyfriend’s ex-wife claimed her 2 sons as dependents on her taxes, and received their stimulus checks, but they live with us

I’ve heard that the $900 billion stimulus program, which offers half the amount to millions of people than the first package, was needed more urgently due to the continuing rise in COVID-19 cases and resulting closure of businesses. I’ve heard layoffs are up and consumer confidence is down, triggering a broader slowdown in the economy.

People hear stories and see what their neighbors, or their cousins, have been doing since they lost their job. They judge their behavior without knowing anything about what they’re going through. They decide they are undeserving or living large or taking advantage of the pandemic. It’s the Valley of the Squinting Windows.


‘I’ve heard of friends whose businesses turned to dust overnight and who have fought valiantly to come to terms with the reality that they must let those dreams go after 30 years of hard labor, as they face mounting bills every day.’


— The Moneyist

It’s easy to focus on people who does not appear to be one paycheck away from the street or buys a car, or lives with their parents to save money and extrapolate their situation in order to make sweeping statements about Americans working or cheating the system, and a government wasting money on people in need during a worldwide public-health crisis.

I’ve heard of Yale economists who found “no evidence that more generous benefits disincentivized work either at the onset of the expansion or as firms looked to return to business over time.” I’ve heard workers receiving larger increases in unemployment benefits experienced very similar gains in employment by early May.

I’ve heard that a Chicago Fed study concluded that those currently collecting benefits “search more than twice as intensely as those who have exhausted their benefits.” Typically, unemployment benefits last six months and pay individuals approximately 35% of their previous weekly salary on average, I heard it found.

The Moneyist: I earned $100,000 in 2019, but far less in 2020. Why did I not get a stimulus check? How is that fair?

I’ve heard of people who have not worked in years because they inherited family money, but I have not heard anyone complain that they are cheating or working the system, or somehow not contributing to society. Nor have I heard that they are lowering the tone of the neighborhood by sitting around all day buying stuff with money they did not earn themselves.

I’ve heard of friends in New York whose businesses turned to dust overnight due to the impact of COVID-19 on the service industry, and who have fought valiantly to come to terms with the reality that they must let those dreams go after 30 years of hard labor, as they face mounting bills every day and wonder if they will ever have a business or even work again.

I’ve heard of friends who have been let go, and those who have had to face their employees and tell them it’s all over. I’ve heard them tell me stories of how they have had to reevaluate their place in the world, as they flipped through photos of their empty warehouses, telling me that this is the reality of the U.S. economy behind all of those shuttered restaurants.

I’ve heard their stories, and felt what I believed to be the heat of their pain, and seen the trauma wrought across their faces. I’ve heard a lot of things, but I try my best not to pretend to know that I have the answers, or any answers.

Instead, I try to remind myself that it is dangerous to start believing that there are others less deserving than I am. I have lived in the U.S. for nearly a decade, and I’ve heard of many people telling other people what they do and don’t deserve, and how they should live their lives. It’s exhausting. Life is easier if you stop trying to police other people’s behavior.

Stop looking over the garden fence and grumbling at your neighbors, and start asking what YOU can do to help. Take care of your own household, and I shall endeavor to do the same.

“Il faut cultiver notre jardin.”
—Voltaire

You can email The Moneyist with any financial and ethical questions related to coronavirus at [email protected]

The Moneyist:‘I lost my mom 2 months ago and I’m still in a fog’: My brother and his family moved into her home. They want more than half

Coronavirus update: There has been progress on vaccines — which, assuming they work, could eventually bring people back to their place of work. BioNTech SE
BNTX,
+2.85%

and Pfizer
PFE,
+0.19%

said a final analysis of their vaccine candidate showed 95% efficacy.

Meanwhile, Moderna
MRNA,
-1.47%

 said its own candidate was 94.5% effective.

A vaccine candidate from AstraZeneca
AZN,
+1.33%

 and the University of Oxford showed an average efficacy of 70% in a pooled analysis of interim data, according to a peer-reviewed study published last week. That’s about the same level of protection as a flu vaccine.

As of Friday, COVID-19 had infected over 93.6 million people worldwide, which mostly does not account for asymptomatic cases, one of the major ways the virus has spread around the world so quickly, and killed over 2 million, including 390,649 in the U.S.

The U.S. has the world’s highest number of COVID-19 cases (23.4 million), followed by India (10.5 million), Brazil (8.3 million) and Russia (3.4 million), according to data aggregated by Johns Hopkins University.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average
DJIA,
-0.57%
,
S&P 500
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-0.30%

 and Nasdaq Composite
COMP,
+0.09%

 had a tumultuous 2020, and were lower Friday as investors effectively sold the news of Biden’s more generous stimulus proposal, which had been widely anticipated.

The market was also dampened by worries over the potential for tax increases and increased risk of more political unrest after last week’s siege on the U.S. Capitol by supporters of President Donald Trump.

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