SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – July 31st marks the end of the $600 bonus unemployment benefit being paid to millions of Americans out of work.
That includes Ashley Crystal of Salt Lake City.
“The last gig that I had was supposed to be in March,” said Crystal, who works as a stage manager for live events.
The event was canceled due to the breakout of COVID-19.
“In January, I got a full-time job doing production work full-time, and at the beginning of March two of the biggest conventions canceled or were redirected to be virtual or postponed until the end of the year,” said Crystal.
Since, she’s been looking for a new position while spending her time growing a garden.
Many of the jobs she’s applying for are outside of her industry, and she’s often being told she’s overqualified.
As she looks for work, Crystal says the extra $600 bonus benefit as part of the government’s coronavirus aid has been a lifeline.
Without it, she isn’t sure how she’s going to make ends meet.
“Because the full-time position that I had I was only at for a few months before COVID shut everything down, I didn’t have a lot of money put into my unemployment,” said Crystal. “So, the amount of just my unemployment is just barely enough to pay my rent.”
Crystal also suffers from depression and anxiety. She says she’s having to pa a lot of her medical expenses herself.
“I qualify for Medicare now because I’m not on my family’s health insurance, but we’ll see how long that actually lasts,” she said. “It doesn’t actually cover most of my therapy and other doctor appointments. So, that’s a lot out of pocket.”
Utah Senator Mitt Romney is speaking out in support of the unemployed.
Recently posted on Twitter, “workers should not be left in limbo while negotiations continue on the next COVID-19 relief package.”
Romney is co-sponsoring a bill he says would extend and phase down the benefits for three months so Americans don’t experience a sudden lapse.