The Unemployment Paradox

From an Unemployed Worker

I lost my job in late March, but just recently received my unemployment debit card, loaded with back pay. The balance on it was more than I normally make in two months! This is because on top of state unemployment benefits, the CARES Act gives an additional $600 in weekly benefits. This brought my monthly income on unemployment to 50% higher than the amount I usually take in!

In fact, almost half of workers are making more on unemployment than they do in their regular jobs. A figure that not only shows how little most Americans are making each month, but also puts in to question why anyone would choose to return to work. If I can make $3,000 a month on unemployment, as compared to my normal $2,000, why would I risk my life to return to work?

But this also adds another strain – if you stay home and collect unemployment, you may not have a job to return to after unemployment benefits end. On the other hand, going back to work may mean you’re more likely to keep your job, but at the risk of you and your family’s health.

What are workers supposed to do?

Featured image credit: Creative Commons / Bytemarks