Expiring unemployment benefits expected to increase demand at food shelves

The end of the programs will affect thousands of unemployed Vermonters
Published: Sep. 6, 2021 at 5:26 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 6, 2021 at 6:28 PM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Federal extended unemployment benefits have expired, impacting millions of Americans and more than 9,000 unemployed Vermonters.

Applicants will collect their final benefits this week with no other payments afterward.

The expiring programs include the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation.

The pandemic unemployment program provided an additional $300 per week to help people who were out of work during the pandemic.

Ken Ballard, who owns Spherion Staffing Services, says there is support available to get people back to work.

“We talk about and educate what sets them apart... things like sign-on bonuses and retention bonuses and the like. Our clients have never been more willing to engage in that conversation. There is a high demand for talent, it’s long existed around here... and it’s only gotten more difficult because of the pandemic,” Ballard said.

Ballard says these services will work to match you with an employer based on your skill set and what the individual needs are for prospective employees.

The end of those benefits has many local food shelters anticipating an increase in people using their services.

As final benefit checks go out this week, the South Burlington Food Shelf and the Vermont Foodbank say they are ready to meet the growing demand.

According to John Sayles of the Vermont Foodbank, since the beginning of the pandemic, more than 200,000 families in Vermont have found themselves food insecure.

“When people are losing resources, generally that means that it’s not good for food security. We know that food security is really financial security. So, we’ve been planning for how are we going to keep the volume up,” Sayles said.

Peter Carmolli at the South Burlington Food Shelf says they’ve helped roughly 500 different households during that time, as well.

“We’re one of the major things that people need. Fortunately, we’re one of the easier things for people to get a little help with. Just show up if you’re from here, just show up to your local food shelf. I’m sure they’ll be able to help you and if they can’t, they can direct you to an area that can,” Carmolli said.

Sayles says the Full Plates VT Food Box Distribution Program is still open and is scheduled to run until the end of the month.

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Jobless Americans will have few options as benefits expire

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