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Jobless aid at end for hundreds of thousands in Pennsylvania

HARRISBURG, PA (WSKG) — Without an extension, the deadline to apply for a $300 per-week federal unemployment benefit will pass Friday night, as will an extension of pandemic benefits for hundreds of thousands of jobless, including self-employed people who don’t normally qualify for the payments.

Applications for the $300 per-week Lost Wages Assistance program must be submitted by 10 p.m. Friday to receive the benefit for six weeks in August and September, the state Department of Labor and Industry said.

The department has paid claims under the program to more than 1 million people, and 6.1 million weeks of benefits.

Meanwhile, extended unemployment benefits for people who lost their jobs during the pandemic, as well as for self-employed people who don’t normally qualify for the payments, is running out this week for hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians. Those programs had been set to expire after Christmas.

Congress voted to extend those benefits on Monday as part of a $900 billion pandemic rescue package, and to add a $300 supplement to jobless benefits for 11 weeks. However, President Donald Trump is refusing to sign the measure, leaving it in jeopardy.

More than 300,000 people in Pennsylvania have been filing for continuing claims, according to federal data.

Unemployment claims rose after Thanksgiving, from roughly 20,000 a week to more than 47,000 last week, according to state data, as new infections, hospitalizations and deaths rose quickly and Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration imposed more restrictions to combat the spread of the virus.