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Unemployment not enough to cover expenses in many cases: Survey

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A record number of Americans have applied for unemployment since the coronavirus shut down much of the economy but those benefits may not be enough to cover many people’s expenses.

More than 30 million people applied for unemployment benefits in March and April as non-essential businesses closed or operated at limited capacity while officials try to slow the spread of the outbreak. To help blunt the economic fallout of this, Congress expanded these benefits in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act – also known as the CARES Act – so unemployed workers could receive an extra $600 each week.

Still, this may not be enough for many, according to a new survey from Clever Real Estate, a platform for homeowners and real estate agents. About 40% of those who lost their jobs said they were receiving unemployment benefits but 21% said these funds weren’t enough to pay their bills, according to a survey conducted on April 28 and released earlier this week. Another 26% said they had applied for benefits but hadn’t receive any money yet.

This could be problematic given that 63% of respondents said they were living paycheck to paycheck.

Besides unemployment, a majority of respondents were hopeful that relief checks would help. Forty percent said they strongly agreed that “the federal stimulus check will be a huge help” while 23% agreed with that statement.

Many are also altering their plans to buy a home, which could cut into a key credit union revenue stream. Thirty-nine percent of prospective buyers said they were not planning to buy a home “for the foreseeable future,” up from just 7% in the survey Clever conducted during March.

In April, potential sellers were seven times more likely to suspend their plans to sell their home, compared with the March survey.

The survey collected responses from 1,000 homeowners and 1,000 renters.

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