LIVINGSTON — As of now, after Saturday, July 25, Montana residents will no longer receive the additional $600 a week in federal unemployment benefits provided through the CARES Act, and for one Livingston woman that changes everything.
“It’s been a little tough. I've been trying to pay off bills. I re-homed three of my horses because I couldn’t afford the horse feed,” explained Virginia Shane.
Before the pandemic, Shane was clocking in and out three days a week at her job.
“I was working at the front desk of the Murray Hotel. I started there in October 2007, so I’ve been there just short of 13 years,” she said.
But then she was laid off.
“I was the only one initially that was. It’s because of my age, and they figured I wouldn’t be safe, so they suggested I file for unemployment,” Shane said.
And it wasn’t just Virginia who was let go.
“I have a little Yorkie that worked with me and he’s kind of lonesome not being at work either,” she said.
Virginia says without that extra $600, she’s not sure what she’s going to do.
“What it means to me, I will get $258 a week before taxes and with that, I’m going to have to pay my health insurance which is $278 plus $70 plus $89. So, what I would be getting for unemployment will barely pay, it’ll pay the health insurance,” she said.
And for Virginia, it’s not about the money. In fact, she misses being able to work.
“That’s what kept me young. I mean, I’m not young but young feeling, young in spirit when you meet people and have that interaction every day," she said.
The official ending date for those weekly payments is July 31, But because of how work weeks are defined, the last payment will be issued July 25.
Congress is currently negotiating whether those weekly payments will continue, end, or be lowered.