'Try living on $276 a week before taxes.' Hudson Valley residents describe pandemic unemployment
Hudson Valley jobless claims continued to rise last week as millions of Americans are preparing to lose their benefits the day after Christmas.
David Waletzky is among tens of thousands of people in the Hudson Valley who the pandemic has left unemployed this holiday season.
Waletsky, who is from Stony Point, is behind on his mortgage and had his car repossessed since he lost his job as a limousine chauffeur in March.
As we enter the second wave of COVID-19, millions of struggling Americans will lose unemployment benefits, extended under the CARES Act, when it expires the day after Christmas.
"Try living on $276 a week before taxes. My rent is more than that," said Lisa Mistretta.
The Montgomery mom and health aide stopped working in March due to pre-existing medical conditions and health concerns. She says if she catches COVID-19, it would be deadly.
In New York, jobless claims are up 163% from this time last year and the Hudson Valley has the second highest spike in unemployment following New York City.
Despite those staggering numbers, eviction moratoriums and freezes on student loan payments also expire at the end of the year.
More than 20 million Americans are currently unemployed, according to the Department of Labor. Federal lawmakers are working on a new COVID-19 relief package but have less than a month to vote.