Millions of Americans fell below the poverty line in just six months

A large-scale government support programme in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic has saved many from poverty, but it has long run out of steam and the authorities continue to sabotage a new aid package

As a result, the number of poor Americans has increased by eight million since May this year, as shown in a study by Columbia University.

The University of Chicago, for its part, specifies that six million Americans have fallen below the poverty line in the last three months alone. Minorities and children suffer the most, experts say.

“These figures tell us that people have much more problems with paying bills, paying rent, eating on the dinner table”, –  Bruce Meyer, an economist at the University of Chicago, tells The New York Times in a comment.

Research shows that poverty continues to rise despite improvements in the labour market. Thus, the economy is recovering too slowly to compensate for the costs of the crisis. Previously, people were saved by government support. The CARES Act meant paying 1,200 dollars per adult and 500 dollars per child to most citizens. In addition, unemployment benefits have been increased.

By May, this had saved 18 million people from poverty, according to experts at Columbia University, but by September this number had fallen to around 4 million. The situation is getting worse because not everyone who was entitled to help received it.

Analysts have found that about a third of the unemployed still do not receive state support due to bureaucracy. Families who did not file income declarations because of poverty also faced problems. They had to collect piles of documents to prove their income. Columbia University estimates that about 30% of citizens eligible for state aid have never received it.
There are ongoing disputes in Washington about the new government support programme, although hopes for its approval are fading in the near future. The previous day, US Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin admitted that it was unlikely that the programme would be agreed before the November elections.


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