TENNESSEE, USA — In just a few days, extra unemployment payments will roll back for some Tennesseans. Federal benefits made available during the pandemic will end July 3.
Last week, almost 55,000 Tennesseans submitted unemployment claims. This means more than $54 million of federal money went to people across the state.
Joshua Hubbard and Seth Jordan are both unemployed. Each of them have a different situation behind their unemployment.
"When you say, yeah, cancer patient. It's, they're going to go with the applicant that's younger, healthier, and they know is not going to be an insurance risk," Hubbard said.
Joshua and his wife are both battling cancer. This puts them each in the high-risk category for COVID-19, making it even harder to go out and get a job.
Hubbard said his family of three, including his 12-year-old son, is barely hanging on to the benefits they have already received.
"I am scared," Hubbard said. "I've either got to take a job that's going to endanger my family, or roll the dice and hope that a politician figures out he doesn't know better than a doctor."
Jordan is one of many people let go from his previous job. He said losing those benefits will hurt him and his family.
"I do have a 6-year-old," Jordan said. "That makes it even worse, trying to juggle all of this."
He said he's been on the search for jobs since March, but has found no luck.
"I'm open to anything," Jordan said. "I've looked for everything."
State. Rep. Gloria Johnson, D-Knoxville, said she is hearing stories from many people about why they can't work.
"Childcare is one of the main reasons people aren't getting back to work," Johnson said. "We just have a childcare crisis in the state and nation."
Gov. Bill Lee, while approving an end to the extra benefit, has said more than 250,000 jobs are available for jobseekers in Tennessee.