New York – When the new coronavirus crisis hit hard, Akeil Smith’s employer cut his home health aide job to 25 hours a week. Her $ 15 an hour wage was no longer enough to pay her $ 700 monthly rent and she was forced to go to food distribution centers.
While millions of American workers have previously received a quick help payment from the federal Treasury through direct bank deposit, Smith is among the millions of people who lack a traditional bank account and who must wait weeks for get paper checks. When the checks finally arrive, this population of mostly blacks and Hispanics has little choice but to use the expensive check cashing services to get the money in their hands.
“I live paycheck to paycheck, and right now I need more groceries,” Smith, 35, told The Associated Press as he waited inside Payomatic, a small check-cashing local in a Brooklyn neighborhood inhabited primarily by black people.RELATED
In the six weeks that have passed since the pandemic paralyzed most of the United States economy, more than 30 million American workers have applied for unemployment assistance. Congress approved a $ 2.2 billion economic rescue package.
In April, the government began sending $ 1,200 per person, $ 2,400 for each marriage, and another $ 500 for each dependent child from poor and middle-class families across the United States. Families with better financial positions can receive either less or nothing, depending on their income.
To help facilitate the delivery of payments, the federal government launched an online portal where people provide their bank information to receive a direct deposit. But that system doesn’t work for those without checking or savings accounts.
A memo from the House Resources and Excise Commission obtained by the AP estimated that approximately five million physical checks will be issued each week, meaning that most struggling workers may be forced to wait weeks before get paid.