HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP/KDKA) — Hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians will lose federal pandemic unemployment benefits after this week, including an extra $300 per week, an extra 13 weeks of benefits and benefits for the self-employed.

Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration said Monday that there are sources of help for people who need it once their unemployment benefits run out, including federal rental assistance through counties, Medicaid, food stamps and temporary cash-assistance for low-income families.

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“There is no shame in asking for help when we need it, so I encourage anybody who might be struggling to reach out and apply for and take advantage of these services. DHS is here to help people pay their bills and stabilize their housing situation as we work to emerge from this unprecedented crisis,” said Inez Titus, Department of Human Services Deputy Secretary for the Office of Income Maintenance, in a press release.

State leaders say while the economy and unemployment numbers are improving from the catastrophic damage of the pandemic, people are still facing very specific hurdles keeping them from work, and these programs help address them.

“Now I want to be clear that when these unemployment benefits end Saturday, we won’t suddenly see that every business is fully staffed. Many individuals who remain unemployed cite specific hurdles as the reason they haven’t rejoined the workforce, hurdles like the lack of child care or the need for additional training,” said Department of Labor and Industry Secretary Jennifer Berrier.

Federal jobless assistance was first approved last year when the pandemic hit and jobless claims skyrocketed in Pennsylvania to record highs amid COVID 19-related shutdowns.

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In the first week of August, roughly 640,000 people were receiving the extra $300, according to figures from the state Department of Labor and Industry.

About 388,000 of them were in the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program for freelancers or the self-employed and almost 175,000 were receiving an extra 13 weeks of assistance through the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program.

About 78,000 people were receiving benefits through the state’s regular 26-week unemployment compensation program, which will continue running, but without the extra $300 federal benefit on top.

The American Rescue Plan Act, signed by President Joe Biden in March, extended those federal benefits and set them to expire after this week.

You can learn more about other support programs available to help here.

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