Cephas fights to provide critical lifeline to unemployed individuals facing debt

With a record number of Pennsylvanians filing for jobless benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic, state Rep. Morgan Cephas is introducing legislation to allow claimants facing debt to receive unemployment compensation.

Currently, unemployment benefits granted to those with an at-fault judgment against them must all go toward repaying their debt. Cephas' plan would cut this in half, sending 50% of funds to debt collection with the other half going back to the individual. 

"So many of my neighbors have lost their jobs because of this coronavirus and are now relying on our unemployment program to help them put food on the table," said Cephas, D-Phila. "Instead of sitting idly by and allowing people to suffer because they owe money, we have a responsibility to supply them with the support they need to repay their debt and provide for their family, especially during these unprecedented times." 

This latest proposal joins other bills Cephas has helped author to assist Pennsylvanians through this COVID-19 crisis, which includes legislation to:

  • Bridge the digital divide and provide low-income families access to online learning devices and services to aid students in learning from home.
  • Waive interest for student loan and home borrowers.

Cephas is a part of the state House COVID-19 labor and industry working group focused on prioritizing legislation in the General Assembly that will help to relieve Pennsylvanians of the impacts caused by the coronavirus and help to get everyone back on track during and after the crisis.