There are many reasons why you will not receive unemployment: unemployment fund running out of money
Is that a real concern, or just scaremongering? Has any state in the US ever
eliminated - or even just reduced - unemployment insurance payouts that were rightfully deserved and claimed a lack of funds as the reason?
The government may carry a frightening amount of debt, but it's my understanding that they have an extremely solid record of paying what they owe.
I think California issued IOUs instead of checks for unemployment but I could be wrong. Arizona (my state) is planning to stop issuing checks later this spring. I am not certain these applied to unemployment benefits but it did apply to many forma of government payment including payments to businesses that sold stuff to the State.
I tend to think you are right that there is a lot of scaremongering and political posturing going on. But it would not be good to plan on having unemployment then find out you get an IOU instead that can't be cashed for 6 months.
Things are really bad right now in a lot of cities, counties, and states in the US. I personally think that expenditures and entitlements are going to have to be cut dramatically and that will mean a lot of previously safe things are no longer available.
In Arizona, which is not the worst situation in the US, there is more "voter protected" required expenditure in the State budget than ALL of the revenue. This means that the legislature and govenor are powerless to cut spending. We have had a series of ballot initiatives that voters have approved that require that schools and various other things are funded at a certain level. Now, state revenues are so low that if those programs are funded as required there is absolutely nothing left. That means ALL state services and employees will have to be cut. The legislature and govenor have no constitutional authority to get around this. They are trying to get a ballot initiative to give them the authority to not comply with the voter protected spending requirements for a couple of years but they missed the deadline for getting it on the ballot!.
In any case, things are quite bad, all the scaremongering aside. I would not want to be in a position of relying on the government for anything for the next couple of years!