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Unemployment Extension Bill is Now Law, But the Fight for the Unemployed is Far From Over

July 22, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

As you all probably know by now, President Obama has officially signed the unemployment extension bill into law, sending it the state unemployment offices for them to begin implementing. The bill extends unemployment insurance benefits for people who have been jobless for more than 6 months until November 30th. It will also pay benefits back retroactively for the more than 2.5 million people who have had their payments cut off since Congress let extended unemployment benefits expire on June 2nd.

To track the bill as it moves to the individual states, visit the OpenCongress Benefits Wiki, where you can find state-specific information on how it’s being implemented. Since it’s a wiki, it only works if everyone adds what intel they have on what’s happening with the bill in their state. So, please, if you’ve seen any local reports or received any information from your state labor agency on when to expect checks, add it to the wiki so that other folks who may be searching for the information can benefit from it.

We’ll be continuing to cover the unemployment insurance issue as it goes forward, but, for now, as this current wave of congressional action winds down, I want to urge all of you who have been following the unemployment extension bill to continue paying attention to what’s happening in Congress. As Annie Lowrey at the Washington Independent reported recently, the unemployment insurance extension bill that was signed into law today is most likely going to be the last one. That means that, come December, we are going to be right back in this same situation, with hundreds of thousands of unemployed people per week losing their unemployment insurance payments without any real chances for finding jobs.

As the chart at right shows (click it for a larger version), the median duration of unemployment today is more than twice as high as it has been since at least 1965. Long-term joblessness is just an incredibly huge problem in the U.S. right now, and when Congress cuts off extended unemployment benefits for good in December, we’re going to be facing a 9%+ unemployment rate and no support for the unemployed beyond 26 weeks.

That’s going to propel a giant shift in the political landscape. We’ve seen recently that when unemployment benefits expire, a huge amount of political interest and energy is generated. For example, over the past 30 days, unemployment insurance legislation garnered more than 10 times as many page views on OpenCongress than the major Dodd-Frank financial reform bill (H.R.4173) that was moving through Congress at the same time. So, the energy will be there. But the challenge is going to be finding the right place to focus it.

The point I want to stress here is that even though this unemployment insurance bill has now been signed into law, the fight for the people who have lost their jobs during this recession is really just getting started. If you check out of the discussion on jobs and unemployment now, you’ll be in a worse situation for re-engaging and making a difference come November or December. The earlier you’re involved in the issues and organized around solutions, the more success you’ll have in the legislative battles when they occur. I’ll be covering the jobs and stimulus situation on OpenCongress over the next few months. I hope you’ll keep following along, either here (RSS) or on the OpenCongress Facebook page.

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Comments

Displaying 1-30 of 215 total comments.

  • wes00 07/22/2010 10:21pm

    This article is very truth. Though I am very happy about the outcome of this situation, I know that there is still rough times ahead and though we may have won the battle..(for now anyway) there is still a war to be fought. For us that will resume collecting and for the 99ers.

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    degofast 07/26/2010 5:22am

    Im from Illinois and how do I find out when I will be getting my back pay. Its been 6 weeks and the unemployment office doesn’t know anything…I only was off 26 weeks and never had a federal extention and was cut off. I think there are always people that abuse the system and have ruined it for us.I can pay my bills anymore without getting paid.So if anyone knows anything please let me know..
    Thank you, J.R.

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    memo 07/26/2010 6:56am

    I dont no how Il web is set up but I went to my Florida .com that is our web site for the state of Fl Then I put in extended unemployment and it took me to the right page I guess you could search State of Il and that would get you there Hope this helps

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    degofast 07/26/2010 11:12am

    I have called my unemployment office and they told me to just keep checking my account to see if the funds are in there.. I was like thank you for all the help.

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    finzfan1313 07/28/2010 6:28am

    I went to mymissouri.com and they are redoing the site. I called the unemployment office last week and they are supposed to send me forms to fill out. Hopefully today. I am at the point in my unemployment where I have to mail in my weekly claims. Almost a 99er. They said it shouldn’t be too long after they receive the forms until I get paid. II hope so it’s been too long since I have seen anything from them. But the good news is that we are going to be getting the $25.00 extra. So on top of what they are going to pay in retro money they are also giving us the extra money too.

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    finzfan1313 07/28/2010 6:28am

    I went to mymissouri.com and they are redoing the site. I called the unemployment office last week and they are supposed to send me forms to fill out. Hopefully today. I am at the point in my unemployment where I have to mail in my weekly claims. Almost a 99er. They said it shouldn’t be too long after they receive the forms until I get paid. II hope so it’s been too long since I have seen anything from them. But the good news is that we are going to be getting the $25.00 extra. So on top of what they are going to pay in retro money they are also giving us the extra money too.

  • buffalou 07/22/2010 11:23pm

    99ers are Americans who have exhausted all unemployment insurance and are now without any source of income. By the end of November, all of the unemployed people in this country will be 99ers. Now THAT’s when it’s going to get ugly.

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    mouseissue 07/23/2010 11:58am

    Interesting that this will happen near the November elections.

    Was this coincidence or are the politicians (particularly the Democrats who are in power) still playing politics with American families’ survival?

    Unless something changes, in about 3 months, my family will join the homeless.

    Is it any wonder Congress now has an 11% approval rating among Americans (all parties)? It NEVER been this low since such polling has been recorded.

    I AM SO SICK OF THESE B_STARDS!!!
    CONGRESS NEEDS A MASS TOILET FLUSH TO GET RID OF THESE SMELLY T_RDS!

  • rayinman 07/22/2010 11:37pm

    I am happy that this bill has finally passed but to be honest when I go to my EDD website I still don’t know if I will be getting a check or not. I am in my 84 week of benefits and to tell you the truth I am scared to death if I don’t receive a check. even if I do my benefits will run out come the beginning of September. Why is it so hard for our government to take care of their own? We have been supporting other countries and god knows who else whenever they need it and when it come to us we get swept under the rug as if we don’t exist. Today I borrowed $2 so I can buy a bag of rice!! 27 years of working and paying taxes and this is where my life is. GOD save us all from this nightmare we are enduring…

  • BreeLane 07/23/2010 2:27am

    What about people that are on the EB extensions? I still have 18 weeks left for Extended Benefits in Michigan. Does this extension mean I will get those remaining 18 weeks. I called to certify this week and my certification was accepted however my check was deposited into my account because the extension had not passed when I called to certify. Can anyone confirm that this extension was for both EUC and EB?

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    givememyjobback 07/23/2010 9:19am

    BreeLane, I too am from Michigan and in week 18 of EB. Go to the UIA homepage for all the details. We will resume our EB.

  • dlharris1189 07/23/2010 3:06am

    To be honest guys, the Federal Reserve had all of this planned and they keep making future plans to boost our economy and then to drop it and make us go though a recession….its all apart of their big plan of world domination in the “NEW WORLD ORDER”…they dont plan on doing anything for the unemployment extension because they have us right where they want us!!! they want to use us as slaves while the world powers come together and make one world goverment! WE HAVE TO TAKE OUR COUNTRY BACK AND GET THE FEDERAL RESERVE INC out of our government!!!!

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    seanurse 07/23/2010 9:12am

    hi chris, you have been blogging along with me for a long time now. please go to www.kickthemallout.com and see what you think of there work. they seem organized to help the 99ers and us. let me know what you think. i want to get more people involved and some protest movements started. im thinking this site might be good for organizing more 99ers. anyway let me know ok.

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    mouseissue 07/23/2010 12:15pm
    Link Reply
    + -1

    HEY!!! I AM ONE OF THOSE 99ers WHOSE FAMILY WILL SOON BE HOMELESS THANKS TO THESE POLITICIANS!!!

    Remember that the Democrats (particularly the Progressives, Socialists, etc.) have controlled Congress since 2006 and just look at what they have to show for it.

    BTW, MSNBC is just a propaganda arm of the White House pupblic relations department. They will outright lie, mislead, and omit important context, if it makes the Administrations look at all bad.

    I am an independent (formerly a democrat) who does not tolerate liars!
    DON’T LUMP PEOPLE LIKE ME IN WITH THE FEDERAL RESERVE!!!
    BERNANKE (et al) IS OPERATING WITHIN THE CURRENT WHITE HOUSE’ DIRECTIVES!

    I have also attended Tea Party gatherings and found people of all stripes (Repubs, Demos, Indeps, etc.) ALL mad that we have been sold a “bill of goods” by Obama’s campaign and are sick to watch this Socialist destroy America!

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    jeneelynn 07/27/2010 9:53pm

    Amen to that brother! The most important thing is to get right with God. This world is heading in the direction written about in Revelation – and it IS inevitable! It is cleary spelled out to us in the bible!

  • J9007 07/23/2010 3:31am

    Remember your representatives and senators that voted NO on extending unemployment benefits.

  • DeborahJBrown 07/23/2010 3:34am

    NO EXTENDED BENEFITS FOR FLORIDA even though Florida has the 6th highest unemployment rate in the country according the the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. IN THE NEWS: Capitol News Service – Providing Coverage of Florida’s Capitol to State and National News Outlets. Speaker Tells Unemployed to Wait Until September – July 22nd, 2010 by Whitney Ray – Congress has extended unemployment benefits for more than two million jobseekers in 49 states, but not Florida. Read the whole article here: http://www.flanews.com/?p=10053#comment-13783 I wrote to several members of Florida’s Legislature prior to their recent special session asking them to make the date change and, while the Speaker is telling this reporter they may address it in September – all of my emails say they may address it “next year” when they meet March 2011. That is 10 months after the cut-off and 4 months after the expiration of the current extension. HELP US GET OUR BENEFITS IN FLORIDA – DON’T QUIT ON US!

  • DeborahJBrown 07/23/2010 3:57am

    Don’t the States only have until August to file with the federal government to receive their share of the Extended Benefits Program? I thought I read that somewhere… and Florida says it may or may not talk about getting some of those funds in September or March or something like that… Oh, but they did include them when balancing Florida’s budget so someone’s not being truthful here… FLORIDA HAS THE 6TH HIGHEST UNEMPLOYMENT RATE AND THE STATE REFUSES 100% FEDERALLY FUNDED EXTENDED BENEFITS

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    west 07/23/2010 10:05am

    AWI Applauds Governor Crist for Helping Provide
    Critically-Needed Unemployment Compensation to Long-Term Unemployed

    http://www.floridajobs.org/publications/news_rel/CrsitEextendsEB.htm

    just got off the phone with AWI its gonna take about 2 weeks before FL residents get any info..

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    iloveny555 07/23/2010 1:14pm

    ny does both. i have mine come to the unemployment debit card because i get it by 12 midnight. if you have it go to your bank it takes a extra day.

  • iheartmy98markviii 07/23/2010 4:16am

    Thank You Obama :)

  • iheartmy98markviii 07/23/2010 4:17am

    Why is Florida not included in the benefit extension? All the states should be entered into this bill?

  • MelinFlorida 07/23/2010 4:34am

    it is not over for people in Florida we are all considered 99er even if we are84er. It makes me sick to see a balance on my account and know I am not getting it. I was a State Employee, with a Disabled husband and 2 girls, I have lost my car been evicted an because of some BS i am unable to get my EB. not right to get our hopes up and then smack us in the face…..

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    west 07/23/2010 10:12am

    http://www.floridajobs.org/publications/news_rel/CrsitEextendsEB.htm

  • shannwil 07/23/2010 4:58am

    They need to get these payments out ASAP!!!! We have waited long enough!!!

  • ohcraplookwhosincharge 07/23/2010 5:22am

    Please let’s all just remember when November rolls around…..to vote these Republicans Out !!!! They have proven that they dispise all Americans and want to ruin the landscape of America for their financial gain….
    1st needs to be Jeb Hensarling……He is the Biggest Snakeoil Salesman of them All !!!! I would trust a Gypsy Fortuneteller before I trusted him…..lowest of all weasels….
    All Republicans really need to go though…….if you watch them at work, it is as if they actually would like to see someone starve in front of them…….they revel in it…..
    This Country is making my Great Grandparents roll over in their graves……

  • brokeflgirl333 07/23/2010 5:27am

    Crist can call a special session to ban oil drilling in Florida.When is comes to unemployment FL legislature ignors unempolyed people of Florida.Thanks alot Mr.Crist for screwing us out of money we need to feed our children.Crist, I think you need to spend less time on your fake tan and more time doing your job!

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    understanding 07/23/2010 5:36am

    I am wondering, if things would have be cheaper for the tax payers, if the Congress hadn’t mucked everything up and concentrated all their efforts onto the 99ers. States will now have to pay people overtime, if the states are doing so, to get everything back up in running. It is like we have to clean up after Congress’ mess.

    It is dually noted how slow Congress works unless there are earmarks or their own pay raises. This definitely adds to the passage of a bill time.

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