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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 121-150 of 215 total comments.

  • butterflyangel 07/23/2010 9:48pm

    does anyone have any information on when Missouri is going to start sending out payments. Ive been checking the states website and it says anywhere from 1 to 5 weeks but im curious been without income for almost 7 weeks now and the bills are really starting to get behind.

  • Comm_reply
    Star58 07/24/2010 4:04am

    I’m from Missouri. If you kept filing for unemployment during this time, I don’t think it will take as long. I kept filing and also was told that I was already set up for Tier 3 just in case. Like you, I hope that it comes soon as I am now borrowing from family to get some of my bills paid and to keep from being evicted.

  • trynghard63 07/24/2010 3:55am

    This is what I found out from the Alabama web site. Can someone please help me understand the section that says please note?
    “July 23, 2010
    IMPORTANT NEWS ABOUT FEDERAL EXTENDED UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION
    We are anticipating instructions from the US Department of Labor shortly and will make the program changes to pay additional benefits as soon as possible.
    The US Congress has approved funding to extend the Alabama High Unemployment Extended Benefits Compensation program (HEB). Individuals who are eligible for payments under this program will be notified by mail.
    If you are still unemployed, you should continue to file weekly certifications as usual. You will be notified by mail if you are entitled to additional benefits.
    Please note: Legislation referenced above did not include any additional tiers of benefits for EUC or any extra weeks for HEB. Claimants who have already received all EUC and HEB benefits will have no other benefits available.”

  • Comm_reply
    ExGOP 07/24/2010 5:18am

    26 weeks – Regular UI
    20 weeks – EUC Tier 1
    13 weeks – EUC Tier 2
    01 week – EUC Tier 3
    13 weeks – EUC Tier 4
    06 weeks – EUC Tier 4 (States with high unemployment rates)
    13 weeks – EB (States with unemployment rates at or above 6.5%)
    07 weeks – EB (States with unemployment rates at or above 8.0%)

    EUC = emergency unemployment compensation
    EB = extended benefits

    You should be eligible for EUC and EB until Nov. 30th or until you’ve collected 99 weeks, which ever comes first.

  • Comm_reply
    mom2304 07/24/2010 5:43am

    Is this new legislation that Tier 3 is only 1 week or is this a mistake. I was under the impression that it was 13 weeks, Tier 2 is for 14 weeks & Tier 4 is 6 weeks(only if your state qualifies). Please clarify, thanks!

    Danie

  • Comm_reply
    ExGOP 07/24/2010 6:29am

    My bad.

    I got the breakdown (in my previous reply) from the CA EDD website, but instead of calling the extensions Tiers, they called it 26-UI, 20-EUC, 13-EUX, 1-EUY, 13-EUW, 6-EUZ, 13 & 7 FEDED, respectively. I added the Tiers to make it less confusing.

    After checking my paperwork, I never received a Notice of a 3rd extension. They (CA EDD) sent me a notice for an “additional” 2nd extension for (1 week), then skipped to a 4th extension for 6 weeks. So it does appear that you are correct, and I was wrong. Here’s the revised Tier breakdown …

    26 weeks – UI
    20 weeks – EUC Tier 1
    13 weeks – EUC Tier 2
    01 weeks – EUC Tier 2
    13 weeks – EUC Tier 3
    06 weeks – EUC Tier 4 (States with high unemployment rates)
    13 weeks – EB (States with unemployment rates at or above 6.5%)
    07 weeks – EB (States with unemployment rates at or above 8.0%)

  • Comm_reply
    ExGOP 07/24/2010 6:36am

    FYI … I did receive the 3rd Tier (after the 1 week/Tier 2 extension), I just didn’t receive the Notice letter for the 3rd extension.

  • Comm_reply
    mom2304 07/24/2010 8:08am

    Thanks ExGOP!

    Danie

  • Comm_reply
    seanurse 07/24/2010 6:40am

    dear tryinghard63, the please note is only telling you that no new extensions such as tier 5 was in the bill and that the 25 extra was eliminated. so all is ok dont panic. but do go sign petition for 99ers and help us get more action on 99ers. go to change.org under poverty and sign them all. have a great day. I hope this helped.

  • Kristy41 07/24/2010 5:15am

    It just means no money after you have drawn all 99 weeks

  • NoBodyFaultButMine 07/24/2010 5:29am

    House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday that Congress will not take up any measure to give the long-term jobless more weeks of unemployment benefits beyond the 99 weeks available in some states. Congress is currently locked in an epic battle just to preserve the 99 weeks for the rest of the year. In a seemingly futile effort to appease deficit hawks, Dem leadership already weakened its “extenders bill,” formally known as the American Jobs and Closing Loopholes Act, by shortening the unemployment extension through November instead of December.The extension under consideration this week is the fourth in the last six months. And while a handful of senators have pledged to constituents that they will fight for more weeks of benefits, Senate Finance Committee chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) has said that “99 weeks is sufficient.”

  • NoBodyFaultButMine 07/24/2010 5:37am

    Tier 5: Pelosi Says No To More Weeks Of Unemployment Benefits
    House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday that Congress will not take up any measure to give the long-term jobless more weeks of unemployment benefits beyond the 99 weeks available in some states. Congress is currently locked in an epic battle just to preserve the 99 weeks for the rest of the year. In a seemingly futile effort to appease deficit hawks, Dem leadership already weakened its “extenders bill,” formally known as the American Jobs and Closing Loopholes Act, by shortening the unemployment extension through November instead of December.And while a handful of senators have pledged to constituents that they will fight for more weeks of benefits, Senate Finance Committee chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) has said that “99 weeks is sufficient.”

    Keep voting for those dem.

  • Comm_reply
    ExGOP 07/24/2010 6:42am

    I read that the Whitehouse has signaled that they will extend EUC if the nations unemployment rate is still painfully high in November.

    Keep voting for those repubs.

  • seanurse 07/24/2010 6:46am

    good morning everyone. has anybody else been watching channel 11. I have in the past three weeks. They have been doing more reporting for the 99ers and the unemployedthan any other station. why because the channels 2,5,7,9, are all owned by republicans and therefor they wont report on unemployment. so we need to get channel 11 to keep reporting on it and also on the poverty its causing our country. im in chicago and you really play politics here. we must continue the fight. everyday im back on this site only tosee more and more of us not blogging. come on we didnt all lose our computers yet. we need ideas. remember november.

  • seanurse 07/24/2010 6:53am

    if peolosi is against extensions for tier five then she should be the one we target for turning her around. we should hit her with so many stories and desperation that her mail, e mail, and phone and facebook doesnt stop.

  • seanurse 07/24/2010 6:57am

    dear mr DONNY SHAW. I HAVE A QUESTION. CAN A UNITED STATES CITEZEN GO INTO CONGRESS BUILDING AND LOBBY LIKE THE LOBBIEST DO BETWEEN VOTES OR DO YOU HAVE TO BE APPROVED OR SOMETHING. I MEAN IF WE ARE GOING TO TRY TO WIN WE MUST HAVE A VOICE IN THOSE HALLS TELLING OUR STORIES RIGHT!

  • NoBodyFaultButMine 07/24/2010 7:37am

    Everyone talks about how we are suppose to vote on Nov. concerning one issue, unemployment benefits. How about voting for those who want to create jobs so we can provide our own food, shelter, and health care instead of sending our money to foreign countries or bailing out the same people who put us here and paying themselves big bonuses. We are only a small% compared to the employed and others who will vote on performance of the gov. and other issues and not just on 1 issue of unemployment benefits. Unless they are unemployed like us they will never know what is to be in our shoes. All politicians in gov. are millionaires or richer (gop. or dem). who make all the decisions on our survival. We have given them to much power.

  • Comm_reply
    ExGOP 07/24/2010 7:58am

    Are you suggesting that the Democrats do not want to create jobs??? They just passed a jobs bill, but that bill will take time to work.

    Come November, if you do not have a job by then how to you plan on paying for your necessities? Savings, credit cards, moving in with relatives, or moving in to your local park?

  • Comm_reply
    skrapper 07/24/2010 6:18pm

    For those of you that are homeless, or soon will be homeless. Just remember, if you don’t have a address! You can’t vote because you don’t matter.
    No address, no precinct to vote out of.
    If you find your house going into foreclosure try to get help, but!!! Point is once it finally goes into foreclosure, you have up to 1 year to stay in it before they can through you out. They can’t do a damn thing about it either.
    So if your loosing it in the winter, and you are a having a very cold winter. Don’t give the house back you will at least have it till next year.
    I WISH YOU ALL WELL AND PLEASE USE THE 211 PHONE# FOR HELP AND ASSISTANCE.

  • NoBodyFaultButMine 07/24/2010 8:24am
    Link Reply
    + -1

    The jobs bill was the first thing they should have passed not health care reform. The rep. would have passed the unemployed bill from if they would have use the stimulus money to pay for it. The dem. did not want to use the stimulus money to pay for the unemployment bill because it is only use for their personal interest and agendas. Come Nov. will be the same issue how will the new tier get pay for. I don’t vote rep. or dem. I am an independent.

    Keep voting for those dem. or rep.

  • Comm_reply
    ExGOP 07/24/2010 8:52am

    It is the way it is; there are two major parties … The Democrats and The Republicans. Voting Independent would be like wasting your vote.

    I happen to agree with the Democrats in regards to not using stimulus money to pay for EUC. It’s an emergency, and historically, emergencies are not pay go. Why set a precedent now? Why all of a sudden have the Republicans developed an overspending conscious on the backs of the unemployed?

    So keep wasting your vote on those Independents.

  • NoBodyFaultButMine 07/24/2010 9:34am
    Link Reply
    + -1

    Keep voting for the worst of 2 evils. Long live socialism!

  • Comm_reply
    ExGOP 07/24/2010 9:59am

    Are you really unemployed? Your name suggests that it is your own fault that you are unemployed? Is this how you feel?

    I have a life, so I won’t be responding to anymore of your STUPID statements.

    Keep on NOT making a difference!

  • NoBodyFaultButMine 07/24/2010 10:24am
    Link Reply
    + -1

    Nobody,s fault but mine for believing in “Just We Can”. I have been called back to go back to work in Aug. So I will be employed. There are only stupid statements to you because you can’t handle the truth. So keep believing that brainwashing mantra just we can(cannot).

  • Comm_reply
    ExGOP 07/25/2010 5:28am

    I can’t resist this one …

    The phrase is “Yes we can”, NOT “Just we can” … dummy.

    If you’re not here to help the unemployed get off this blog. I’m sure you can find a Tea Party blog.

  • bigbufordsdad 07/24/2010 11:02am
    Link Reply
    + -2

    ExGOP: your statement about wasted votes is nothing more than ignorant. just because there are 2 MAJOR parties doesnt give you or anyone else the right to infringe on the political opinions of the rest of us. this is simply how this country works. i suppose you only shop at wal-mart or target, drive ford or chevy, wear nike or reebok, eat at mcdonalds or burger king, are catholic or baptist, etc. if not for the freedom of OPTIONS, we would be no better off than communists. without the freedom to choose whateve party we want, the republican and democrat parties wouldnt even exist. we would all be federalist, dem-rep, or whig. do you think that Abraham Lincoln, our 1st republican president, would agree with your statement? for someone who likes to use the word “historicaly”, maybe you need a history lesson.

  • Comm_reply
    ExGOP 07/25/2010 6:06am

    I think you may be nobodyfaultbutmine, but under a different alias because you want me to respond to you.

    I’m not trying to infringe anything on anyone. I have a right to my own opinion. If you don’t like my opinion, that’s your problem.

    You presume to know where I shop or my religion, now that’s ignorant. I think you need a lesson in current political affairs. If you choose to split the votes by voting for a party that has no chance of winning, that’s your choice. And in my opinion, a vote that won’t matter (a.k.a. a wasted vote).

    This country will probably never see an Independent, Green Party, etc … President. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that our political leaders will be either Democrats or Republicans. Again, it is what it is. I don’t make the rules, so stop shooting the messenger and wasting my time.

  • Kerlynne 07/24/2010 2:21pm

    FELLOW UNEMPLOYED>>>

  • Reader12 07/24/2010 2:25pm

    Laid off middle class America is going to have to organize themselves politically and get involved now fighting for job creation. We are going to have to wrestle our own future and our childrens future back from big corporations and big banks who almost own our government at this point, and stop this downward slide in the average American’s prosperity ourselves.

    The numbers do not lie. This is no seasonal recession! It is a Depression and the downward momentum is increasing. Wages are dropping everywhere, underemployment is increasing and temporary jobs are replacing permanent ones.

    http://www.opencongress.org/images/blog/stlouisfedunemployment.png

    Just like our grandparents did during the labor movement in the turn of the century.
    Its not going to be easy and the media can’t be counted on to help. But the alternative is doing nothing and no one will lose out but us.
    No Americans are expendable casualties in this new economy!

  • Comm_reply
    Kerlynne 07/24/2010 2:30pm

    EXACTLY!! READER 12

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