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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 31-60 of 215 total comments.

  • Comm_reply
    understanding 07/23/2010 5:58am

    As well as further extensions, there should be a Protection of Unemployed Peoples Act.

    Prevents the defamation and discrimination of the unemployed

    Expedites the payment of benefits when under emergency conditions of high unemployment to days not weeks

    Information for Unemployment benefits should be timely and easily to understand

    Just my thoughts.

  • Comm_reply
    seanurse 07/23/2010 6:39am

    I COULDN’T AGREE MORE . PLEAS GO TO WWW.KICKTHEMALLOUT.COM AND GIVE THEM YOUR IDEAS. THEY NEED OUR INPUT. THANKS AND GOOD LUCK TO ALL

  • brokeflgirl333 07/23/2010 5:35am

    Florida Seeking Ways To Handle Homelessness

    http://www.theledger.com/article/20100722/NEWS/7225071/1410?Title=Lakeland-Seeking-Ways-To-Handle-Homelessness

  • Comm_reply
    Chris51 07/23/2010 9:59am

    Sad story. The parks in my area have more homeless people sleeping in the open and living in their cars. Most people ignore them, but they are real people facing poor circumstances. We are a wealthy Nation our tax money should be taking care of all of these folks. Instead there are a few big corporations that got billions in the bailout money, and then stole it in a forms of bonus.

    http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/26184891
    Report informs: That Kenneth Feinberg reviewed payouts to 600 executives at 17 financial companies in late 2008. Report found nearly 80% totaling more than $1.5 million were unmerited. The story ends with special note that this year, 2010, could be a record for wall street bonuses. Big corporations squeeze their workforce, the tax payer, the consumers, and don’t create jobs, and they win…
    This is what FreedomWorks calls Economic Prosperity. We will just have to wait a little longer for it to “Trickle Down”.

  • brokeflgirl333 07/23/2010 5:39am

    We need to do something!!!

    http://www.flanews.com/?p=10053#comment-13783

  • Comm_reply
    kgent 07/23/2010 1:38pm

    you all miss understood what the governor said.he said the legislative had three months to take care of this problem,but they voted on a recess, instead of helping yall.the governor involked emergency power that allows him to implement the emergency benefits for florida .that was done today.

  • brokeflgirl333 07/23/2010 5:59am
    Florida two hour special session that accomplished nothing, cost you the taxpayer an estimated 55-thousand dollars. That’s 16-thousand dollars more than the average Floridian makes in an entire year. lawmakers spent 55-thousand dollars, to gavel in, ignore the issue, and go home. Most lawmakers traveled all that distance and spent all that money and didn’t even speak on the floor… They just kept their seat warm and pushed a button.Not only did lawmakers not vote on a constitutional ban on offshore oil drilling, they also ignored two dozen other bills filed this week. One of those bills would allow unemployed workers who have exhausted their benefits claim more federal money while they’re looking for work. Soon those extended benefits will begin flowing to unemployed people in every state except Florida.
  • ExGOP 07/23/2010 6:18am

    You’re absolutely right Mr. Shaw! I will continue to pay attention to the actions and inactions of Congress.

    Other than signing petitions, what else can we do?

  • Comm_reply
    seanurse 07/23/2010 6:36am

    go to www.kickthemallout.com

  • Comm_reply
    donnyshaw 07/23/2010 4:22pm

    OpenCongress Staff

    Well, decide on an agenda (stimulus, Tier V, jobs corps, etc.), pick a target (Dems, GOP, the financial industry, etc.) and then do as much as you can with what you have.

    Obviously, the unemployed are lacking in resources and money, but it’s’ important to think about what you do have, and then do something with it. IMO, it’s going to take some serious off-line action to get policymakers to do something for the unemployed. You’re going to have to get creative and aggressive.

  • Comm_reply
    ExGOP 07/23/2010 9:03pm

    I understand what you’re saying, but what made Congress act this time? If the nation’s unemployment rate continues to be painfully high Congress can choose to ignore the unemployed, but at what costs? It’s not going to help the economy, which makes the democrats look bad. The democrats are damned if they do (it reinforces the republican opinion that they aren’t doing enough or they’re incompetent to create jobs), and their damned if they don’t (which translates into not caring about the unemployed).

    There are many factors in play, but what happens next depends on each party’s strategy for this next election.

  • Comm_reply
    ExGOP 07/23/2010 9:07pm

    I forgot to add this to the end of my prior response.

    The democrats pacified the unemployed until after the election.

  • Comm_reply
    ExGOP 07/23/2010 9:34pm

    I still think the democrats would help the unemployed with extensions and additional Tiers (I don’t think the republicans will).

  • rayinman 07/23/2010 6:26am

    To anyone in California:
    I just got off the phone with EDD… They state that until they get the bill from Washington they will be waiting to see what they get first before issuing checks!!
    AS the woman on the phone stated that this could take a few more weeks… Already wrote my piece of s**t congressman, but he won’t give a crap he voted no on this bill

  • Comm_reply
    ExGOP 07/23/2010 6:54am

    I think you were given bad information. Did you read EDD’s press release? It was updated yesterday.

    http://www.edd.ca.gov/Unemployment/Federal_Unemployment_Insurance_Extensions.htm

  • Comm_reply
    buddyg1 07/23/2010 1:19pm

    Yes, check the website for more accurate information in California. I know from experience that what is told over the phone is often not accurate. In the past I have been given vastly different information over the phone from one attendant to the next. Astoundingly, it’s as if they are as uninformed as the general public.

    The updated website information has proven much more accurate.

  • Comm_reply
    buddyg1 07/23/2010 1:25pm

    According to the latest release, California EDD is working through the weekend to prepare mailings to beneficiaries in order to begin sending them out next week to catch people up on their payments.

  • Comm_reply
    IndenturedServants2010 07/24/2010 11:45am

    Thanks buddy,
    It’s getting harder and harder to filter out the bill collectors from any job responses and even more discouraging having to repeat that I can not pay any bills without this funding-we all know they still call # times a day and the banks that we just bailed out twice over have no problem in drowning us in penalties, destroying our credit and more potential job opportunities losses since this as a criteria now. I feel we still are being black labeled by our economical branding.
    With 8 years of experience in construction (only in consideration to most recent job), a BS in Comp Sci, MBA, & MPM, I still feel worthless in this econ.

  • Jonapoo4u 07/23/2010 6:27am

    i lived and worked in florida for 10 years before i got laid off its sad that we cant be like every other state seems like florida just doesnt seem to work like everything else i know you guys remember the election we messed up.but i moved to georgia does anyone know which UI rules i have to follow? florida’s or georgias

  • Comm_reply
    chelly 07/23/2010 9:37am

    Who are you getting benefits from, Florida or Georgia?

  • Comm_reply
    Jonapoo4u 07/23/2010 10:34am

    i get my benifits from florida but i read somewhere i may have to go by the state im living in rules

  • brokeflgirl333 07/23/2010 6:32am

    I suggest that everyone from Florida start calling and e-mailing Mr.Crist

  • seanurse 07/23/2010 6:33am

    good morning everyone. anyone find out anything about illinois. nothing on ides site yet and papers are saying as soon as next week. just need a time line for the landlord. also here is a site that we all should become members of and that donny shaw might want to check out for us also. please check it out at www.kickthemallout.com. i found some good ideas there and they are more organized for protests as well as getting funded. please pass it on if you like it. it can’t hurt to check it out. thanks and have a great day. god bless us all

  • ExGOP 07/23/2010 6:38am

    TO ALL MY FELLOW UNEMPLOYED AMERICANS … LET YOUR VOICES BE HEARD AND DON’T STOP FIGHTING FOR YOUR RIGHTS AND THE RIGHTS OF THE 99ERS!

    PLEASE SIGN THE PETITION AT THE FOLLOWING WEBSITE:
    http://uspoverty.change.org/petitions/view/the_99ers_need_a_tier_v_added_to_unemployment_benefits

    THIS COULD BE YOU! ECONOMISTS PREDICT JOBS WILL NOT BE BACK BY NOV. 30TH! THEY’RE TALKING ABOUT A SMALL PICKUP IN 2012, BUT EVEN THEN THIS COUNTRY WILL PROBABLY NOT BE ABLE TO CREATE 15 MILLION JOBS BY THEN. IN OTHER WORDS, ANY RECOVERY WILL BE SLOW. LET’S START NOW TO HELP AVOID THE CRAP WE ARE CURRENTLY GOING THROUGH.

    P.S. PLEASE FORWARD THE PETITION LINK TO FRIENDS AND FAMILY MEMBERS TO SIGN. WE STILL NEED 11,000+ SIGNATURES TO REACH THE 50,000 GOAL.

  • GodisGreat44 07/23/2010 6:40am

    why would this be the last extension they are going to do? the economy is NOT getting any better at this point and i bet that by the time november comes, there will be even MORE people without jobs and unable to feed their families than there is now. i listened to one of the female republicans talk yesterday about hurricane katrina and saying that they didn’t use any of this money (that is COLLECTING interest) for that and it shouldn’t be used to help now. if you haven’t noticed yet i would call this time period the SECOND Great Depression. they need to stand up and do something about it. if you don’t want to use that money to help us get on our feet then DO SOMETHING with it. start using it to try and help our economy or create new jobs for us. do something! don’t just sit up there in your big chairs, driving your nice cars, and living in your awesome homes and just complain about us. help your fellow Americans. because come November, we will remember!

  • seanurse 07/23/2010 6:43am

    DID ANYONE SEE IN THE TODAYS PAPER THAT ILLINOIS NOW MUST VOTE FOR TWO SENATORS IN NOV. THE COURT JUDGE RULED THAT BURESS MUST LEAVE ON ELECTION DAY AND NEW SENATOR WILL TAKE OFFICE IMMEDIATLY FOLLOWING ELECTIONS RESULTS. WOW HE WAS GOOD ENOUGH TILL NOW. MORE WAYS OF WASTING OUR MONEY. WHY NOT LEAVE HIM THERE TILL JANUARY WHICH IS THE END OF HIS TERM. OUR GOVERMENT JUST DOESN’T GET IT.

  • tah 07/23/2010 6:47am

    Latest update posted on Texas Workforce Commission Unemployment Benefits page-

    Congress extended the deadlines to qualify for all extended benefit programs. Texas Workforce Commission is working quickly to issue payments to customers who continued to submit payment requests. If you submitted your payment requests you should receive your payments by Wednesday, August 4. If you stopped submitting payment requests but are still unemployed, please submit your payment requests immediately. You do not need to contact TWC about the extension unless we send you a letter asking for information. When you exhaust your current benefits, TWC will send you a letter if you are eligible for additional benefits.

  • txgalnokc 07/23/2010 6:49am

    Hello Everyone! I’m writing to give hope, but to also get clarification. I live in Oklahoma and just received notice that the retro-pay was deposited onto my debit card. However, to my surprise, an extra $175 ($25 for the last 7 weeks) was also deposited. I thought the extra amount wasn’t included in the recent UI extension? Can someone help clarify this

  • Comm_reply
    ExGOP 07/23/2010 7:05am

    WOW! OK has its act together.

    My State of CA EDD’s press release states this …

    It also does not allow for the $25 federal stimulus payment added to each week of unemployment benefits for any new regular claim filed after May 23, 2010. For any existing claims already receiving the extra $25 payments, those payments can continue until the customer runs out of benefits or until the week-ending December 11, 2010, whichever comes first.

    I hope the rest of us get the same result.

  • Comm_reply
    seanurse 07/23/2010 7:10am

    txgalnoke thats great to hear. im glad for you. does your state deposit to debit cards or direct deposit to your accounts? that is what illinois does. i hope thats a sign and we get paid soon too. as far as the extra 25 thats what i was tring to find out yesterday. i have a friend who has been getting the extra 25 all along. i believe we are getting 25 extra for all back pay checks just not the new weeks. makes sense because new law just eliminated it , so it didnt effect the back pay. we shall see. well good luck and god bless.

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