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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 61-90 of 215 total comments.

  • Comm_reply
    txgalnokc 07/23/2010 3:07pm

    Hey Seanurse ~ sorry I didn’t respond earlier – I just noticed your comment.

    Yes, Oklahoma offers direct deposit as well as the debit card option. I chose the debit card because the money is available sooner than direct deposit.

    As for the extra $25 – I’m still a little blown away about it. It wasn’t expected at all, but definitely appreciated. ExGop said that only the new beneficiaries will not receive the additional funds. So I’m not really sure if it only applies to the backpay or to future payments too. Guess we’ll see next week.

    Best of luck and God Bless!

  • amashoosier08 07/23/2010 6:53am

    If you live in Indiana according to the state website it will take a few more weeks to reprogram the computer before payments are implemented.

  • brokeflgirl333 07/23/2010 7:00am

    http://www.flanews.com/?cat=1

    Here is the press release that I have

  • brokeflgirl333 07/23/2010 7:04am

    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.

    http://www.flanews.com/?cat=1

  • taxthis 07/23/2010 7:08am

    My info on Florida. unemployment rep. says info will be mailed to claimants. When? 7-14 days. presently Fl. news station flanews.com, as brokeflgirl333 posted( thankyou) Speaker Larry Cretul says, We didn’t know they were going to pass emergency employment comp., We will deal with it when we come back in sept. Unbeleivable!!!! end of post..New post…FOT SALE>>> EVERTHING I OWN!!!!Is there any politicians out there that have any common sense at all. You politicians have got some big you know whats, or you are just plain stupid. I would be very cautious if I were ….Y’all or Yous Guys

  • txgalnokc 07/23/2010 7:17am

    ExGOP, Thank you! That helps clarify the extra money. Definitely no complaints from me, but I didn’t want to include it in my budget if there was any chance of them reversing it.
    And yes, I am very surprised that it was deposited so quickly. I wasn’t expecting it until the end of the month as they originally stated.
    My prayers remain with everyone! Lets hope every state can pull it together like OK has.

  • RyanRhino 07/23/2010 7:19am

    Florida residents, I would not panic just yet. I know some of the articles read that there will be no benefits for us, and that may be the case, but it could also be a misunderstanding. All I am saying is just give it a few days and see what happens. I think there may be some confusion involved as to what type of benefits this new law entitles. The way the law reads is that this extension will extend the existing tiers. The lawmakers in Florida are against extending EB which is something completely different. Again I cannot say for sure, I may be wrong but I recommend not worrying about it until Monday, then if there is no news on the unemployment website for Florida, call them and ask for info. Make sure when you talk to them that you refer to it as the new tier of benefits just passed into law and not EB or it may confuse them. Read this article from this link. The bold print that says AN EXPLAINER http://www.firstcoastnews.com/news/news-article.aspx?storyid=160158

  • Comm_reply
    taxthis 07/23/2010 7:32am

    To RyanRhino, Thank you for the information. I will read this. It is very difficult to obtain info now. I am personally very upset now and I do not think I am the only one. I and others that feel this way have to calm down before it destroys us…. Thank you Mr. Rhino……signed Robin Hood….catch my drift……58 year young U S Navy veteran

  • mom2304 07/23/2010 7:54am

    More of the same old BS here in Louisiana. Unemployment office doesn’t take calls & their web site I’ve been directed to hasn’t been updated since Tuesday. I can’t find any info on how or when they will implement payments. I have no info to give bill collectors & my car payment is due. I am soooo frustrated!

  • kkrontz 07/23/2010 7:59am

    An explainer on the federal and state unemployment programs (Courtesy Agency for Workforce Innovation):

    There are two different Unemployment Compensation programs being discussed in Congress – federal Extended Unemployment Compensation, or EUC, and Extended Benefits, or EB.

    The critical information to note is that if Congress acts this week to extend the deadlines for Extended Unemployment Compensation, eligible Floridians will absolutely be able to receive these benefits. The EUC program does NOT require state legislative action.

  • kkrontz 07/23/2010 8:00am

    AWI estimates 34,459 Floridians are losing eligibility for benefits each week due to the EUC eligibility deadlines that expired in May.

    The program that requires state legislative action is EB. This program would be available to unemployment compensation customers only after they have used up all EUC to which they may be entitled, which under the current structure is up to 53 additional weeks on top of the state program’s up-to-26 weeks of benefits.

  • kkrontz 07/23/2010 8:01am

    Again, whether or not the state legislature takes action does NOT impact Floridians’ ability to collect the up-to-26 weeks of state unemployment compensation benefits, or the up-to-53 weeks of EUC to which they may be entitled if Congress approves and the president signs this extension.

  • kkrontz 07/23/2010 8:01am

    EUC:
    Tier I: Under the proposal, unemployed workers receiving benefits from their regular state claims would have until November 20, 2010 to exhaust their state benefits and establish eligibility for EUC Tier I, which provides up to an additional 20 weeks of benefits.

    Tiers II and III: Unemployed workers currently receiving benefits on EUC Tiers I, II, or III could qualify for the next level of benefits if their current tier is exhausted by November 27, 2010. EUC Tier II provides up to 14 weeks of benefits and Tier III provides up to 13 weeks of additional benefits.

    Tier IV: Those who exhaust Tier III benefits by November 27, 2010 could establish eligibility for Tier IV benefits, which provides up to 6 additional weeks of benefits.

  • kkrontz 07/23/2010 8:02am

    EB:
    This federal proposal also includes an extension of the full federal funding for Extended Benefits (EB). However, payment of EB is contingent on the state being in an extended benefits period established under state law. Florida’s extended benefit period ended on June 5, 2010. State legislation would be necessary to allow Florida to take advantage of this additional federal funding, which would provide up to 20 additional weeks of benefits to people who have already exhausted all benefits available under their state and EUC claims and have not already exhausted an EB entitlement established prior to June 5, 2010.

  • kkrontz 07/23/2010 8:04am

    i hope this eases the minds in florida…

  • Comm_reply
    taxthis 07/23/2010 8:27am

    Thank You for your explanation. My benefit of $230.00 per week exhausted on the 26th of June 2010. The last check of the 26 weeks was issued on the 2nd of July 2010 for $219.00. I was not able to receive the full benefit the state allows because my employer cut my hourly wage by 10% the last 5 quarters before he laid me off. I realize every unemployed person has their own unfortunate sad story. I thank you for being concerned. I hope by being vigilant we can change this economic disaster and bring back decent wages and jobs to this country…..

  • UnemployedAmerican2010 07/23/2010 8:04am

    went to the workforce website and it said 2-3 days for us here in UT

  • seanurse 07/23/2010 8:38am

    just went to ides in illinois. they finally posted new updates. the people who filed for unemployment before may 27 2010 will still get the extra 25 till they go thru all extentions or dec 2010 which ever comes first. the new unemployed will not get the extra 25. all illinois people go to ides.gov and click on top update bar on extensions. they said they will release funds as soon as possible. well at least they updated it today. we shall see check your accounts everyday by 730 am and we will know.

  • tiamo4ever 07/23/2010 8:45am

    From OHIO, I made that call to our Unemployment office this am and re-dialed 5 times and then when i got through i held on for 1 hour and 22 minutes (cleaned my house with phone to ear), i am now filed for the following weeks: 6/12, 6/19, 6/26, 7/03, 7/10, & 7/17, the agent i was with explained i will receive a check for all 6 weeks all at once…..The on/line system is not up yet (as i was filing before), but should be up hopefully by Monday 26th, i will then be on a bi-weekly filing, so on August 1st, i will file (on/line) for weeks 7/24 & 7/31…I was very lucky to get a decent agent, who said things are really really busy and helter-skelter … Make that call, plan on being patient, and nice, and you will get far and know where you stand. Good Luck, Katie

  • kkrontz 07/23/2010 9:32am

    TALLAHASSEE- Agency for Workforce Innovation Director Cynthia R. Lorenzo today applauded Governor Charlie Crist for signing Executive Order 10-170, authorizing Floridians who qualify for Extended Benefits to resume receiving those benefits through December 4, 2010, as authorized by federal law on July 22, 2010. The Governor’s executive order is in response to this new law that provides an extension of full federal funding for Extended Benefits (EB) in states that are currently in an EB period.

  • kkrontz 07/23/2010 9:33am

    i think many in florida will have a good nights sleep…

  • Kay1987 07/23/2010 9:40am

    Okay we see were this is headed again…Its time to start thinking smart..because obviously its going to start again with the car payments , rent,and food and still no job…Its time to start letting these cars with high payments or rather any to just go back and get something paid for,cheap.Apply for food stamps.Whats being able to just pay my rent for only 4 more mths.When i get my payback i’m going to be looking at some cheap mobile homes that i can get paid off, something that i won’t have to stress my self if there going to kick me out or repo.If your in house the will normally have mercy on you for a few mths. but in a apartment that want there money by the 3rd so u have to do what u have to do.

  • iloveny555 07/23/2010 9:49am

    FOR THE NEW YORKERS CHECK YOUR ACCOUNTS. THEY RELEASED OUR MONEY TODAY SO MIDNIGHT AS USUAL WE WILL HAVE OUR BACK PAY AND I NOTICED THEY PAID ME THE 25 AS WELL.

    GODBLESS

  • Comm_reply
    seanurse 07/23/2010 10:06am

    does your state only direct deposit to your account or was this deposited on the unemployment debit card?

  • RyanRhino 07/23/2010 10:07am

    Okay Florida, so it looks like everything you need to know is on this following link. Looks like it still may be a couple of weeks before you can recieve payment, but I would recommend trying to claim both regular and if not, then EB next week. If you cant get either thru the website, then I would call them right away to find out when you can. Here is the best info link for you and its right off the unemployment page:
    http://www.floridajobs.org/unemployment/hottopics.html

  • eavina30 07/23/2010 10:09am

    I feel for all the people in Florida, the media doesn’t give a fuck about those who are struggling, both the senate and the house have taken another week long vacation, it seems like the only solution is a Riot of some sort, In California a city manager is getting paid more than the president, these are our tax dollars, millions of unemployment compensation dollars are reporting fraud claims, I got about two months left on my claim, what do they expect us to do if they are no jobs out there, I wish i had my old job back so all this could go away…..it feels like I’m stuck in a bad episode of Back to Future and Biff is our Senator…..Ima fuck someone up soon

  • saturnsc2 07/23/2010 10:10am

    txgalnokc, what benefits were you collecting before they expired in june? i was 2 weeks into my ohio eb (20 weeks) of state extended benefits & was getting the extra $25.00 then. they owe me about 7 weeks also like you & i’m wondering if i wll also still get the extra 25.00 like you. i thought i heard that the extra $25.00 people will still get if were getting it before, but it won’t be avaliable on new claims…. i hope i still get it as it would hurt like hell to lose it…

  • Comm_reply
    txgalnokc 07/23/2010 3:19pm

    Saturnsc2, I was on my original 26-week claim which expired 2 days after the June 2nd cut-off. I can’t see some of us getting the extra monies in our retro-pay and others not. So I’m pretty sure you can count on it!

    Best of luck and God Bless!

  • eavina30 07/23/2010 10:11am

    In November we will Remember, Tier 5

  • eavina30 07/23/2010 10:12am

    In California you only get $25 payback on the retro, not on new payments..

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