OpenCongress Blog

Blog Feed Comments Feed More RSS Feeds

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.

Like this post? Stay in touch by following us on Twitter, joining us on Facebook, or by Subscribing with RSS.
 

Comments

Displaying 91-120 of 215 total comments.

  • west 07/23/2010 10:13am

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

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

  • saturnsc2 07/23/2010 10:16am

    maybe that’s what txgalnokc is just getting, the $25.00 retro then nothing in the new payments. the retro pay is from before the new bill was enacted, so that’s probably why people will get it for retro only…

  • bigbufordsdad 07/23/2010 10:22am

    for all in ARKANSAS:
    the state received their funds today, and starting the 26th (monday), benefits will resume as usual. your retroactive pay will not be in one lump sum, but will trickle (their exact words) on to your debit card. there is not a time period for this, but is expected to happen rather quickly. this is so they dont have to review individual claims and mess with any computer changes. so basically as they go through all the past claims you will get your back pay when they get to your claim. so starting monday you should check your balance daily. the money will trickle on to your card in the normal weekly installment, but more like every couple of days or so until you are caught up. i hope this makes sense.

  • taxthis 07/23/2010 10:27am

    Here in Florida the government couldn’t even count the vote correctly with a calculator. I doubt very much if they are going to get this one straight. You think that someone from the F.L.U.I.D. (the internet claims site) would post something new or relevent to the latest information on the new bill that just passed. Why is it that some states have their things in order and immediately do the right thing and FLORIDA will take 2 weeks just to mail out information…..I take it as arrogance and heartless official that really just don’t give a shit about anything but their fatass paychecks and bonuses……

  • bunibuni1964 07/23/2010 10:36am

    What about us 99ers?

  • taxthis 07/23/2010 10:36am

    Yes, Floridians, 2 weeks just to mail out information, not money. Charlie Crist does the right thing and his leaders underneath him could give a shit.

  • Kristy41 07/23/2010 10:38am

    Just wondering if anyone knew anything about Alabama. Can’t get through on phone and they haven’t changed their website. Thanks for any information.

  • mom2304 07/23/2010 10:59am

    Is there anyone that has any information on Louisiana? Still no change to website, can’t get through on phone ( it automatically says they can’t take your call just like it has for the past 3 weeks), and I’m starting to come all undone over here! ARGH!

  • taxthis 07/23/2010 11:05am

    My county, Hernando, in Florida is 15% unemployed, yet Rep. Ginny Brown Waite house of representatives still voted no to extend benefits even though the senate aproved it with 60 votes. I pray to God that she loses this seat in november. There were many republicans in the house that voted yes after the bill left the senate. I just can not understand why any representative would vote no on this issue. This was not some special project issue. This was a human welfare issue in an unprecedented time in our nations financial downfall caused by greed, wealthy real estate investors and outright theft and corruption. Shame on her. It is people like her that leads me to the thought that we in Florida will have to wait quite a long time to receive any money from this emergency extension. Shame on her….

  • gerryd 07/23/2010 11:21am

    WE ALL HAVE TO SIGN THAT PETITION FOR THE 99ERS AND ALL OF US AFTERWARDS. ALSO, I JUST HEARD THAT SENATOR KERRY IS SAVING $500,000 IN TAXES BY DOCKING HIS $7 MILLION DOLLAR YACHT IN RHODE ISLAND INSTEAD OF MASS. GOD IT MUST BE NICE!! WHETHER REPUBLICANS OR DEMOCRATS, THEY ARE ALL ABOUT POWER, MONEY, GREEN AND PRESTIGE!!!! JUST REMEMBER NOVEMBER – NO INCUMBENTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Comm_reply
    artledoux 07/23/2010 2:29pm

    Does this have anything to do with how he voted for UE extension? I guess if
    you can save money for your self you don’t, but for what reason?
    There are a number of Congressman who get small farm subsidy payments each
    year, I hear for some of them it comes out to over $700,000! I’ll dig up
    those names if you want.
    Art LeDoux

  • Comm_reply
    artledoux 07/23/2010 3:18pm

    There is more to the story of John Kerrys yacht
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/07/23/john-kerry-saves-500000-b_n_656985.html
    It’s not quite like the original poster made it sound.

  • johnhunt70 07/23/2010 11:45am

    QUESTION?? I LIVE IN OHIO AND BEEN PAID FOR 81 WEEKS. AM I ENTITLED TO THE REMAINING 18 WEEKS UNTIL I REACH THE 99 TOTAL WEEKS?

  • sugarbearakarachel 07/23/2010 12:10pm

    Johnhunt70 I am from ohio and was on the state eb also when it cut off I called them today and I will finish it out because had the balance so from what I can tell if u had it before they cut it off u get it

  • Comm_reply
    johnhunt70 07/23/2010 2:30pm

    Weekly Benefit Amount $169.00 Overpayment Principle Balance $0.00
    Total Benefits Payable $2704.00 Overpayment Interest Balance $0.00
    Remaining Balance $0.00

    so i guess cause i dont have a remaining balance i dont get any retro checks? is this the case?

  • Comm_reply
    tiamo4ever 07/24/2010 2:55am

    Johnhunt: everyone has a remaining balance of 0 (zero), thats because it ceased on June 5- you will get the remaining balance once you have re-filed for all weeks unpaid. I’m from Ohio and i spent the better of the day Friday on the phone trying to get through, once i did, i made sure i was filed up to date, and had all my questions answered i was confused about. In short i will get a check for 6 weeks (all at once) then i file bi-weekly for the rest of the period.

  • Comm_reply
    shannonhill 07/24/2010 8:14am

    trynghard63,I too am from Alabama.I read somewhere I think the Montgomery news that it will be approximately 7-10 days.I will look for the link and post.It does seem like they should be able to process the checks quicker.I mean the same number of people were getting unemployment before it stopped in June.I continued to file the entire time we weren’t getting anything.I guess instead of complaining that it takes so long I should just be thanking God we will eventually get something.Won’t be long we will be among the 99ers unless alot of job offers appear.

  • Comm_reply
    shannonhill 07/24/2010 8:26am

    Look on al.com for the following headline
    State estimates 37,000 people in Alabama will benefit from federal extension of unemployment benefits

  • wes00 07/23/2010 12:17pm

    Im a NEW YORKER and I must say that I really happy to see how fast our labor department is working. They have already released the lump sum for the back weeks owed to us at midnight this morning and it should be in our accounts early Monday morning. BUT I still read these stories and I am saddened by them..there is still so much more work to be done. Florida especially and the 99ers that have no extensions…and soon enough, me being at 82 weeks, will soon join them. but my prayers go out to you guys and like i said before the battle is not over just because we got this small win..there is a war to be fought and WON! GOD BLESS

  • ExGOP 07/23/2010 12:46pm

    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 10,000+ SIGNATURES TO REACH THE 50,000 GOAL.

  • buddyg1 07/23/2010 1:27pm

    Latest for California:

    http://wwwedd.cahwnet.gov/Unemployment/Federal_Unemployment_Insurance_Extensions.htm

  • cody111 07/23/2010 2:45pm

    My Tier II benefits ran out a week or so after June 2. That is about 7 weeks ago. So I think we will get 7 the weeks of benefits in a lump soon, but does that mean we would get only 6 more weeks of payments, so the last payments would be around first week of Sepember (approx), or 13 more weeks of payments from now?

  • Comm_reply
    ExGOP 07/23/2010 5:53pm

    It depends on your States unemployment rate. What State are you in?

  • Comm_reply
    cody111 07/23/2010 6:04pm

    I know OK doesnt get the extra 6 weeks, but my question is does the first 13 weeks actually start in June 2, so I would only have like 6 months of payments left. Or do I get 13 more weeks of payments from now. Thanks

  • Comm_reply
    ExGOP 07/23/2010 6:38pm

    Wishful thinking cody111 …

    The 7 weeks of retroactive payments is deducted from your 13 weeks. Thus, you have approximately 6 weeks left on Tier 3 and Tier 4.

  • artledoux 07/23/2010 3:51pm

    I ran across this while doing a search. It is from October 23, 2009. I find
    it interesting that what is being played out on the Unemployed is like a
    broken record, only each time it’s played it get worse for more and more
    people. We can not forget what has been taking place over the last few years.
    http://www.progressillinois.com/2009/10/21/durbin-unemployment-speech
    Art leDoux

  • indimom2010 07/23/2010 3:52pm

    To johnhunt70 They should put funds in so you can file your claim, I know in Indiana they are saying up to 2 weeks before they will update. I was at the end of the second tier and ready to go to tier 3 mine also says $0 to claim for now but this should be change when they update the system, and be able to file and get the retro pay. Hope this helps you.

  • trynghard63 07/23/2010 4:37pm

    Has anyone heard anything on Alabama? I am unable to find out anything.

  • Comm_reply
    shannonhill 07/26/2010 12:13am

    Sorry, I am not very familiar with all of this and responded back to the wrong person.
    trynghard63,I too am from Alabama.I read somewhere I think the Montgomery news that it will be approximately 7-10 days.I will look for the link and post.It does seem like they should be able to process the checks quicker.I mean the same number of people were getting unemployment before it stopped in June.I continued to file the entire time we weren’t getting anything.I guess instead of complaining that it takes so long I should just be thanking God we will eventually get something.Won’t be long we will be among the 99ers unless alot of job offers appear

  • skrapper 07/23/2010 5:13pm

    I’m really glad that allot of you will get you unemployment until November. At least it’s something. Then soon you will become 99ers to. That sucks!
    Please Pick up your phones and dial 211. That’s The United Way for all of us that are now the NEW POOR! They no what shape were in. They can help you possibly with you Mortgage even, so you don’t loose your house like we did.
    The St. Vincent De Paul in your area can help with your shut off notices for up to 1 year. On the Internet The Angel Food Ministries are available to everyone.
    You pay $30.00 for food, and get $60.00 worth of food. You can look at them on line and see their menu every month. If you have info to share to help each other please do, the politicians won’t help. Remember this when you vote.

Due to the archiving of this blog, comment posting has been disabled.