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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.

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.

ExGOP 07/23/2010 9:07pm
in reply to ExGOP Jul 23, 2010 9:03pm

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

The democrats pacified the unemployed until after the election.

seanurse 07/23/2010 6:36am
in reply to ExGOP Jul 23, 2010 6:18am

go to www.kickthemallout.com

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 8:00am

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.

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.
mom2304 07/24/2010 5:43am
in reply to ExGOP Jul 24, 2010 5:18am

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

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.

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!

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

seanurse 07/23/2010 7:10am
in reply to txgalnokc Jul 23, 2010 6:49am

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.

brokeflgirl333 07/23/2010 5:39am

We need to do something!!!

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

txgalnokc 07/23/2010 3:19pm
in reply to saturnsc2 Jul 23, 2010 10:10am

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!

buddyg1 07/23/2010 1:27pm

Latest for California:

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

understanding 07/23/2010 5:36am
in reply to brokeflgirl333 Jul 23, 2010 5:27am

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.

txgalnokc 07/23/2010 3:07pm
in reply to seanurse Jul 23, 2010 7:10am

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!

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.

bunibuni1964 07/23/2010 10:36am

What about us 99ers?

brokeflgirl333 07/23/2010 7:00am

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

Here is the press release that I have

artledoux 07/23/2010 3:18pm
in reply to artledoux Jul 23, 2010 2:29pm

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.

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

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 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……

shannwil 07/23/2010 4:58am

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

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.

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

ExGOP 07/23/2010 6:54am
in reply to rayinman Jul 23, 2010 6:26am

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

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.

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

eavina30 07/23/2010 10:11am

In November we will Remember, Tier 5

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