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Unemployment Benefits Info By and For the Unemployed

December 9, 2010 - by Conor Kenny

The unemployed of the “Great Recession” are organizing online at OpenCongress to share resources, support and document what Congress is doing to extend (or not) unemployment benefits.

Here’s the state of things in Congress: President Obama and congressional Republicans struck a deal a few days ago that would prolong the current regime of extended unemployment benefits – which last for different lengths for different states, depending on how bad the recession is there – until January 2012. States with the worst unemployment rate would still have a maximum of 99 weeks of unemployment benefits, but the compromise would allow those who have become unemployed in the last 99 weeks to continue receiving unemployment benefits until their time expires. No additional benefits were added; it merely maintained the stimulus-level unemployment benefits until 2012. The extended unemployment benefits were due to expire December 11, 2010. The compromise package also contained a number of tax cuts: a two-year extension of the Bush tax cuts, a two-year estate tax cut, a two-year temporary cut in the payroll tax rate, equipment-purchase write-offs for businesses and various small-bore tax credits from the stimulus bill. (See this OC blog post for more).

On Thursday, however, Democrats in the House voted to reject the compromise package that contained the unemployment extensions, expressing dissatisfaction for tax cuts for those making over $250,000 and the estate tax cut. With the extended benefits regime due to expire on December 11th, it is unclear what action Congress will take, if any.

Where does that leave the unemployed? Well, the “99’ers” in the hardest-hit states are starting to run out of benefits and those unemployed more recently aren’t going to get the extended benefits in the first place. They are, however, trying to help each other here on OpenCongress. The comment threads of the unemployment bills, like the “Americans Want to Work Act” have become de-facto unemployment chat rooms. They’ve also created the BenefitWiki project on the OC Wiki to compile resources for the unemployed, keep track of legislation and keep up on the different tiers of unemployment eligibility in different states.

Check it out: Project:BenefitWiki

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Comments

  • lillvfamily 12/09/2010 8:19pm

    Just to fill you in a 99er hass already lost benefits a long time ago. Many have been without benefitss for months now.. We need a new tier added

  • nardaopencongress 12/10/2010 2:07am

    please Im kind of lost, do they extend one more week the EB benefits?, last week they said benefits ended December 4,2010 now says December 11,2010, can any one help, Im receiving one more week of EB ? That will help me a lot, because my last check (Dec 5) is gone with all my payments, Im expecting they think on us 99ers, I know there s people waiting since June, but to me the nightmare just began, So again the Congress extended one more week the EB ? am I getting paid one more week ? my next payment request is December 19,2010.

  • Comm_reply
    poolplayer 12/10/2010 4:17am

    You know the EB is the $25 extra they have been sending,don’t you? They do expire on Dec. 11.As far as your regular extended benefits,usually,you get to finish up your tier unless it was just started.Call your state’s unemployment office for I’m sure it varies from state to state.

  • Comm_reply
    JesusGodAlmighty 12/10/2010 8:16am

    NO!!!!!!!! the EB program is NOT the $25 extra! the $25 extra sent each week in addition to your regular unemployment amount is the Federal Unemployment Stimulus which is no longer in effect for anyone starting a new enemployment claim after the EUC were extended in July. if you were unemployed prior to the July extension, then you will continue to receive the $25 stimulus until you are no longer eligible to receive unemployment compensation. the EB program (Extended Benefits Program) provides up to 20 weeks of unemployment compensation (depending on state unemployment rate) provided you have exhausted all tier levels under the EUC tiers. the EB program ended on Dec 11th. as far as i know, you will receive all weeks you are entitled to under whatever level you are currently under but you will not advance to the next level unless Congress votes to extend the deadline. JESUS GOD ALMIGHTY

  • Comm_reply
    JesusGodAlmighty 12/10/2010 8:22am

    ps. i am a tier 1 level guy. my tier 1 benefits run out on my birthday, jan 2 2011. i will not advance to tier 2 nor the EB program. unless of course, Congress stops being so f’n stupid and just vote to extend the benefits. if the republicans want the extension paid for, then use money not allocated in other areas like the Make Home Affordable Program. THAT PROGRAM SUCKS! i was not approved because under the guidelines of the program my new mortgage rate would be $692 (from $2096). freddie mac, my investor, declined me because with that new payment, there is excessive forebearance. this program only helps houses that have balances of aprroximately $130K. THANKS OBAMA! you would think they would make it worthwhile. JESUS GOD ALMIGHTY

  • nardaopencongress 12/10/2010 2:12am

    God, you know our needs, please help those on the Congress to make the right decision on us, It is Christmas time, may be we have good health thank God,
    that should be enough, but how about our children, they do not know about the Congress decicions, they expect at least a small toy, at least the EB should be extended until the end 2010, why cut it before, please add at least to the end of 2010 or better 20 more weeks, please help us God.

  • nardaopencongress 12/10/2010 2:16am

    Mr President,
    Does, Mali and Natash already tell you what do they want for Christmas ?
    My daughters too… I know how you feel to be able to buy them what they want,
    thank God for that, please help with my girls small toys, do your best to help us
    the 99ers, at least some more weeks.

  • tmc732 12/10/2010 4:14am

    i hate begging but i am a 99er and have been with out income for 2 months and on the verge of losing everything! PLEASE DONT FORGET ABOUT US CONGRESS! whether it be money or jobs ….i need something! i would love to find a job and put a happy ending to this stressful year i am depressed and tired i have never had a problem finding a job! and the picture above of the man holding the sign…i see his pain but most of all i FEEL it!

  • poolplayer 12/10/2010 4:36am

    It’s really sad that the unemployed are hostages.It’s sadder when both parties can’t agree to get this done.First the GOP and their tax cuts.Obama tries to cut a deal(and does),and now the Dems think it’s too much and won’t vote for it.Because the talks between Obama talked with the GOP without them? They say it’s because it’s too much to give? They didn’t look at what Obama got in return.It was a fair deal and only temporary.Just remember to vote Dem election time.Cause if you don’t,it’s gonna get worse with the GOP in power.Remember, the GOP favors the rich and not for average people.So Please,don’t be a follower!Don’t follow something like the “Tea Party”(blech!!!) just because it sounds like it’s a good thing.Tea Party just told the press that they only want property owners to be the only ones allowed to vote!How many college students you know own property?

  • Ktula7 12/10/2010 10:03am

    I have 2 weeks left and I will become a 99er. The Republicans want us to fade out, thus making it look like the unemployment levels have dropped. Which in actuality, WE were just dropped, and won’t show up on the unemployment radar. I apply to jobs faithfully, weekly, even applying for jobs that I am way overqualified for. Een they aren’t calling me back. We need an additional tier added to our unemployment benefits or we will simply not make it. Once we aren’t receiving our benefits anymore, the Department of Unemployment won’t have us on unemployment anymore, therefore dropping the unemployment levels. This is a lie and they are higher than stated since there are so many 99ers out there. Keep us on the record and the unemployment rate skyrockets!! Keep fighting folks!! This isn’t over yet!

  • MADinNJ 12/10/2010 10:27am

    Exhaustees numbering in the millions will only grow. This tax cut deal which heavily favors the wealthy, no surprise, will not create jobs but will increase the deficit. An increased deficit will only give more power to those who want to cut all social programs. This Bush tax cut proposal needs to be voted down. Then the House, Senate and President can come up with a fresh plan on how to stimulate job growth and help the unemployed. Continuing the failed Bush policies will get us nowhere.

  • CuttieBiteMe 12/11/2010 6:25pm

    Wow, a 5th tier is the only hope soooo many of us have. I have been without benefits for 2 months..was lucky enough to get a seasonal warehouse job for Amazon.com, but there still will be NO Christmas here in Reno, NV. Every dollar i am earning has to go to rent, power, gas…and it still may not be enough! I’m thankful that my kids are older and know the situation, but it still SUCKS, to not have a tree, or presents or stockings! When will they realize that the recession is over ONLY IF YOU HAVE A JOB!! I have put in 342 job applications (separate e-mail folder) in the last 3 months and have gotten TWO interviews…TWO. Please let these people do the RIGHT THING FOR ONCE IN THEIR PRIVILEGED LIVES!! WE THE PEOPLE don’t make 200,000 a year and get to drive home to our nice big houses in our Mercedes, Lexus’s or BMW’S!!!

  • malishammm 12/14/2010 5:44am

    IT DOES NOT MAKE ANY SENSE TO HAVE 13 MONTHS OF UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS FOR STATES THAT HAVE UNEMPLOYMENT RATES LIKE 2.8, THATS ENCOURAGING PEOPLE NOT TO GET A JOB. IT MAKE SENSE TO PROVIDE BENEFITS WITH THE HIGH RATES AND MAKE A DECISION FROM THERE.IF THE ECONOMY HAS NOT BEEN ABLE TO PRODUCE JOBS IT SHOULD NOT MATTER HOW MANY MONTHS YOU HAVE BEEN ON THE BENEFITS.CONGRESS SHOULD BE SAYING WE HAVE TO FIX THOSE AREAS FIRST, WITH GETTING THE JOBLESS PROBLEM SOLVED WITH THE HIGHEST UNEMPLOYMENT RATES FIRST, SO U DONT HAVE 99ERS. CAN YOU PRIORITZE THE STATES WITH THE HIGHEST UNEMPLOYMENT RATES FIRST? YOU ARE GIVING BENEFITS TO PEOPLE WHO HAVE ACCESS TO JOBS, THAT SENSELESS.

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