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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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Displaying 181-210 of 215 total comments.

  • Comm_reply
    seanurse 07/27/2010 8:40am

    any one calling ides in illinois. they only have one person to answer calls. i know your saying what? yep i was in office and asked for a job to help her answer calls but state can only afford to pay one person was her answer. you would think it ony takes a finger to push abutton and release our money. but noooooooooooooooooo. suffer and stress out some more. just remember november!!

  • txgalnokc 07/26/2010 7:24am

    I know on Friday a lot of us wanted to know whether or not the extra $25 would only apply to the back pay and/or future payments. I’m happy to inform you that it applies to both. I received the back payment on Friday, as well as the regular weekly payment today (which was just deposited).

  • Comm_reply
    sruthj217 07/27/2010 10:33am

    I’ve been trying to get through since Friday and all I get is a busy signal.

  • Comm_reply
    sruthj217 07/27/2010 10:34am

    I was replying to seanurse, not sure why it put my comment under txgalnokc.

  • Comm_reply
    sruthj217 07/27/2010 10:36am

    Forget about a State of Illinois job by the way. I’ve been applying for 10 years, A grades all the way through and never been called.
    Illinois state jobs are given out, not made.

  • brokeflgirl333 07/27/2010 3:24am

    Any new updates from Florida?

  • msharrell 07/27/2010 5:32am

    Hi, I am from PA and I just checked my account online and saw that two weeks worth of pay were sent to my bank account. I thought we were getting lump sum retro pay? Not to sound greedy, but anyone know when I should expect to the the other three weeks I claimed? I am happy to get two weeks but I have bills that were late two weeks ago..I have a long list of bills that are late that need to be paid and two weeks does not cover much. If anyone knows, please let me know. I called the office and arranged for a call back, so who knows when they will call me back. Any info would be great. Thanks!

  • vomaia 07/27/2010 8:11am

    Has anyone from the state of IL actually received retroactive payments? When I called the central office, not the local, they’re completely useless, the individual I spoke to stated that they were just dealing with people who got cut off in May at the moment; she could not give any definitive answer as to when they’d be dealing with people like myself who got cutoff the week of June 5th. Just stated that I shouldn’t count on seeing any payout this week or next.

  • Comm_reply
    seanurse 07/27/2010 8:32am

    no payments yet. the ides site states they will pay them out as soon as possible. what the hell that means i have no clue , but my landlord thinks i can just shit out money to her now that it has been made law. i wish someone in illinois would give some dates out so we can tell our bill collectors and landlords. just more f—— stress. I want our money yesterday!!!! i have no patients left.

  • Comm_reply
    seanurse 07/27/2010 10:14am

    dear vomaia and anyone else from illinois. i just called the teleserve number and went to check my balance left for my eb. it went down and also my payments made verified it as a lump sum for the three back pay periods I was out of. so not on my card as of now but hoping it will be there tomorrow in am by 7:30. keep our hopes going at least its movement. god bless everyone and check with teleserve and see if your claim was processed.

  • Comm_reply
    sruthj217 07/27/2010 10:49am

    seanurse- I have literally $4.00 left for all bills and food and a house payment due next week. I ate instant mashed potatoes and water yesterday and the other packet is my meal for today. Aldis is out of the question.
    I did finally get two interviews this month- one already lost and another I’ve been waiting on for about 3 weeks now no word. Nervous as h* about this.

    Looks like conflicting news on IDES my payment wasn’t processed today although I did get a letter from them yesterday saying they were waiting on a ruling from Congress…….I can only assume the computer kicked that out late.

  • Comm_reply
    seanurse 07/27/2010 11:25am

    no not on line. go call teleserve at i-888-337-7234 and follow promts to chech balance of funds and check payouts. if lower than they were you will get money hopefully on your card tom in am. but ides site hasn’t changed since day 1 july 23, so forget that. check on teleserve daily for changes in your benefit amount. thanks and good luck.

  • Comm_reply
    vomaia 07/28/2010 5:47am

    Seanurse, thanks so much for posting your results. I did as you suggested, called the teleserve 888 number this morning and lo and behold, the amount in my EB account was less the and the auto message stated that payments were processed yesterday, the 27th, for the previous 2 weeks. But, judging by the deductions in the account, all retroactive payments were processed. I have the payments going into a checking account so it normally takes an additional 24 hours. I’ve got my fingers crossed that this all goes through. I’ve learned not to count on anything.

  • brokeflgirl333 07/27/2010 9:23am

    I’m tired of playing this stupid waiting game here in FL! All of this stress is killing me slowly…I’m sooooo sick and tired of being stressed and depressed over money.

  • downandout 07/27/2010 10:14am

    Does anyone have any information about Texas? The website says all checks should be received by August 4. I wonder if you have direct deposit or the debit card if it should be sooner? Called TWC and they do not seem to know,

  • LATONYAINGEORGIA 07/27/2010 2:21pm

    HI! May I get a reponse to my question….some of you know so much whereas I am confused…I reside in Georgia and I have been on unemployment since Jan ’09. So this month marks a one year and six months.. so its between 78 to 81 weeks give or take.. do I keep claiming until I reach my 99 weeks even though I have only 4 weeks left in my EB state extended benefits which is the last possible extension? Nobody tells you anything when you call the center and stay on hold for 45 minutes. Thanks for the feedback and good luck to everyone. It is rough right now but God will see us through:)

  • Brooklyyn 07/28/2010 1:35am

    Brooklyyn says:
    July 27, 2010 at 10:06 p.m.
    Hi everyone! I just logged onto Alabama’s DOL Website to check the status of my account & it actually said PAID on ALL of my weeks I’ve claimed since June 5th! The “date issued” reflects 7/28 so it hasn’t hit my bank account yet but surely will on Thursday. Normally, the money is there a day after the payment is issued. When I called the U-Office on Monday the lady I talked to said I should be receiving my benefits in a week or two. Even after hearing that, I didn’t give up hope. Maybe everyone’s state is giving a general message so they can work around the clock to get the money to you faster than you anticipated. Please stay strong & have hope. I am so thankful but I will remember in November! I thought sharing this would encourage everyone. Don’t listen to what they say at the Unemployment Offices. Most of them really don’t know anything. I will be praying that everyone receives their money at Godspeed! Peace & love to all.-Brooke:-)

  • Comm_reply
    understanding 07/28/2010 4:43am

    Brooklyn, I am tired of being this stressed.

    The DC website is a practice in uselessness. Last night it was under maintenance, so I was hopeful that they would have more useful information than a vague note about the passing of the bill and to have people continue to report weekly. No, the message went back to the message prior to the bill passing.

    Before they had changed it back to the old message, they said they would contact by phone and/or email with instructions. The instructions in the email I had received, was also vague and not very helpful.

    I don’t know if I should be encouraged or scared.

  • Comm_reply
    understanding 07/28/2010 5:59am

    For those in the DC area, I called one of the DC offices again and was told that the retro benefits monies will be released on August 3rd. I hope this is true. Not happy that this comes after the 1st of the month. Oh well! At least it is something.

    I am happy for those who have received their much deserved benefits. I hope all will get theirs quickly. And lots of hope and much needed funds to the 99ers.

  • Minpingang 07/28/2010 4:27am

    Does anyone have any news regarding Illinois. I just certified Tuesday and will be moving into the third tier. Don’t know when monies will be deposited because IDES says they have no word on that as of yet. Has anyone else maybe heard of something that I do not know as of yet. I need this money really bad and you would think they would start releasing it.

  • seanurse 07/28/2010 4:28am


  • Comm_reply
    Minpingang 07/28/2010 5:01am

    Thank you Seanurse we are on our way to check and see if our funds are available if not maybe they will be there this week sometime. Everyone please pray for the 99ers that they get their extensions they need so badly.

  • Comm_reply
    ngomez304 07/28/2010 9:27am

    Hello Minpingang, any chance were your funds available? I am in a similar situation as yours living in IL. Call date was July 13th certifiying for weeks ending 7/3 and 7/10. Got paid on the 15th of July but only for one week as my Tier II had exhausted week ending 7/3 and due the bill not being passed yet, I could not graduate to the next Tier which would be Tier 3. Just certified on Tuesday, July 27 and today I called Teleserve to check payment status and it says no payment has been processed, you might possibly be receiving an ineligibility letter in the mail. If you don’t receieve this letter by August 2nd please contact your local office. When I choose the balance option on Teleserve it says you have exhausted all your benefits.

  • Comm_reply
    seanurse 08/01/2010 11:01am

    ok here goes. everytime you finish a tier or the first 26 weeks you receive a letter telling you that your next tier is whatever. It also tells you how much money is deposited on your teleserve balance. the money that you have earned in your months to quailify for unemployment. I was at the unemployment office everytime i moved to a new tier. my social worker at the unemployment office would look mine up and put it through right then and there. otherwise as she stated they had abacklog of elgibilities to put through and i would be buried in a stack of weeks of back up filers. go there be nice and really get to know the woman or men working there. then request them everytime you go back. you got to play nice to get nice done. good luck.

  • Comm_reply
    ngomez304 07/28/2010 9:27am

    Went to unemployment today and they told me that I need to wait for the letter. I don’t mind waiting for the letter if the letter is a positive letter saying I am going into Tier 3 but this waiting and getting no answers isn’t very soothing. Patience runs out when you have many financial obligations. If anyone has any information that can shed some light, I would greatly appreciate it.

  • Comm_reply
    slotsgrl42 07/28/2010 6:27pm

    i’m happy you got yours i’m from il to but tell me when did yours run out cause they owe me from june 2nd and i have not recieved no letters in the mail no money in the bank i call and they are rude and this will only be my first extension
    i just ran out of my first 26 wks are they processing those that ran out first or by SS # or how any answers would be nice i call and i get could be weeks we have no answers and they hang up so rude.
    Thank You

  • Comm_reply
    seanurse 08/01/2010 11:09am

    well slotsgrl42 i had abalance still on my teleserve.sight. i was in the first 2 weeks of eb when they stopped paying in june 5. so i got all happy that i qualified for eb and then they cut us off no warning. I also heard that if you have their debit card you get it faster than with a bank account. so if your account was empty then your waiting on a new qualification to a new tier , could be weeks. go there and be niceeeee to someone you can click with and try to go to the same person each time. you can request the employees to. good luck . i hope this helps a little. but also if they credit your teleserve balance you will no the results quicker than a letter from them so keep checking your balance everyday.

  • Chris51 07/28/2010 8:43am

    Where are the unemployed, and the overworked Americans who have had to take pay reductions, take leave without pay, take reduced work hours, take reduced medical insurance coverage, and DO A LOT MORE WORK, WITH LESS?

    These Voters/Americans, need to know up front where the money is coming from for campaign Ads, so they are less likely to be deceived in November’s election.

    The DISCLOSE ACT is a very important step toward fixing our government.
    It is too easy for politicians to run sensationalized campaign Ads, and twist the truth. The top 1- 3% wealthy individuals, Special Interest Groups, and corrupt politicians know very well that by providing some of this information on their Ads.

    The Republicans filibuster again (Definition of Filibuster: the use of extreme dilatory tactics in an attempt to delay or prevent action especially in a legislative assembly.) The GOP/Repubs. know that the DISCLOSE ACT would make them TRANSPARENT.

  • sclark113 07/29/2010 3:21am

    Many of the writers @ are working hard to keep the need for Tier V extensions in the limelight. Unemployment for many is going to get worse before it gets better with the anemic job growth that is currently underway. A massive influx of new jobs is the only real cure for this dilemma.

  • aghandshu 07/29/2010 3:02pm

    Tennessee has failed once again to update resources making it impossible to file my weekly claim or to access my account info. Once again manipulating funds to serve their party needs.
    Commissioner Neeley is still dragging his knuckles against the pavement unable to stand in an upright position of competence.

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