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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 151-180 of 215 total comments.

  • Kerlynne 07/24/2010 2:29pm

    FELLOW UNEMPLOYED>>> We may have gotten a reprieve with with this extension bill being signed BUT we are no where near being better off. DON’T FORGET WE LOST $100 A MONTH and those that were using Cobra totally are out of luck now with any kind of health care. We are in a unique poistion because we know what is coming (providing Korea doesn’t blow us up now)in November. We need to stop bickering amongst ourselves and work with what we have to get jobs, get health care and avoid living in a park or a tent city. Peraonally I am scared to death that this bill is more of a death sentence than one that is really going to help us.

  • Reader12 07/24/2010 2:38pm

    ACTION =
    we need to start finding and throwing our public support behind the bills in Congress ourselves that help create jobs and job security, and keep jobs here in America- and fighting against the ones that don’t!

  • Reader12 07/24/2010 2:56pm

    I personally think first and foremost that every worker at a company, whether hired as and called a “contractor”, “temporary”, “seasonal”, “Visa”, or “troll”, should be identified as an EMPLOYEE by the Federal Government and held accountable by law in that regard. If you draw a paycheck and work regular hours at an establishment, you should be considered an employee of that company in the eyes of the government, PERIOD.
    The current labor laws are a joke because hardly anyone qualifies as an ‘employee’ anymore. American workers need to have some measure of the rights and security they used to have or there will be no consumer confidence—— which leads to no sales, no profits, and more layoffs. Its corporate greed doing itself in- and we are the casualties.

  • taxthis 07/25/2010 8:00am

    Hello, Does anyone know how long Florida will take to begin their unemployment benefits again. Give me the job for at least one minute and I would post a message to give people some insight on the process. They have not done absolutely anything to their site. ( F.L.U.I.D.) At least take off the $25.00 a week fed. stimulus. I truly hate their lack of ability to do the right thing. Every day that thet stall on this just puts the money back to some bank because of late charges, or credit card company that charges outrageous fees…Hang in their fellow Floridians…Don’t forget to vote in NOVEMBER.

  • taxthis 07/25/2010 8:10am

    I think the phrase for the person in charge of Florida unemployment is “Screw you, We don’t have to.”

  • taxthis 07/25/2010 8:26am

    Oh yeah,and forgive me for being so cynical. On voting. The last election in 2008. I worked for a company that employed approx. 50 people. Two people voted. Myself and the plant manager. Good Luck, America!

  • taxthis 07/25/2010 8:41am

    The best thing that I could do right now, and I am probably not alone on this, is to play their system. #1. Divorce my wife of 28 years. This would allow me to qualify for welfare,food stamps,etc.#2 Then I could claim bankrupty without hurting her and the house.#3 I would then qualify to use my VA benifits for the VA hospital ( They took that away around 2004) unless your disability or problems were service connected.)#4 Go live in a box and send the benefits home to my family… God Bless America….

  • taxthis 07/25/2010 9:17am

    True story. I applied for a job through the state of florida unemployment office about a month ago. The job was for a maintenance position for a housing project in Florida. My experience to do the job was very well qualified. The job paid $15.00 p/h. It was under the fed. stim. program. BTW (back to work) The qualif. for this program are…1. unemployed 2. child under 18. 3. 200% below poverty level (?). I did not qualify because of #3., because my wife works. The lady told me if I divorced my wife I would qualify. I hung up….

  • Sannybeth 07/25/2010 10:31am

    When all of you unemployed receive your back pay, buy what you can from others in the same boat. I plan on trying to the best of my ability to not let my money go back into the pockets of the already rich and greedy.

  • Comm_reply
    taxthis 07/25/2010 11:05am

    Bravo!! What a great thought.

  • taxthis 07/25/2010 10:41am

    Forgive me for venting my frustrations out on this blog. I will read How to use Open Congress under resourses at the top of this page to better imform myself about blogging. The only thing I know about blogging is the candy bar commercial where the guy is trying to pick up the chick and she said " Oh, I love blogging. " And then he has that stupid guy smile. ha ha ha It kills me… Ok, I will continue to fight for the rights of good,honest,caring,uncalculating(where did that come from),and decent human beings until forever. Where do we go from here? Just a thought, but I think that unemployed people should be allowed to pick up cash jobs without deducting from unemployment with certain restrictions attached,for example, maybe $100 a week, $200.00 a week?? Do you really think that would hurt the economy? Wouldn’t it be wiser to reward a person or slap a 3rd degree felony for stealing from the gov? Raise the weekly limit!!!

  • NoBodyFaultButMine 07/25/2010 5:45pm
    Link Reply
    + -3

    I can’t resist this one …

    So your opinion only counts ExGOP. It sounds like you been tea bagged to many times.

  • Comm_reply
    ExGOP 07/25/2010 6:21pm

    I can’t resist this one … aka NoBody aka KISS aka Big

    Stop infringing your Corporation owned Republican opinions on the rest of us.

    Last word freak.

    P.S. Learn how to write. It’s “too” not “to”.

  • AlmostHomeless 07/25/2010 6:38pm

    For those of you in Pennsylvania: I found this interesting bit of information on the UI website ( “Individuals who established claims before June 5 will continue to receive the FAC payment only for the duration of their current benefits program — UC, EUC or EB.” This is in reference to the additional $25/wk. This sounds like they’re saying the $25 is still in place for those of us who still have a EUC claim, but had exausted a tier while waiting for for the extension to be approved. That can’t be right, can it?

    Also, it showed that a payment had already been sent to my bank yesterday! It was only for two weeks, but that’s enough for rent and a few necessities. Whew!

  • NoBodyFaultButMine 07/25/2010 6:57pm
    Link Reply
    + -4

    I can’t resist this one … aka ExGOP “Dick” Cheney Lover

    My intention was not to turn you on weirdo

    PS. Call me

  • NoBodyFaultButMine 07/25/2010 6:57pm
    Link Reply
    + -3

    I can’t resist this one … aka ExGOP “Dick” Cheney Lover

    My intention was not to turn you on weirdo

    PS. Call me

  • Comm_reply
    ExGOP 07/25/2010 7:02pm

    You wish … dream on dumb ass.

  • Comm_reply
    ExGOP 07/25/2010 8:06pm

    So you admit using different aliases. Not too bright, are you?

    We’re not stupid, STUPID. Your desperate attempts to inflict your own Republican views will not change the minds of the unemployed. We will remember November.

    P.S. Get a life pervert, and get off on a different blog.

    P.S.S. If you really want to be a Republican you should learn how to write, and not be so obvious with your cons. You’re not sly enough for the GOP, but I’m sure the Tea Party will take you in.

  • NoBodyFaultButMine 07/25/2010 7:15pm
    Link Reply
    + -2

    OK, be that way. I’m a “Bush” lover anyway not a “Dick” Cheney lover.

  • bigbufordsdad 07/25/2010 7:53pm
    Link Reply
    + -2

    hahaha that was funny.
    ExGOP: Im sorry you are so up tight that you feel that my defense of anothers opinion seems to have you think that we are the same person. and you also missed my point completely. i wont bother explaining it however, as it really wont matter. you know what is right for all of us and i will be looking for you on the ballot in november 2112.

  • bigbufordsdad 07/25/2010 8:10pm
    Link Reply
    + -2

    make that 2012, my mistake

  • NoBodyFaultButMine 07/25/2010 8:59pm
    Link Reply
    + -2

    Thank God you caught that mistake before ExGOP did. Correcting our typos is all he’s good for. ExGOP: I’m here at your Glenn “Beck” in call.

  • KathyPepper 07/25/2010 11:29pm

    Wow great…I hope its a good start for everyone.

  • tiamo4ever 07/26/2010 1:57am
    I worked for the same company for 29 years, laid off December 2008….. Does anyone know the percentage (%) deduction for unemployment that comes out of our checks ?
  • Comm_reply
    artledoux 07/27/2010 5:20am

    Are you referring to the tax taken out of your unemployment check?
    In Illinois if you choose to have it taken out I believe it’s 10%
    if you are talking about your paycheck when you work, I think they
    don’t take it out of your check. It is a benefit paid by your employer.
    For the years you did not collect the money went back to the employer.
    Art LeDoux

  • brokeflgirl333 07/26/2010 3:41am

    Anyone know how long the wait is for Florida??

  • Comm_reply
    memo 07/26/2010 4:27am

    I just got done talking to unemployment for Fl. They said it would take about 2 to 2 1/2 weeks to have everything set up they would be mailing out letters about our eu They didn’t say what we had to do They said we had to wait for letter. Because they didn.t know. Hope this helps. Its just more waiting with no answer. But we will get it

  • Comm_reply
    brokeflgirl333 07/26/2010 5:19am

    Thanks for the update

  • sruthj217 07/26/2010 7:11am

    Has anyone heard any information on Illinois?
    I dialed in TeleServ today and it said nothing had been processed yet.

  • Comm_reply
    sruthj217 07/26/2010 8:06am

    I haven’t been able to get through to IDES all day. They are either swamped with calls or their phones are off the hook.

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