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.


Displaying 91-120 of 215 total comments.

kkrontz 07/23/2010 8:01am

Again, whether or not the state legislature takes action does NOT impact Floridians’ ability to collect the up-to-26 weeks of state unemployment compensation benefits, or the up-to-53 weeks of EUC to which they may be entitled if Congress approves and the president signs this extension.

Chris51 07/29/2010 10:01pm
in reply to aghandshu Jul 29, 2010 3:02pm

You are not alone. Nevada bloggers are feeling left in the dark on their checks. They can’t get through to anyone at state Employment Department get status on their claim. California unemployed claims are at 510,000. Employment dept. will keep staff working through Saturday, to continue processing 334,000 for Californians who meet the eligibility criteria. Extension forms are being mailed out, but no checks until they are returned for processing.

Nevada – Perhaps that is why Sharron Angle wants to eliminate Social Security, so they won’t have to bother fixing their lack of ability to administer social services. Here is a news clip on this

On July 29th., Ed Shultz on MSNBC is Fired Up for 99ers.

beenblue 07/29/2010 9:09pm

Dear seanurse you beautiful little agitator, I admire that you have passion, and compassion and that “REMEMBER NOVEMBER” is truly a part of your vocabulary in all your posts. All those e- mails hitting our representatives worked if you pay attention to their wording, and the RepubLICANS want in on it come Nov. WELL that`s proof in the pudding, that 15,000,000 votes do count. And I emphasized LICANS in RepubLICANS, because a wolf looks like a dog… BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU BRING HOME right !!

ExGOP 07/24/2010 9:59am
in reply to NoBodyFaultButMine Jul 24, 2010 9:34am

Are you really unemployed? Your name suggests that it is your own fault that you are unemployed? Is this how you feel?

I have a life, so I won’t be responding to anymore of your STUPID statements.

Keep on NOT making a difference!

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.

Kerlynne 07/24/2010 2:30pm
in reply to Reader12 Jul 24, 2010 2:25pm


Reader12 07/24/2010 2:25pm

Laid off middle class America is going to have to organize themselves politically and get involved now fighting for job creation. We are going to have to wrestle our own future and our childrens future back from big corporations and big banks who almost own our government at this point, and stop this downward slide in the average American’s prosperity ourselves.

The numbers do not lie. This is no seasonal recession! It is a Depression and the downward momentum is increasing. Wages are dropping everywhere, underemployment is increasing and temporary jobs are replacing permanent ones.

Just like our grandparents did during the labor movement in the turn of the century.
Its not going to be easy and the media can’t be counted on to help. But the alternative is doing nothing and no one will lose out but us.
No Americans are expendable casualties in this new economy!

Kerlynne 07/24/2010 2:21pm


Reader12 07/24/2010 2:38pm

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.

skrapper 07/24/2010 6:18pm
in reply to ExGOP Jul 24, 2010 7:58am

For those of you that are homeless, or soon will be homeless. Just remember, if you don’t have a address! You can’t vote because you don’t matter.
No address, no precinct to vote out of.
If you find your house going into foreclosure try to get help, but!!! Point is once it finally goes into foreclosure, you have up to 1 year to stay in it before they can through you out. They can’t do a damn thing about it either.
So if your loosing it in the winter, and you are a having a very cold winter. Don’t give the house back you will at least have it till next year.

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.

ExGOP 07/25/2010 5:28am
in reply to NoBodyFaultButMine Jul 24, 2010 10:24am

I can’t resist this one …

The phrase is “Yes we can”, NOT “Just we can” … dummy.

If you’re not here to help the unemployed get off this blog. I’m sure you can find a Tea Party blog.

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 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!!!

jeneelynn 07/27/2010 9:53pm
in reply to Chris51 Jul 23, 2010 9:02am

Amen to that brother! The most important thing is to get right with God. This world is heading in the direction written about in Revelation – and it IS inevitable! It is cleary spelled out to us in the bible!

artledoux 07/27/2010 5:20am
in reply to tiamo4ever Jul 26, 2010 1:57am

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

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!

degofast 07/26/2010 11:12am
in reply to memo Jul 26, 2010 6:56am

I have called my unemployment office and they told me to just keep checking my account to see if the funds are in there.. I was like thank you for all the help.

sruthj217 07/26/2010 8:06am
in reply to sruthj217 Jul 26, 2010 7:11am

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.

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).

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.

seanurse 07/23/2010 6:39am
in reply to understanding Jul 23, 2010 5:58am


shannonhill 07/26/2010 12:13am
in reply to trynghard63 Jul 23, 2010 4:37pm

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

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 ?
memo 07/26/2010 4:27am
in reply to brokeflgirl333 Jul 26, 2010 3:41am

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

brokeflgirl333 07/26/2010 3:41am

Anyone know how long the wait is for Florida??

tah 07/23/2010 6:47am

Latest update posted on Texas Workforce Commission Unemployment Benefits page-

Congress extended the deadlines to qualify for all extended benefit programs. Texas Workforce Commission is working quickly to issue payments to customers who continued to submit payment requests. If you submitted your payment requests you should receive your payments by Wednesday, August 4. If you stopped submitting payment requests but are still unemployed, please submit your payment requests immediately. You do not need to contact TWC about the extension unless we send you a letter asking for information. When you exhaust your current benefits, TWC will send you a letter if you are eligible for additional benefits.

taxthis 07/23/2010 7:08am

My info on Florida. unemployment rep. says info will be mailed to claimants. When? 7-14 days. presently Fl. news station, as brokeflgirl333 posted( thankyou) Speaker Larry Cretul says, We didn’t know they were going to pass emergency employment comp., We will deal with it when we come back in sept. Unbeleivable!!!! end of post..New post…FOT SALE>>> EVERTHING I OWN!!!!Is there any politicians out there that have any common sense at all. You politicians have got some big you know whats, or you are just plain stupid. I would be very cautious if I were ….Y’all or Yous Guys

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