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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 121-150 of 215 total comments.

seanurse 07/23/2010 6:43am

DID ANYONE SEE IN THE TODAYS PAPER THAT ILLINOIS NOW MUST VOTE FOR TWO SENATORS IN NOV. THE COURT JUDGE RULED THAT BURESS MUST LEAVE ON ELECTION DAY AND NEW SENATOR WILL TAKE OFFICE IMMEDIATLY FOLLOWING ELECTIONS RESULTS. WOW HE WAS GOOD ENOUGH TILL NOW. MORE WAYS OF WASTING OUR MONEY. WHY NOT LEAVE HIM THERE TILL JANUARY WHICH IS THE END OF HIS TERM. OUR GOVERMENT JUST DOESN’T GET IT.

txgalnokc 07/23/2010 6:49am

Hello Everyone! I’m writing to give hope, but to also get clarification. I live in Oklahoma and just received notice that the retro-pay was deposited onto my debit card. However, to my surprise, an extra $175 ($25 for the last 7 weeks) was also deposited. I thought the extra amount wasn’t included in the recent UI extension? Can someone help clarify this

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.

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

brokeflgirl333 07/23/2010 7:00am

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

Here is the press release that I have

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.

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.

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

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!

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.

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.

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 8:02am

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.

kkrontz 07/23/2010 8:04am

i hope this eases the minds in florida…

UnemployedAmerican2010 07/23/2010 8:04am

went to the workforce website and it said 2-3 days for us here in UT

Kristy41 07/24/2010 5:15am

It just means no money after you have drawn all 99 weeks

ExGOP 07/23/2010 9:34pm
in reply to ExGOP Jul 23, 2010 9:07pm

I still think the democrats would help the unemployed with extensions and additional Tiers (I don’t think the republicans will).

BreeLane 07/23/2010 2:27am

What about people that are on the EB extensions? I still have 18 weeks left for Extended Benefits in Michigan. Does this extension mean I will get those remaining 18 weeks. I called to certify this week and my certification was accepted however my check was deposited into my account because the extension had not passed when I called to certify. Can anyone confirm that this extension was for both EUC and EB?

kkrontz 07/23/2010 9:32am

TALLAHASSEE- Agency for Workforce Innovation Director Cynthia R. Lorenzo today applauded Governor Charlie Crist for signing Executive Order 10-170, authorizing Floridians who qualify for Extended Benefits to resume receiving those benefits through December 4, 2010, as authorized by federal law on July 22, 2010. The Governor’s executive order is in response to this new law that provides an extension of full federal funding for Extended Benefits (EB) in states that are currently in an EB period.

rayinman 07/22/2010 11:37pm

I am happy that this bill has finally passed but to be honest when I go to my EDD website I still don’t know if I will be getting a check or not. I am in my 84 week of benefits and to tell you the truth I am scared to death if I don’t receive a check. even if I do my benefits will run out come the beginning of September. Why is it so hard for our government to take care of their own? We have been supporting other countries and god knows who else whenever they need it and when it come to us we get swept under the rug as if we don’t exist. Today I borrowed $2 so I can buy a bag of rice!! 27 years of working and paying taxes and this is where my life is. GOD save us all from this nightmare we are enduring…

Chris51 07/23/2010 9:59am
in reply to brokeflgirl333 Jul 23, 2010 5:35am

Sad story. The parks in my area have more homeless people sleeping in the open and living in their cars. Most people ignore them, but they are real people facing poor circumstances. We are a wealthy Nation our tax money should be taking care of all of these folks. Instead there are a few big corporations that got billions in the bailout money, and then stole it in a forms of bonus.

http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/26184891
Report informs: That Kenneth Feinberg reviewed payouts to 600 executives at 17 financial companies in late 2008. Report found nearly 80% totaling more than $1.5 million were unmerited. The story ends with special note that this year, 2010, could be a record for wall street bonuses. Big corporations squeeze their workforce, the tax payer, the consumers, and don’t create jobs, and they win…
This is what FreedomWorks calls Economic Prosperity. We will just have to wait a little longer for it to “Trickle Down”.

taxthis 08/02/2010 5:30am

Florida!!! Your A.W.I.( Agency for Workforce Inovation) has no inovation! Y’all department really does suck!

Spam Comment

taxthis 07/23/2010 8:27am
in reply to kkrontz Jul 23, 2010 8:04am

Thank You for your explanation. My benefit of $230.00 per week exhausted on the 26th of June 2010. The last check of the 26 weeks was issued on the 2nd of July 2010 for $219.00. I was not able to receive the full benefit the state allows because my employer cut my hourly wage by 10% the last 5 quarters before he laid me off. I realize every unemployed person has their own unfortunate sad story. I thank you for being concerned. I hope by being vigilant we can change this economic disaster and bring back decent wages and jobs to this country…..

seanurse 07/23/2010 8:38am

just went to ides in illinois. they finally posted new updates. the people who filed for unemployment before may 27 2010 will still get the extra 25 till they go thru all extentions or dec 2010 which ever comes first. the new unemployed will not get the extra 25. all illinois people go to ides.gov and click on top update bar on extensions. they said they will release funds as soon as possible. well at least they updated it today. we shall see check your accounts everyday by 730 am and we will know.

tiamo4ever 07/23/2010 8:45am

From OHIO, I made that call to our Unemployment office this am and re-dialed 5 times and then when i got through i held on for 1 hour and 22 minutes (cleaned my house with phone to ear), i am now filed for the following weeks: 6/12, 6/19, 6/26, 7/03, 7/10, & 7/17, the agent i was with explained i will receive a check for all 6 weeks all at once…..The on/line system is not up yet (as i was filing before), but should be up hopefully by Monday 26th, i will then be on a bi-weekly filing, so on August 1st, i will file (on/line) for weeks 7/24 & 7/31…I was very lucky to get a decent agent, who said things are really really busy and helter-skelter … Make that call, plan on being patient, and nice, and you will get far and know where you stand. Good Luck, Katie

chelly 07/23/2010 9:37am
in reply to Jonapoo4u Jul 23, 2010 6:27am

Who are you getting benefits from, Florida or Georgia?

Chris51 07/23/2010 9:24am
in reply to MelinFlorida Jul 23, 2010 4:34am

MelinFlorida,
email or call The Ed Show. He is passionate about telling the story of struggling Americans, the UI Ext issue, and has stated he will continue speaking up for the 99ers. He wants to share the people’s stories.

watch these links:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/38333756#38333756

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3096434/#38370928

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3096434/#38370971

seanurse 07/23/2010 9:12am
in reply to Chris51 Jul 23, 2010 9:02am

hi chris, you have been blogging along with me for a long time now. please go to www.kickthemallout.com and see what you think of there work. they seem organized to help the 99ers and us. let me know what you think. i want to get more people involved and some protest movements started. im thinking this site might be good for organizing more 99ers. anyway let me know ok.

givememyjobback 07/23/2010 9:19am
in reply to BreeLane Jul 23, 2010 2:27am

BreeLane, I too am from Michigan and in week 18 of EB. Go to the UIA homepage for all the details. We will resume our EB.

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