Sunday, July 18, 2010

Unemployment and the Federal Extension Bill

There seems to be a tremendous amount of confusion out there of what this bill in the Senate and Congress actually accomplishes. It is called the Federal Unemployment Extension Bill. To me that means that they are considering extending unemployment benefits past what is already allowed or been voted on previously. That's what I always assumed because they use the word "extension". That is not the case.

In all actuality it is really an unemployment funding bill. The unemployed people currently collecting or moving toward any form of federal extension of benefits can no longer collect anything until they pass this. If someone has remained unemployed for more than six months, typically they have moved into one of four tiers of federal extension benefits that have been available since July 2008. Without further Congressional action, unless these unemployed workers are currently collecting on the separate FED-ED extension, they can continue to collect the balance of benefits available on their current extension tier but nothing further after that.

Some of the "tiers" of extensions are only 6 weeks long. So if you happened to be in that tier while they dick around and argue about funding what they already granted then you already ran out and you haven't gotten any checks for a few weeks. People and the media often talk about the 99 weekers. These people are supposedly eligible to collect unemployment for 99 weeks. Often right wingers and people frustrated about the deficit are against unemployed people because they figure they can collect for almost 2 years so why would they go back to work? What they don't realize is that there are about 6 different applications to apply for each extension that you have to deal with and that every time congress delays on funding the extensions these people get no checks. And when/if any of the unemployed do get a job they are more than likely getting it for 25 - 50% less of a salary than they were making before.

What would you rather have? Millions of people without benefits moving to welfare, food stamps and without health insurance or fund the federal unemployment package? Which do you think would cost more in the long run? Definitely welfare.

The middle class are disappearing, write your congress person and your senator!

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