Senate Passes Unemployment Benefits Extension

Image: billaday/Flickr

The Senate approved a $34 billion unemployment benefits extension yesterday. It applies to all people whose benefits ran out on June 2, but not to people who have already collected their full 99 weeks of unemployment. The Christian Science Monitor describes the extension:

Under the old law, individuals who used to have part-time jobs or took seasonal employment would see their benefit levels reduced when they went back on unemployment. Thus, it was not unusual for someone who had been receiving $500 a week to take a part-time job, and then when they returned to unemployment find that their benefit was now based on their temp salary. Under the new law, they will be able to keep their higher benefit. But this law is not retroactive.

(New benefits) will be retroactive to June 2, when the last extension expired. This means some 2.5 million people will get lump-sum checks. However, the checks will not be as large as they had been because the Senate stripped out the $25 per person that had been added as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Those eligible for unemployment insurance can expect to receive their checks through the end of November. According to Judy Conti of the National Employment Law Project (NELP), depending on each state, people could expect to see their benefits paid in two to four weeks.

See their complete Q&A here.

Passing unemployment benefits through the election month of November seems like a no-brainer for the Obama administration, or any politician, for that matter.

The impressive span of unemployment benefits–nearly two years–happened because 45.5% of the country’s unemployed have been out of work for more than six months, according to another CS Monitor article. It’s worth noting that the vast minority of people get the full 99 weeks; most peoples’ benefits run out before that.

  • CC

    The endless unemployment extensions are hard to justify when I am scraping by having to do whatever it takes to pay my bills. As a “self-employed” / “freelancer” / “independent consultant” for the same company for 5 years I lost my income when the company went bankrupt. . I’ve cut down everything to the bone and beyond. Sold off personal property. Taken work way below my level, almost entry level. Moved downward in housing. But the “no-work pay” for others keeps getting extended and extended and extended supported by Federal Tax dollars. It leaves a bad taste. Either widen benefits to include the rest of us who did not work on staff or let us all stew in the same thin soup. Maybe more families hung out over the hairy, ragged edge will develop some political will. There is a difference between state and federal unemployment benefits. Federal unemployment benefits extend state unemployment benefits out to 26 weeks. They must be explicitly passed by Congress, which doesn’t happen unless there’s a particularly bad recession. They’re paid for out of our federal tax dollars.

  • Lonny

    AAAAAAAAAAWWWWWWW! Poor Republicans! Boo-hoo!

    Now that the unemployed poor people can feed their families with the passing of the extension bill, how will the Republicans be able to sleep tonight?

  • How many unemployed miss the 4.2% unemployment , thriving economy, and record stock markets with small businesses booming from coast to coast that we had under Bush , up until the Democrats took over the houses in 2007? We also had a terrible economy under Clinton until the Republicans replaced the Democrats and ran both houses. Any of you unemployed see a pattern here?