“Right now, the 1.2 million workers who will lose benefits in March are being held hostage by partisan attempts to delay and block this critical legislation,” said Christine Owens, executive director of the National Employment Law Project.
Jobless benefits start ending on Sunday
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) — Depending on extended unemployment benefits to see you through the Great Recession?
You’d better not: The Senate failed to push back the Feb. 28 deadline to apply for this safety net.
Starting Monday, the jobless will no longer be able to apply for federal unemployment benefits or the COBRA health insurance subsidy.
Federal unemployment benefits kick in after the basic state-funded 26 weeks of coverage expire. During the downturn, Congress has approved up to an additional 73 weeks, which it funds.
Want some very short-term solutions to this mess? Provide extended benefits, but put some requirements on it. Require people to do volunteer work at their local school or government office where so many cutbacks have been made. Require them to volunteer at a local boys and girls club or YMCA where donations and funding have been decimated and need volunteers to help keep programs running. Even if they are only required to volunteer 5-10 hours a week, imagine what could be accomplished. I know there are people who are trying really hard to find work and at the same time there are people who are taking advantage of the situation. Regardless of which type of person it is, they have something to offer. Volunteering will help keep up their self esteem, will create an avenue for networking and will help keep up their skills. Watching what is happening to the local colleges right now due to funding shortages is another example. We have young people out there who want to finish college and the schools who are having to cut programs and raise fees beyond affordability. What a difference it would make if a large number of volunteers could be inserted into the equation!
These federal benefit weeks are divided into tiers, and the jobless must apply each time they move into a new tier.
Because the Senate did not act, the jobless will now stop getting checks once they run out of their state benefits or current tier of federal benefits.
That could be devastating to the unemployed who were counting on that income. In total, more than one million people could stop getting checks next month, with nearly 5 million running out of benefits by June, according to the National Unemployment Law Project.
Lawmakers repeatedly tried to approve a 30-day extension this week, but each time, Sen. Jim Bunning, R-Ky., prevented the $10 billion measure from passing, saying it needs to be paid for first.
“Right now, the 1.2 million workers who will lose benefits in March are being held hostage by partisan attempts to delay and block this critical legislation,” said Christine Owens, executive director of the National Employment Law Project. You can read the rest of this article from CNN Money.
People want jobs, not free money. Take the money that would be used for extended unemployment and put it towards lobbying to end unfair trade so we can get some of our industries back from places like China and Mexico (China keeps its currency artificially low, among other things)! Once industries returned to the Western world, people can feel proud to be working again, and would likewise be more willing to spend. When people see nothing but a deadline with unemployment benefits, they are going to hoard their money as best they can for the unforeseeable future. With new jobs instead, we would be helping out families with employment, and improving our country’s economy at the same time! Why is this not considered an option?