Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Extended Unemployment Benefits ending for many long term unemployed

by Bill McBride on 5/29/2012 08:40:00 AM

An important story that I haven't written about recently ... from Shaila Dewan at the NY Times: U.S. Winds Down Longer Benefits for the Unemployed

Hundreds of thousands of out-of-work Americans are receiving their final unemployment checks sooner than they expected, even though Congress renewed extended benefits until the end of the year. ... In February, when the program was set to expire, Congress renewed it, but also phased in a reduction of the number of weeks of extended aid and effectively made it more difficult for states to qualify for the maximum aid. Since then, the jobless in 23 states have lost up to five months’ worth of benefits.

Next month, an additional 70,000 people will lose benefits earlier than they presumed, bringing the number of people cut off prematurely this year to close to half a million, according to the National Employment Law Project. That estimate does not include people who simply exhausted the weeks of benefits they were entitled to.
...
Most states offer 26 weeks of unemployment benefits, plus the federal extensions that kicked in after the financial crash.

The number of extra weeks available by state is determined by several factors, including the state’s unemployment rate and whether it is higher than three years earlier. So states like California have had benefits cut even though the unemployment rate there is still almost 11 percent.

“Benefits have ended not because economic conditions have improved, but because they have not significantly deteriorated in the past three years,” Hannah Shaw, a researcher at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, wrote in a blog post. In May, an estimated 95,000 people lost benefits in California.
...
by the end of September, the extended benefits will end in the last three states providing 99 weeks of assistance — Nevada, New Jersey and Rhode Island.

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