Saturday, September 05, 2009

Massachusetts: Workers Exhausting Unemployment Benefits

by Calculated Risk on 9/05/2009 10:38:00 PM

This is a story that will keep building as workers exhaust their extended unemployment benefits ...

From the Boston Globe: State jobless pay to end for many

Massachusetts is experiencing its first wave of jobless workers to exhaust unemployment benefits after nearly two years of rising unemployment, state labor officials said.

The state this week sent out letters notifying about 2,500 jobless workers that they had or would soon receive their last unemployment checks, having used up state and federal extensions that provided up to 79 weeks, or about 18 months, of benefits. The state expects about 21,000 jobless workers to run out of unemployment benefits by Thanksgiving.
And on extending the unemployment benefits for another 13 weeks, from the SF Chronicle: 4 stimulus breaks due to run out at year end
The stimulus act increased the weekly unemployment benefit by $25 per week, allowed people to deduct up to $2,400 in benefits on their federal tax return and extended the federal government's extended benefits program, which provides additional compensation to people who have used up their regular state benefits.

In California, a person who exhausted 26 weeks of state benefits could get up to 20 more weeks under the first federal extension, then up to 13 weeks under a second extension and up to 20 weeks more under a third extension. The first and second extensions were supposed to expire in the spring but the stimulus extended them until Dec. 31. The stimulus also provided 100 percent federal funding for the third extension.

All these federal benefits sunset after Dec. 31. A person who was already receiving extended benefits on Jan. 1 could finish that round of benefits, but not start the next extension. A person who was still receiving their regular state benefits on Jan. 1 would get no extended benefits.

HR3404, sponsored by Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash., would extend all of the expiring provisions through next year. It also would create a fourth extension of up to 13 weeks for people in high-unemployment states.
It is very likely that this bill will pass soon (the Senate bill is S. 1647).