Because the federal government put restrictions on extended benefits in which the unemployment rate has dropped, as many as a quarter of a million people will lose their benefits much sooner than expected. I'm not even going to comment on this
May 30, 2012

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Because Congress put restrictions on extended benefits in states in which the unemployment rate has dropped*, as many as a quarter of a million people will lose their benefits much sooner than expected. I'm not even going to comment on this except to tell you to go read the comments section. Just heartbreaking:

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.

The checks are stopping for the people who have the most difficulty finding work: the long-term unemployed. More than five million people have been out of work for longer than half a year. Federal benefit extensions, which supplemented state funds for payments up to 99 weeks, were intended to tide over the unemployed until the job market improved.

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.

Separate from the Congressional action, some states are making it harder to qualify for the first few months of benefits, which are covered by taxes on employers. Florida, where the jobless rate is 8.7 percent, has cut the number of weeks it will pay and changed its application procedures, with more than half of all applicants now being denied.

I would recommend that the next phase of the Occupation should be to move into your congressperson's local office, and set up a campground in their parking lot.

*Please note: This is a real perversion of the original requirement, because so many people have dropped off the rolls since they couldn't find jobs. The U-6 measure of unemployment includes those people, plus part-timers who wish they had full time work. In April, that rate was 14.5%.

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