Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Millions Running Out Of Unemployment Checks Soon

Federal Unemployment Benefits May Be Ending For Millions Of Workers

Nearly two million out-of-work Americans will be cut off from federal unemployment insurance in January alone if Congress fails to renew the programs before they expire on December 31st, according to a new analysis issued today by the National Employment Law Project.  

Millions more will face the same fate in subsequent months if the program is not reauthorized by Congress. The NELP report finds that in January 2012 alone, 1.8 million workers in need of federal aid will be cut off if Congress fails to act.  This includes nearly 1.4 million unemployed workers already receiving federal unemployment insurance, as well as more than 430,000 unemployed workers laid off as recently as July who will exhaust their state unemployment benefits in January. 

Without these expiring federal programs—called Emergency Unemployment Compensation and Extended Benefits—newly unemployed workers in many states will only be able to access, at most, 26 weeks of benefits through state unemployment insurance programs.

California, Florida, New York, Texas, and New Jersey top the list of states facing premature cut‐offs, according to the report's state‐by‐state breakdowns. 

The unemployment rate, currently at 9.1 percent, has remained near or above 9 percent for almost two-and-ahalf straight years.  And for almost two years, nearly 45 percent of the unemployed—more than six million people—have been out of work for six months or longer.  
Nearly seven million Americans are currently surviving on modest unemployment insurance benefits. The report points out that in 2010, due largely to the federal extension, unemployment insurance kept 3.2 million people (including nearly one million children) from falling into poverty.  Were it not for unemployment insurance, the number of people falling into poverty would have more than doubled in 2010.

According to the NELP report, the federal unemployment insurance programs have saved or created millions of jobs since first enacted in July 2008, including more than 1.1 million jobs in the fourth quarter of 2009 alone.  

Over the past three years, more than 17 million unemployed Americans have received federal unemployment insurance, pumping $180 billion back into local communities and economies hit hard by severe unemployment.  

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