Unemployment Benefits May Be Extended

Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash, introduced a bill today to provide 13 weeks of extended unemployment benefits for more than 300,000 jobless people who live in states with unemployment rates of at least 8.5 percent and who are scheduled to run out of benefits by the end of September.  If the bill passes, unemployed people in nearly 30 states will be eligible to receive the 13-week extension in addition to the 26 weeks of benefits most states offer and the federally funded extensions of up to 53 weeks that Congress approved last year.

Currently, those receiving state unemployment benefits receive about $300 a month, plus an additional $25 from the stimulus act.  That’s not much to live on.  With the national unemployment rate hovering near 10%, more than 1/3 of those unemployed out of work for more than 6 months, and 51% of unemployment claimants exhausting their benefits back in July, this bill may be the only thing standing between many people and poverty.

McDermott’s bill is expected to pass and benefit extensions are expected through 2011.  McDermott plans to pay for the bill by extending a $14-per-employee federal unemployment tax.

ELIGIBLE STATES

  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • California
  • District of Columbia
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Kentucky
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Nevada
  • New Jersey
  • North Carolina
  • New York
  • Ohio
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Puerto Rico
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Washington
  • Wisconsin
  • West Virginia

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