Unemployment benefits extended

July 27, 2010 8:04:53 AM PDT
Late Tuesday, the Senate passed legislation extending unemployment benefits for Americans whose standard 26-weeks of assistance offered by most states expired. The measure now moves to the House, where it is expected to gain quick approval and be sent to the President, who has vowed to sign it. The bill impacts about 2.5 million Americans whose benefits ran out in June. It will not provide further extensions for the more than 1.5 million Americans who are approaching their 99th and final week of emergency assistance. Do the severity of the recession and slow job creation in the early stages of the recovery warrant an extension of benefits beyond the maximum 99 weeks? Or, do additional extensions provide a disincentive for aggressive job searching, as some have suggested? What can 99ers do to turn their job-search fortunes around and overcome the obstacle of long-term joblessness?

(AP) Jobless benefits on the way again Lump-sum back payments could start arriving next week

July 23, 2010

Checks could begin flowing again next week to millions of unemployed Americans who lost up to seven weeks of jobless benefits in a congressional standoff.

On Thursday, President Obama signed into law a restoration of benefits for people who've been out of work for six months or more.

"Americans who are fighting to find a good job and support their families will finally get the support they need to get back on their feet during these tough economic times," Obama said in a statement issued after he signed the measure.

Congress approved the measure earlier in the day. The move ended an interruption that cut off payments averaging about $300 a week to 2.5 million people who have been unable to find work in the aftermath of the nation's long and deep recession.

At stake are up to 73 weeks of federally financed benefits for people who have exhausted their 26 weeks of state jobless benefits. Benefits have been cut off for about half of the 5 million people in the program since its authorization expired June 2.

They are eligible for lump-sum retroactive payments that are typically delivered directly to their bank accounts or credited to state-issued debit cards.

Many states have encouraged beneficiaries to keep updating their paperwork in hopes of speeding up payments once the program was restored.

A 272-152 House vote Thursday sent the measure to the White House.

The House vote came less than 24 hours after a mostly party-line Senate vote Wednesday on the measure


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