Monday, April 5, 2010

Unemployment Extension Legislation Update

Unemployment Extension Legislation Update

April 1 Update: Congress has adjourned without acting to approve an unemployment extension. The current unemployment extensions are set to expire on April 5, 2010 and the COBRA subsidy expired on March 30. Congress is not expected to act on a new extension until they return on April 12.

The best course of action to help get an extension passed is to contact your elected officials and ask them to support a long term extension of unemployment benefits:

* Congressional Directory
* How to Contact Representatives

If you're out of work, please add your story to our collection:

* Share Your Unemployment Story
* Read Unemployed Worker Stories
* Discuss Unemployment or Ask a Question in our Forum

March 2 Update: A 30 day extension of unemployment benefits and a extension of COBRA health insurance subsidies has been approved. The legislation will extend the federal extended benefits that expired on February 28 for a month. The Senate and Congress will now consider a longer term more comprehensive extension of benefits, hopefully through 2010.

Here's information on what to do when your unemployment checks run out and where unemployed workers can get assistance when they are out or about to run out of benefits.

February 27 Update: The Senate failed to pass an unemployment extension today, which means benefits expire for over a million unemployed workers this weekend.

However, a more extensive unemployment extension package, with Democrats seeking a year long extension of benefits, is on the agenda.

In addition, contact your representives urging passing of an extension as soon as possible. The National Employment Law Project has a form you can use to email your representatives.

Until an extension is passed, unemployed workers will continue getting 26 weeks of state unemployment benefits and would complete the tier of extended benefits they are on, but would not be eligible for additional extended benefits or to move to a new tier.

February 25 Update: The House has voted to extend unemployment benefits and COBRA subsidies for 30 days. The bill passed on a voice vote today and was sent to the Senate,

The extension was not approved in the Senate. Republican Senator Jim Bunning, Kentucky blocked the extension saying that the $10 billion bill would add to the budget deficit. If a vote is needed to override his objections that probably will not happen until next week. The current extended unemployment benefits program will expire on February 28.

February 23 Update: There are reports that the Senate is discussing proposals for a 30 day, 10 month, or a full year of extended unemployment benefits. This would continue the extended unemployment benefits program which will expire on February 28.

December 22 Update: President Obama has signed legislation extending unemployment benefits, including extended unemployment benefits and the COBRA subsidy, that were set to expire at the end of the year through February.

Eligiblity depends your tier of benefits plus state guidelines, so when the legislation is passed, check with your State Unemployment Office website for details on who qualifies and when and how benefits will be paid.

State Extended Benefits

Extended Unemployment Benefits are available to workers who have exhausted regular unemployment insurance benefits during periods of high unemployment. There are triggers (calculations based on the state unemployment rate) that determine when a State will extend benefits.

The basic Extended Benefits program provides up to 13 additional weeks of benefits when a State is experiencing high unemployment. Some States have also enacted a voluntary program to pay up to 7 additional weeks (20 weeks maximum) of Extended Benefits during periods of extremely high unemployment.

Amount of Benefits

The weekly benefit amount of Extended Benefits is the same as the individual received for regular unemployment compensation. The total amount of Extended Benefits that an individual could receive may be fewer than 13 weeks or fewer than 20 weeks.

How to Collect Extended Benefits

When a State begins an Extended Benefit period, it notifies those who have received all of their regular benefits that they may be eligible for Extended Benefits. You may contact the State Unemployment Insurance agency to ask whether Extended Benefits are available.

Check with your State Unemployment Office for information on what benefits you are entitled to.

The private web sites, and the information linked to both on and from this site, is opinion and information. While I have made every effort to link accurate and complete information, I cannot guarantee it is correct. Please seek legal assistance, or assistance from State, Federal, or International governmental resources to make certain your legal interpretation and decisions are correct. This information is not legal advice and is for guidance only.

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