By Donald Griffith on August 9, 2010, 1:14 pm
On July 22nd, President Barack Obama signed legislation affecting over 2 million unemployed Americans. Although not providing the additional $25 for COBRA, the legislation extended unemployment benefits through November and provided for benefits to be paid retroactively. Despite passing into law two weeks ago, many unemployed Americans who qualify for this extension has not received their checks and are angry
What Caused The Problem
Many workers who have found themselves unemployed through no fault of their own qualify have exhausted their unemployment benefits. Regular unemployment benefits last for 26 weeks. Benefits are then extended in Tiers as needed. Tier 1 lasts up to 20 weeks. Tier 2 lasts up to 14 weeks. Benefits at tier 3 last 13 weeks provided the state has an unemployment rate of at least 6%. Benefits for Tier 4 last 6 weeks in states with at least 8.5% unemployment rate.
Many Americans who used up their benefits at all tier levels have still found themselves without work. Despite the approval of tier 4 many unemployed Americans are still waiting for their checks. The reasons for this vary from state to state.
What Can Be Done
There is a possibility that a new tier 5 level of benefits will be approved. Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow has introduced the Americans Want to Work Act. The bill was cosponsored by nine other democratic senators. Unemployed Americans in states with an unemployment rate of at least 7.5% would qualify. This bill takes aim at a group of Americans called the 99ers who have exhausted all benefits and are still unemployed. In the meantime, states are working overtime to process claims and send out benefit checks.