Saturday, February 20, 2010
According to this CNN/Money report, unless Congress acts quickly, March is going to be a pretty miserable month for many of those without jobs, particularly in California.
One million could lose jobless benefits in MarchWhile it is an entirely different situation for those who are supporting families with their jobless benefits, the phrase "funemployment" is increasingly heard regarding the condition of much younger workers or, in this case, would-be workers.
More than 1 million people could lose their jobless benefits and health insurance subsidy in March if Congress doesn't act fast.
When it returns from the President's Day recess on Monday, the Senate will have one week to extend the deadlines to apply for federal unemployment benefits and the COBRA health insurance subsidy. Currently, the jobless have until Feb. 28 to sign up.
Without an extension, people receiving state jobless benefits won't be able to apply for additional federally paid unemployment insurance, and anyone already receiving those checks could be cut off.
It's hard to say what kind of a long-term impact long-term employment might have - the odds are that it won't be good - but it seems like that's exactly what we're going to get as Congress is much more proficient at extending jobless benefits than creating jobs.
About 11.5 million people currently depend on jobless benefits. Nearly one in 10 Americans are out of work and a record 41.2% have been unemployed for at least six months. The average unemployment period lasts a record 30.2 weeks.If memory serves, California has approximately 200,000 state employees, about the same number of unemployed that could lose their jobless benefits next month.
While unemployment benefits now run as long as 99 weeks, depending on the state, not everyone will receive checks for that long a stretch. Those who run out of their 26 weeks of state-paid coverage after Feb. 28 would not be able to apply for federal benefits. The jobless currently receiving extended federal benefits, which are divided into tiers, would stop getting checks once they complete their tier.
The law project would like to see the deadline extended to the end of the year so "workers don't fall hostage" to the machinations within Congress, Conti said. Julian agrees, saying waiting for lawmakers to act has been "a living hell."
State agencies are expected to start mailing notices to the jobless to alert them to the impending end of their benefits.