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Unemployment Extensions - Take Action Now!!

by Chris /
(United States)

Unemployment Extensions - We haven't heard much about them lately except I've been getting a lot of emails from people being told they can't collect.

So I went looking for some news which would explain what was happening. As far as I can tell, our senators screwed up by delaying passage until November and then what they passed had a deadline glitch.

But this morning when checking emails I had received one from NELP urging me to take immediate action by sending and email to my US senators. They provided a very easy way to send the email, so there was little excuse not to.

I urge you to do the same and since you might not receive emails from NELP (National Employment Law Project) I'll just pass mine onto you .. so you can also take this necessary and urgent action.

Here's the the email.

As many of you know, the House has passed reauthorization of the federal extensions, COBRA subsidies, and additional $25 in every weekly check - which is all set to expire at the end of February - until June of this year. While we applaud the House's initiative in getting this done, we are urging Congress to make sure these measures are in place until the end of the year. It's up to the Senate to take this necessary step, and it needs to be done quickly!

Please take action and urge your Senator to act now to reauthorize these crucial unemployment extensions and support before they run out on February 28th. And, consider becoming even more of an activist by signing up to become a media spokesperson.

Here are the details:

1. What's the Extension Proposal? - We are urging Congress to extend the EUC program, full federal funding of Extended Benefits, the $25 per week in Federal Additional Compensation, and the 65% 15-month COBRA subsidy through the end of 2010. We know that unemployment is going to remain in double digits through the end of this calendar year, therefore it is important to extend this program through 2010. Unemployed workers need to know that Congress and their Federal Government is behind them through this whole year, and the communities in which they live need the assurances of the crucial economic stimulus that these benefits provide.

2. Funding the Extension Benefits - Some have suggested that this package should be fully paid for by raising revenue from other sources, which will slow down the campaign and creates an unfair burden on the program in this time of special need. Thus, we are
calling for this package to be paid for through "emergency spending" if necessary. Unemployment extensions have often be financed by emergency spending because by definition, they are an emergency. While we appreciate the concerns of those who worry about the deficit, the fact is that this is important economic stimulus that the country needs right now. Were these benefits to not be extended, the cost to the country (in the form of increased foreclosures, the money that ceases to flow through communities, and the increase in public benefits that would necessarily flow from the cessation of these benefits), will be far greater than the money necessary to pay for this package.

3. Pass the Bill No Later than February 19th - These benefits are set to expire on February 28, 2010, but in fact, if Congress does not extend these important benefits before Friday, February 19, 2010, state unemployment offices will have to start sending out notices to claimants that their benefits are expiring, and they will have to start reprogramming their computer systems to shut down with EUC, EB and FAC benefits. Were Congress to act after the 19th of February, it could take most states somewhere between 2 to 4 months to get their programs back up and running and the disruption of benefits would be devastating to families and communities. The House of Representatives has already acted on their extension bill, now it's time for the Senate to act as well.

4. The Extension is Key to Economic Recovery - Extending UI and COBRA benefits is STEP ONE in any job creation program. Were they not to be extended, the economy could lose up to 800,000 jobs this year (according to the Economic Policy Institute). According to a recent Congressional Budget Office report, aid to the unemployed has the most significant impact on economic growth of any other policy options evaluated. Our economy is in a fragile state of recovery right now and cannot handle the one-two punch of this kind of job loss, coupled with the devastating impact on families if their unemployment insurance safety net disappears.

5. Act Now, No Time to Waste - The Senate is the target for now, so please start contacting every Senator you can - yours, any with whom you have a relationship -- and let them know that the Senate must extend UI and COBRA benefits through the end of 2010 and that they must do so by February 19, 2010.

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