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Unemployment Extension Update - January 7th, 2012

Unemployment Extension Update – January 7th, 2012

A quick update about the recent Federal unemployment extension legislation that just passed:

Key points:

  • Congress voted to extend Federally funded unemployment benefits through February 2012.

  • This extension does not provide additional weeks. Rather, it allows Americans receiving Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) and Extended Benefits (EB) to continue receiving these benefits through the end of February.
  • 99 weeks continues to be the maximimum number of weeks available (depending on your state).

 

Legislation Background and Details

The recent bill that passed in Congress just before the end of 2011 provides for an extension of the payroll tax holiday, prevents a decrease in physician reimbursement related to Medicare, and allows for the continued extension of Federal unemployment benefits, as described above.

With disagreement between Democrats and Republicans about how to fund these measures, this bill was debated at length. Members of Congress were aiming for a one-year extension of these provisions. A two-month compromise was reached, leading to the Feburary deadline that is now in place.

You can expect to hear more about these programs as Congress votes again in coming weeks.

Extended Benefits Reminder

You may be eligible for Extended Benefits if you have already received the maximium number of state benefits (26 weeks) and EUC benefits (up to 53 weeks, depending on your state).

In order to receive Extended Benefits (which provide an additional 13 to 20 weeks of unemployment compensation), the average “unemployment rate” in your state over the last three months must remain higher than the same figure over the last few years.

Currently, 33 states qualify for Extended Benefits.

 

We wish you prosperity in 2012, and will keep you informed as soon as additional legislation information becomes available.

 


What do YOU think Congress should do about the unemployment situation? Please feel free to share your thoughts below.

 

Unemployment Extension Update - November 14th

Unemployment Extension Update – November 14, 2011

There are two separate unemployment extensions being discussed in Congress at the moment:

  • HR 3346 – The Emergency Unemployment Compensation Extension Act of 2011
  • HR 589 – The Emergency Unemployment Compensation Expansion Act of 2011

While they have similar names, the two pieces of legislation are quite different. We highlight the details, and how they might impact you, below.

 

HR 3346 – The Emergency Unemployment Compensation Extension Act of 2011

Federal unemployment benefits — the unemplyoment benefits you receive after the 26 weeks of Regular Benefits are exhausted — are set to expire on December 31, 2011. If this happens, as many as 2 million unemployed Americans will lose benefits in January 2012.

Last week, legislation was introduced that would extend these benefits through the end of 2012. As a reminder, these federally-funded unemployment benefits provide anywhere from 34 to 73 weeks of additional unemployment insurance after state-funded regular benefits run out.

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The Emergency Unemployment Compensation Extension Act has support in Congress, and will definitely receive more attention in the coming weeks. If history is a guide, given the extensions that passed in the last two years, it seems likely that this bill will pass, even if it happens after the December 31st deadline.

 

HR 589 – The Emergency Unemployment Compensation Expansion Act of 2011

As mentioned, the Federal unemployment benefits provide extensions resulting in a total of up to 99 weeks of unemployment insurance. That said, millions of American workers have exhausted the total number of available weeks.

The Emergency Unemployment Compensation Expansion Act, sponsored by Representative Barbara Lee, would
add an additional 14 weeks of benefits for those who have already received the maximum number of weeks of Federal unemployment benefits.

Also referred to as “Tier 5″, this expansion of benefits has been discussed over the last several months, but has yet to gain the necessary support in Congress. The most recent efforts made by Representative Barbara Lee and her co-sponsors have attempted to incorporate this legislation into the President’s jobs bill.

 

We will continue to keep you updated on both pieces of legislation, as well as The American Jobs Act.

Extension Update 090911

The American Jobs Act and You

Last night, September 8th, 2011, President Obama addressed Congress and the nation, unveiling his new stimulus plan: The American Jobs Act.

What does this plan entail, when will it be implemented, and, most importantly, how does it impact you?

New Jobs

The primary focus of the American Jobs Acts is new jobs. Specifically, the President highlighted four areas where the program will stimulate job creation:

  • Construction: Projects to improve basic infrastructure, roads, and schools will help employ thousands of workers in construction related fields.
  • Teachers: Aid to state and local governments will help keep teachers employed by using funds to prevent layoffs.
  • Veterans: Businesses will be given tax credits for hiring returning veterans.
  • Long-Term Unemployed: Employers will receive a $4,000 tax credit for hiring long-term unemployed workers. Note: They are defining “long-term” as six months or more.

Extension of Unemployment Benefits

Another important aspect of the American Jobs Act is an extension of unemployment benefits until the end of 2012. This extension continues the benefits put in place last year (up to 99 weeks of total benefits, depending on your state). These extensions were set to expire at the end of 2011.

At the present time, additional weeks beyond the 99 week total have not yet been discussed as part of this program.

What’s Next?

In order for the changes proposed in the American Jobs Act to take effect, Congress must pass the legislation. President Obama expects there to be support for the program from both Democrats and Republicans. That said, it is fair to assume there will be some debate on various aspects of the proposals leading up to the voting, which is expected to take place this month.

 


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