Tier 5 Unemployment Extension Update - Help for 99ers?

If you are reading this, you are likely one of the millions of Americans who are seeking good information on the important Tier 5 situation. Below, we provide an update on previous proposals, as well as a recent proposal.

  • Is a Tier 5 unemployment extension still on the table?
  • Is Congress paying attention to the 99ers?
  • What are the current Tier 5 proposals?

Quick Background

If implemented, a Tier 5 would add additional weeks of unemployment benefits. To date, the previous extensions passed by Congress (including the December 2010 extension) have only extended eligibility for existing tiers, enabling you to receive up to a maximum of 99 weeks in most states. These extensions have helped millions, but have not provided any additional weeks for the hundreds of thousands of Americans who have already exhausted their benefits.

Previous Proposals

Americans Want to Work Act

Introduced by Senator Stabenow of Michigan, this bill would provide the following:

  • An additional 20 weeks of benefits for people who have had their benefits expire, as long as the unemployment rate in your state is at least 7.5%.
  • It would offer businesses a $2,000 tax break for hiring workers who have exhausted unemployment benefits.

As proposed, the bill would offer eligiblity retroactively, meaning that if you have already finished your previous tiers in recent months, you would still be eligibile.

Emergency Unemployment Compensation Extension Act

Introduced by Representative Berkley of Nevada, this is similar, but would apply to fewer states.

  • Would provides an additional 20 weeks of benefits for people who have had their benefits expire, as long as the unemployment rate in your state is at least 10%.

Only a handful of states would meet the 10% unemployment rate threshold.

NEW Proposal

Representatives Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Bobby Scott (D-VA) have been working on a new bill that would help the 99ers. The proposal contains the following provisions:

  • Provides 14 additional weeks of emergency unemployment compensation in Tier 1.
  • These additional weeks will be available for those who have exhausted all their benefits (99ers and other exhaustees) as well as those who will be unemployed this year.
  • This extension would be similar to the November 2009 extension, which provided additional weeks of benefits to Tier 2.
  • Adding these extra weeks in Tier 1 makes them available for all long-term unemployed and not only those who live in a “high unemployment state.”

The latest that we have heard is that further discussions are likely to take place in early March.

Your Thoughts?

  • What do you think about Tier 5?
  • How many weeks should be added?
  • Can Congress reach a solution?

PLEASE NOTE: We fully support free speech, and encourage everyone to share their views. That being said, due to the controversial nature of the Tier 5 unemployment extension, some readers have posted hate speech and / or obscenities. We will not tolerate such language.

In addition, as the debate over Tier 5 has ensued, certain individuals have taken to impersonating others and / or posting under a false identity. In response, we have chosen to block these false comments.

Again, we encourage feedback, and thank you for taking the time to share your views on a topic that is of great importance to many Americans.


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Tier 5: Extension Update - August 23rd, 2010

As unemployment benefits expire, many people are aksing about a “Tier 5″ extension.

Background

If implemented, a Tier 5 would add additional weeks of unemployment benefits. To date, the previous extensions passed by Congress this year have only extended eligibility for existing tiers, enabling you to receive up to a maximum of 99 weeks in most states. The 2010 extensions have not added any additional weeks to the total available.

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Many people have already exhausted their 99 weeks (or their state maximium), but are in need of further assistance.

Tier 5 Extension – New Proposal Introduced

Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow introduced new legislation during the first week of August that formally brings the Tier 5 discussion in front of Congress. Here are the highlights of the propsal:

  • The bill would add an additional 20 weeks of benefits for people who have had their benefits expire.
  • The proposal would require that the unemployment rate in your state must at least 7.5% in order to qualify.
  • Also included in the proposal are tax breaks for business owners who hire
  • The new legislation has not yet been voted upon.

What’s Next?

  • Members of Congress are on recess through September 12th.
  • The Senate will next address the proposal upon their return in September.

Is A Tier 5 Necessary?

Tier 5

Have you exhausted 99 weeks of benefits?

Are you recently unemployed, and only eligibile for 26 weeks of benefits?

Would a “Tier 5″ of Emergency Unemployment Compensation helpful you?

Thousands of Americans have received the maximium number of unemployment benefits in their state, and are asking “What Next?”

Let’s look at both sides of the Tier 5 debate:

People against a Tier 5 argue the following:

  • The country can’t afford it. An additional unemployment extension would increase the Federal deficit and the national debt.
  • 99 weeks is enough. With regular benefits lasting only 26 weeks, tier 5 opponents argue that at 99 weeks, unemployment recipients are already getting nearly 4 times the regular amount.
  • More benefits sends the wrong message. Those against a tier 5 (and unemployment extensions in general) think that extending benefits encourages people to not work.

Here’s what Tier 5 supporters have to say:

  • Government can afford it. With billions of dollars of government money to bail out the banks and fund foreign wars, the government has the ability to financially support a tier 5 extension.
  • The economy requires it. Many “99ers” argue that they are actively looking for work, but in an environment where there are 6 applicants for every 1 job opening, the math just doesn’t work.
  • Government should watch out for its people. This was the reason that unemployment benefits were created in the first place — to create a social “safety net”.

What is your view on a Tier 5 extension? Feel free to leave a comment below.