What's happening with unemployment? Unfortunately, nothing - despite the fact that federal extended unemployment benefits expire at the end of 2012, leaving unemployed workers with only state benefits for 2013.
Unless Congress passes legislation that provides extended unemployment compensation for workers who have run out of state benefits, which are a maximum of 26 weeks in most states, there will be no more long-term unemployment benefits.
What's different this time around is that all federal benefits will stop as of the last week in December. In the past, when benefits were cut back an unemployed worker could finish the tier they were on. Here's an example of how it's going to end from California EDD:
Regardless of when your regular claim or extension benefits start, December 29, 2012, will be the last week ending date that EDD can pay federal extension (Tiers 1 – 4) benefits to eligible unemployed workers, even if someone is currently unemployed or has a remaining balance on their federal extension.
Extended Unemployment Legislation
After more than 60 years of federal government provided long term unemployment benefits, they will end unless extended benefits are reauthorized. What's scary for those who are unemployed is that nobody is even talking about an extension despite the fact that, according to a White House report, "Since 1948, when official monthly employment rates first became available, special extended benefits have been provided to long-term unemployed workers in 85 percent of the months in which the national unemployment rate was 8 percent or higher."
To date, as the Huffington Post reports, extending unemployment is not on the Congressional radar and it won't be until after the election at the earliest.
Extending benefits doesn't appear to on the radar for either President Obama or Governor Romney, at this point in time. Depending on the outcome of the election, and with a lame duck Congress, benefits may not even be considered. Hopefully, unemployment will be on the agenda, but there's no guarantee.
Without Federal Benefits
Here's what is going to happen if unemployment benefits expire, from the National Employment Law Project (NELP):
- There are current 12.8 million unemployed workers
- The average unemployed worker is jobless for around 39 weeks—far longer than the 26 weeks of jobless aid offered by most states.
- Over six million long-term unemployed workers have already reached the end of their jobless benefits
- Two million more jobless workers face an immediate cut-off from the only remaining federal unemployment insurance program at the end of December
Video: What is an Unemployment Extension from George Wentworth from the National Employment Law Project.