Unemployment Benefits Extension: A Clarification

There seems to be a lot of confusion out there about what the nature of the extension of unemployment benefits that is included in the deal that President Obama cut with Senate Republicans. Most conservative critics of the idea, as well as several people on the left, seem to think that it’s an extension of benefits for people who have been receiving benefits but have surpassed the 99 week statutory limit. As Ed Morrissey notes, that isn’t the case at all:

The extension in this case applies to the entire program, not individual benefits.  Both Gabriel Malor and Calculated Risk have noted the difference.  The emergency federal benefits come in four tiers of Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) and Extended Benefits (EB) that start when state-based unemployment ends, and the number of weeks available for aid depends on the unemployment rate within the state.  Half of the states qualify for both the full EUC (the first three tiers) and the full extended benefits (the fourth tier).

However, without this deal, EUC and EB both end within the next two weeks regardless of how many weeks of compensation people in the system have received.  This deal extends the two programs for another 13 months.  This will allow those in the system who have not yet exhausted their eligibility — up to 99 weeks in half the states but only 60 weeks in five — to continue receiving unemployment.

The media hasn’t done a very good job of explaining this part of the deal, and most of the commentators who have mentioned it have demagogued it as an “extension,” thus leading people to believe that the 99 week limit was being surpassed. That isn’t the case.

The program is still going to cost money, of course, but it’s more of a lifeline to an existing program than an expansion. Which seems to me to be yet another reason to not be so politically outraged over it.

FILED UNDER: Quick Takes, Taxes, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. james says:

    Shell Games: What are the cost?

    Some say, “This will cost another trillion dollars?”

  2. Dave Schuler says:

    Yeah, I mentioned that last week on OTB Radio. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised at how many people are mislead by this.

  3. joe says:

    A Farce as per usual, all slapping each other on the back ! a joke.

  4. Greg Green says:

    All of the talk is about extending unemployment. Where are the bills that will create jobs? Stop the tax breaks for shipping jobs out of the country. Increase the tariffs on imported goods so companies in America can compete. During the depression in the 30’s the government stepped up and created jobs for Americans. They built roads, bridges, dams and parks. They saw to it that most of the workers pay was sent home to their families to stimulate the economy. We need all of these repaired now. Where are the jobs? More to the point is WHERE ARE THE LEADERS????????????

  5. An Interested Party says:

    “Stop the tax breaks for shipping jobs out of the country. Increase the tariffs on imported goods so companies in America can compete. During the depression in the 30′s the government stepped up and created jobs for Americans. They built roads, bridges, dams and parks. They saw to it that most of the workers pay was sent home to their families to stimulate the economy.”

    You do realize that it simply wouldn’t do to have such antediluvian anti-free trade policies enacted, don’t you? Regarding that, most establishment Rs and Ds are in total agreement…and as for public works programs, we can’t have that either, it’s just socialism, you know…

  6. Greg says:

    I don’t know what the costs are. I believe 105 Billion Dollars for the 13 month extension.
    I have been unemployed for 29 weeks now. My unemployment stopped 3 weeks ago. I received my last check 2 weeks ago. I missed Federal Tier 1 by 1 week. I agree 99 weeks is very generous, but in this economy 26 weeks is not enough to regroup.

    I am on unemployment, and hope that some extension is passed. I probably won’t need much more than 40 weeks. When I immediately got laid off, I enrolled myself into college and earned 20 credits. Based on my college credits.. I was able to land 3 very entry level part time jobs in the field I want to be in. . These jobs are nothing to brag about.. I might earn $200 a week from all jobs combined if I am lucky. But its something to add on a resume and at least I don’t have a blank 10 month gap of not working on my resume.

    I agree there are people milking unemployment who should be denied.. However, there are a lot of honest, hard working people who do need extended benefits as they retrain or rebuild skills to make themselves more marketable in the workforce.

    I truely feel bad for the 99’ers.. Here’s a lesson to be learned from them.. If you are working, always have a back up plan.. Immediately if you are laid off, make important decisions and goals right away what you want to do. If your employer offers tuition assistantnce.. TAKE IT. How many of these 99’ers had that option, worked decades at a company but never used it? If you don’t have a degree. GET ONE NOW.. There are millions of unemployed going to school, even if the economy improves.. The job market is going to be very competitive the next few years from all the new college/tech school grads.

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  8. Justin says:

    I am still confused…
    I will receive my last two checks on Dec 14 and Dec 28. I live in Texas. I have already been on at least one extension I know. I am an unemployed I.T. Professional and have been since Jan. 2010. Does this extension mean I will continue to receive benefits under one of the programs or not. I have already had my house foreclosed on and taken from me. Now renting and worried in two weeks I will be on the street.
    Please help with some more explaining.

    Thank you for your time.

  9. Justin says:

    Awesome post Greg Green!

  10. Frank says:

    Unemployment benefits are not welfare to receive them you had to work and get fired or laid off. Why do banks get bailed out with billions to prevent the losses they deserve while American taxpayers without work are left to stress over unemployment extensions?

    We need a common sense party clearly democrats and republicans have lost their minds.

  11. sam says:

    “Unemployment benefits are not welfare to receive them you had to work and get fired or laid off.”

    If I’m not mistaken, you cannot collect if you’re fired — at least that used to be the rule. Has it changed?

  12. Matt says:

    I agree about punishing companies that send jobs overseas…

    Of course you would be punishing GM, Ford and Chrysler…

    Ford and Chrysler have most of their assembly plants in Canada…..

    GM has most in Mexico…

    (I worked for an equipment supplier for the big 3 and have been to these plants as well as the ones they are building in China)

    Funny that Honda and Toyota have a majority of their plants in the US….and are building more

    maybe we should start looking into helping these auto manufacturers instead of trying to punish them…

    In my part of the country..(OHIO) I have 3 major Honda plants (Civic,Goldwing motorcycle and Accord) and 2 major Toyota plants (Camry and Tundra) but Zero GM and FORD… (they both moved out of the country)

    my question is what types of job education and relocation packages are being offered…

  13. Neil Hudelson says:

    Sam,

    In general, no if you are fired you won’t receive unemployment benefits. There are appeal processes though, so if you are fired unfairly–and can prove it to a reasonable degree–you can still get UI.

    f you are fired for being incompetent or, say, stealing from the company then you are SOL.

  14. Paula says:

    My unemployment benefits gave out at the end of May. I have tried to obtain a job, but I’m finding out that too many people are applying and my chances are slim to none (I haven’t stoppped to look, though)! If the extension goes through, would my benefits be restored for a time?

  15. […] have surpassed the 99-week statutory limit.  In actuality, the compromise legislation states that the entire unemployment benefits program, not just individual benefits, will be renewed.  Under the compromise, the two federally funded unemployment benefits programs—Emergency […]

  16. Trumwill says:

    If I’m not mistaken, you cannot collect if you’re fired — at least that used to be the rule. Has it changed?

    It depends on why you were fired. If you were fired with cause, Neil is correct. But they are supposed to be able to demonstrate cause if you contest it (show that you were written up, documentation that says why you were fired, etc). However, if you are fired without cause (ie there is no documentation, they just wanted you gone for whatever reason) then they do have to pay unemployment.

    I’ve been fired without cause before and did receive UE. My understanding is that this is actually the norm and you have to kind of piss off your former employer for them to go through the hassle of contesting your unemployment.