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Senators urge extension of COBRA, unemployment benefits

Senators urge extension of COBRA, unemployment benefits

MEDIA RELEASE

A group of 31 senators has sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus urging an extension of unemployment benefits and eligibility for the COBRA Premium Assistance Program through Dec. 31, 2010. The letter urged swift action on providing relief for unemployed Americans.

“As our nation continues to battle double digit unemployment rates, we must act right away to continue vital safety net coverage for the American family,” the senators wrote.

Statistics show nearly 40 percent of the unemployed – more than 6.1 million people – have been out of work for six months or longer. Many of those individuals and their families lost their health coverage when they lost their jobs. On average, a monthly health care premium payment to cover a family costs $1,111, which is 83.4 percent of the average unemployment check.

“Based on these figures, Congress must extend unemployment benefits and eligibility for the COBRA Premium Assistance Program through the end of the year,” the senators continued. “Short term extensions, while still helpful to families, only add strain to state agencies that must constantly re-tool their computer systems, and at the same time, continue to assist the millions still searching for work. As our economy continues on a path to recovery, we need a robust extension of safety net programs that have provided a lifeline to families since the recession began.”

The senators urged quick action on the extension of the unemployment insurance provisions in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act through December 31, 2010, including the Emergency Unemployment Compensation Program, full federal funding of the Extended Benefit program, an increase of $25 per week in state and federal benefits and the suspension of the federal income tax on an individual’s first $2,400 of unemployment benefits.

In addition, the senators urged the extension of the eligibility period of the COBRA Premium Assistance Program through December 31, 2010.

Last month, the Senate approved an extension of both programs through the end of February.

Full text of the letter:

Dear Majority Leader Reid and Chairman Baucus,

We are writing to urge an extension of unemployment benefits and eligibility for the COBRA Premium Assistance Program through December 31, 2010. As our nation continues to battle double digit unemployment rates, we must act right away to continue vital safety net coverage for the American family.

We appreciate your leadership in December in securing a two-month extension to both of these programs in the Department of Defense Appropriations bill. But recent employment numbers are an indication that we must immediately extend jobless benefits and health assistance for individuals and families squeezed in this tighter economy. Nearly 40 percent of the unemployed – more than 6.1 million people – have been out of work for six months or longer. The average duration of unemployment is now at 29.1 weeks.

What is more, many of those individuals and their families lost their health coverage when they lost their jobs. On average, a monthly healthcare premium payment to cover a family costs $1,111, which represents 83.4% of the average unemployment check. In some states, the average unemployment check is less than the cost of a monthly healthcare plan premium.

Based on these figures, Congress must extend unemployment benefits and eligibility for the COBRA Premium Assistance Program through the end of the year. Short term extensions, while still helpful to families, only add strain to state agencies that must constantly re-tool their computer systems, and at the same time, continue to assist the millions still searching for work. As our economy continues on a path to recovery, we need a robust extension of safety net programs that have provided a lifeline to families since the recession began.

We urge quick action on the extension of the unemployment insurance provisions in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act through December 31, 2010, including the Emergency Unemployment Compensation Program, full federal funding of the Extended Benefit program, an increase of $25 per week in state and federal benefits, and the suspension of the federal income tax on an individual’s first $2,400 of unemployment benefits. In addition, we must also extend the eligibility period of the COBRA Premium Assistance Program through December 31, 2010.

Due to the importance of these issues, we respectfully request a meeting with you to discuss how we can provide for an extension of both programs. We thank you for your consideration of our request. All of our offices are committed to ensuring our constituents are able to properly provide for their families during this difficult time.

Sincerely,

Bob Casey (D-PA)
Jack Reed (D-RI)
Tom Harkin (D-IA)
Sherrod Brown (D-OH)
Christopher J. Dodd (D-CT)
Jay Rockefeller (D-WV)
Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH)
Al Franken (D-MN)
Carl Levin (D-MI)
Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ)
Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)
Roland W. Burris (D-IL)
Arlen Specter (D-PA)
John F. Kerry (D-MA)
Kirsten E. Gillibrand (D-NY)
Ron Wyden (D-OR)
Edward E. Kaufman (D-DE)
Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)
Barbara Boxer (D-CA)
Bernard Sanders (I-VT)
Patrick J. Leahy (D-VT)
Robert Menendez (D-NJ)
Herb Kohl (D-WI)
Tom Udall (D-NM)
Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD)
Robert C. Byrd (D-WV)
Daniel Akaka (D-HI)
Jeff Merkley (D-OR)
Barbara Mikulski (D-MD)
Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)
Michael Bennet (D-CO)

79 Responses to “Senators urge extension of COBRA, unemployment benefits”

  1. Jim JOhnson says:

    Write these names down. These are the people who actually care about the families in their states. Thank god they care.

  2. jsmith says:

    Um, no they don’t. They want everyone to be dependent on government.
    The more people who depend on government, the more they’re assured of a permanent voting bloc.

    • llrich says:

      If you actually believe this ridiculous comment you made you are incredible unaware ,after living in three countries and being self employed with over 30 employees , you realize the most important thing are people that work for you and the same goes for you country
      I won’t bother going in to details about the after math or effects of not looking after their welfare, cause your opinion is so far fetch and self and ignorant …

      • michiganmom says:

        Exactly !!! If people can’t find work or they are back in school trying to get further education, etc. how does jsmith propose they feed their children, pay their bills, and basically survive? jsmith is obviously still employed and pretty heartless. However, with the economy still in the tank, jsmith may very well (& soon) find out how it feels to be on the other side of the coin!

    • A. Bautista says:

      Please forgive jsmith. He is so far off base. The rest of us understand the reality of sheltering, clothing, and feeding our children. God Bless the senators who wrote this letter.

      • Adrienne says:

        It never fails to amaze me how utterly steeped republicans are in denial– it’s definitely that gross cognitive dissonance thing– still going after all these years…

  3. Edwardo says:

    What they don’t tell you is that apparently, if you are in Tier 4 of benefits, you will not be extended beyond the allowed 99 weeks of extensions, hence you will be cut off completely, extension or not.
    Check out the national employment law project web site and newsletter
    released yesterday. Very informative and possibly very sad.

    • roachman says:

      Edwardo

      I dont think it stops at 99 weeks, I am on 106 and have 10 weeks to go. if it does stop at 99 weeks we are going to have the biggest depression this contry has ever seen. Until unemployement drops below double digits they’ll keep extending the weeks

      • Janet says:

        Edwardo, where do you live? This is the first I have heard of anyone over 99 weeks receiving any unemployment payments. are you sure?

  4. Jason says:

    Tier 4? 116 weeks? I was laid off in October 2009. Without this I’ll loose my benefits in April when the guaranteed 26 weeks expire. Glad to see both my senators are on this list. I already wrote a letter to both thanking them.

  5. Bill Foster says:

    Millions loose extended unemployment on March 1 2010.
    Millions go Homeless March 5 2010

  6. MichaelM says:

    jsmith. you are one cynical person. You either have a job or don’t need one because the people I know who need this help are seriously hurting. We spent billions in Iraq and it’s time to spend billions on Americans right now. Stats show that 100% of unemployment money goes right back into the economy. It’s barely enough to get by on as it is so it’s no luxury and it all gets spent on food, bills, etc..It’s not being placed in savings or being invested.

    Cut this off from people right now and you will see the economy tank to an unprecedented level with people then on food stamps and welfare. Or is that what you want to see so you have someone to blame? Yeah, I thought so.

  7. thefamilyguy says:

    GREAT NEWS! Hopefully, this will pass with ease. The job market, though improving, will continue to be awful throughout 2010. I found part time work after losing my job, but I’m still collecting partial benefits to make the bills. I’m disappointed there’s only 31 signers to this. I doubt Republicans will filibuster unemployment benefits extensions with unemployment at 10%. That would be political suicide.

  8. Susan says:

    It’s very simple, if America overlooks its’ unemployed American people and does not fix this current unemployment extension deadline and does not push back deadline through entire year of 2010, and 2011, it will be the end of America.
    There is over 7 million unemployed Americans and the number is rising every single day. These folks who are unemployed are seeking work every day, there hunting for jobs but jobs can not not be found and these hard working Americans who have paid there taxes are now faced with hard times and depend on there unemployment money to pay there bills, feed there families, and basically survive, to make all matters worse, the American unemployed folks have to wait around to see there fate while these lazy senators and all lazy government officials play political wars and have 3 hour lunches. Meanwhile, no jobs or job creations and no fixing of extension of benefits for the unemployed! CNN talks all day and night regarding the US economy recovery and the job creations; they are clueless media clowns lying to the American people! There is no need to watch America’s false news sources. It doesn’t matter if you qualify for a job or willing to accept any job at lower pay, there is no work out there and there is no recovery and we are not even close to recovery period, were in a deep recession and god forbid we are heading towards depression. Some companies have hiring banners waiving outside there buildings but after you apply you can call them back every day and you will still not be offered work because they have no jobs to offer anyone!

    • davedouty76 says:

      you are certainly right i am an out of work coal miner non union in wv. and have a family of 5 to take care of my unemployment extension is runing out in july and i am being told by my local office there is no more benifits available.unless officials get off there ass from there vacations and decide exactly if they want to save america or not. the rich get richer and the poor poorer. this is a poor excuse for a government. but they can pump billions into other countrys go figure. oh well i guess we can just starve until they decide what they want to do . depression is right no hiring in wv guess i have to go to work at mcdonalds.

  9. Andrew says:

    All these different lengths and extensions of unemployment are dependent on when you were laid off and filed for unemployment. To be able to collect 99 weeks, for example, you would have had to been laid off sometime in 2008. For me, I’m not getting 99 weeks of unemployment, unless Congress wants to make it up to me and give me another 33 weeks of benefits to catch up.

    I feel it’s important to extend the deadlines for unemployment for people to move forward within the federal EUC tiers. However, the extensions alone is not going to be of great help to those who are already into the EUC tiers. Congress needs to re-examine the lengths of the current EUC tiers and make some adjustments to their inidividual lengths. These tiers were patched together as time went on to keep people afloat in the short term. With more and more people being out of work much longer, they will fall through the cracks after exhausting all tiers at their current lengths. Perhaps one solution could be to lengthen Tier 3 (13 weeks), and Tier 4 (6 weeks) to 20 weeks of benefits for each tier. Also create a 5th Tier of benefits, with a length equal to or greater than 20 weeks. This would standardize the current tier system and people wouldn’t keep wondering what tier has what for benefits.

    • MaryM says:

      I was laid off in December 2008. In December 2009, UI called me and said I was eligible to file a brand new claim– which, she said, would be much better than relying on extensions. So I filed for a new claim and now I do not qualify to file any extensions. So I am just a LITTLE panicked… I hope legislation is passed to push the deadline back again.

  10. Edwardo says:

    From the National Employment Project Newsletter released 1/26/10 and I copy here:

    “As a final matter, many people are rightly asking if the Senate is considering adding more weeks (ie, a 5th tier) of benefits to the EUC program. The short answer is not at this time. Extending the programs themselves through the end of the year (which currently provide for up to 99 weeks of benefits in many states) is the first priority and because of the high cost, not a simple task. As much as we all know that more weeks are needed because of the severity of the recession, it is simply infeasible to consider adding more weeks at the present time.”
    Needless to say I wrote the White House, my Senators, and House Reps. over this issue. If the NELP is wrong, then no one will be happier than me.
    Also to answer “thefamily guy”, cheer up, the protocol in the Senate is for only the leadership to write the majority leader and the caucus so there are way more than 31 Senators in favor of extension.

    My question is (and Susan will enjoy this one) why when the President in his State of the Union Address, made a statement that we have to stop our jobs from going to China and elsewhwere overseas, that the republicans didn’t stand up and cheer, they just sat there like fat cats at the bank?

    Somehow keep the faith!

    • Mickey says:

      What they have been looking at is simply altering the dates that were on the extension that passed with the defense bill in Dec. pushing back the date for being able to file for an extension. As it stands at this second, if you are in a particular tier, you can collect until the end of that tier period allowed, but not move to the next tier if there is one. Whether you can continue to extend depends on the dates they insert in the bill. The last draft I saw that was worth anything, (not the one week stop gap thing), moved the filing date for EU to March 31st. That means in you are on state benefits now and they run out prior to 3/31 you would be eligible for a tier I extension. If your are currently on tier II and those benefits run out prior to 3/31, you would be able to move to tier III until those benfits ran out and tier III to tier IV likewise. The bill had in it that if your state there was 8.5% UE rate or higher, you qualified for an additional extension period. If you are currently on tier IV, there is no “current” legislation to provide a tier V to move to so when it runs out it runs out.

      However, what most Dems are looking for is an extension through Dec 2010 which would likely create another tier, but every bill so far has been scrapped or something so look for a last minute emergency bill to fall out of the sky over the next week that provides some kind of extension.

    • John Roberts says:

      Listen all, we need to start lobbying for a fifth tier extension, providing benefits beyond the current 99 weeks. The job market IS NOT improving and we all need help until jobs become available. Don’t delay on this, please.

    • davy says:

      yea im an laid off coal miner non union i wv im stuck between a rock and hard place on one hand you got obbama trying to get rid of coal mining putting a pinch on my jobs and the other no one wants to extend my un employment that runs out in july 2010 i have a family of 5 and i have sold just about everythimg i own to make ends meet i really dont know what else to do . i bet the crime rate goes up !!!!!!

  11. tom says:

    there may be more american jobs if they didnt allow forigners to come into this country and take our jobs,or send our products out of the country to be made,there is no reason americans cant make everything here in our country and keep the jobs here,then unemployment rates wouldnt be so high,just like alot of people have said if they dont do something soon this country will be in big trouble.i have been laid off since may 2009,i am looking for jobs,filling out applications everyday,but nothing yet,it get very frustrating trying to make a living and support my family on a low income.

  12. Larry. G. says:

    As unpopular as many see unemployment benefits extensions, it is the only income available to those who lost their job during the recession and are now unable to find new employment due to the poor job market. I strongly believe devastation would result when millions of Americans are left without any form of income.

  13. Don says:

    Its never to early to start contacting Senators. Remember last September when the last extension was supposed to pass; it was dragged out till November. Politicians (especially Republican Senators from Az, Ky, Ga, S.C.) played “political football” until our constant contact forced them to move forward. Final vote: 90 plus votes for extension.

    Start contacting Senators now!

    • michiganmom says:

      This is very true. Our Senators appear to move at the speed of molasses left outside in Michigan winter. Contact them asap or we will all be out in the cold soon. They have regular paychecks so the motivation level isn’t very high.

  14. Edwardo says:

    From The Huffington Post 1/29/10, article by Mary Bottari, Center for Media and Democracy and http://www.BanksterUSA.org:

    “Mark Zandi, top economist at Moody’s Investor Services, says that this type of income support is the “most efficient way to prime the economy’s pump.” Zandi calculated that for every $1 in unemployment benefits the government spends, it creates $1.69 in economic stimulus for the businesses in the communities where recipients live.

    Moreover, the Washington-based Economic Policy Institute calculated that if this income support were withdrawn and these dollars were to stop flowing through local supermarkets, pharmacies, utility providers, and lenders, an additional 800,000 jobs could by lost by the end of 2010.”

  15. Jean says:

    Note that not a single Republican is on the list. They should rename it the “Heartless Party.” And this is the same party that speaks of “family values.” Corporate values are more like it.

    • kt says:

      You go Jean!! You are so right on that one. I’ve always found it odd that Republican’s are always touting the values of God and proclaiming to be proud Christians. Christians at church believe in helping others and in helping those that are down and out. Apparently those believes do not carry through to Washington Republicans.

      • Adrienne says:

        Bottom line is the repubs JUST-DON’T-CARE– let’s face it.

        What more do people need to hear/see before they realize that??

    • michiganmom says:

      and yet the republicians keep getting re-elected… Go figure. Another one was just elected because the state was upset over the President’s health care push. Those same people need to realize that if the republicans won’t support unemployment benefits they won’t have to worry about health insurance because people that freeze to death being homeless or starve to death don’t need health care anyways.

    • Mickey says:

      Jean,

      That letter was from the Democratic non-leadership caucus to the Democratic leadership in the Senate…I hate to say it but the Rethugs aren’t offered the chance to sign it. It’s a letter from the senate Dem’s to their own leadership about the extension. Kind of a private memo within the party caucus…and if you see a Dem senator not on the list, it may be because they are part of the party leadership so the don’t usually sign memos or letters to themsleves.

      I would venture that a bill is forthcoming this week as there are some 1.2 million people that would loose benfits. Back in Dec. not one rethug voted against it albeit they let benefits expire for 200,000 and caught a lot of hell for it then. Now you have 6x as many, plus any family members. Want to PO 2 million + people with elections in the fall? Just say NO again and that’s all it will take. Won’t matter if they retro all the back money to the recipients, either. They’ll wait until the last second or wait until they can use it to leverage something they want from the Dems to get it.

    • MaryM says:

      I noticed that. After the last administration's shenanigans, nothing surprises me. What puzzles me is that their constituents are really hurting and they continue to deny assisting them.

      This job recession thing is NOT a partisan issue, though you wouldn't know it by the list of Dems who have supported it and continue to. I'll remember those names.

  16. Mike. P. says:

    Today, (2-2-2010), AIG is giving $100 million dollars in cash bonuses to employees whom in the past accepted salary cuts?
    Give me a F#@*!& break, The US Government hands over about $800 billion of American tax payers money to bail out banks but can not extend unemployment benefits to the millions of American people who can not pay there bills. Shame on America! I believe this country is heading towards catastrophe!

    • michiganmom says:

      ! said sooooo well !

    • Mickey says:

      Dude, it’s a political football…just look and listen at the GOP and their TEA bag lovers and now CPAC. Right wing wacko’s at their finest and the TEA baggers would throw everyone on UE under a bus to be able to keep more of their precious money to spend on making themselves more comfy than they already are.

      What is most likely is that the GOP wants it’s version of whatever jobs bill they propose, along with all their lovely tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy, to be what’s passed…and since that’s likely a bit down the highway, even they have to admit that any jobs bill will take months for an impact so they will use the jobless as leverage…and if you’re homeless it’s pretty tough to get a job…so they’ll piddle around with little extension chunks to keep the issue something they can leverage every 60-90 days when they want something else…and even THEY can justify to their wacko supporters that UE needs to be extended until THEIR jobs bill has time to work its magic, but we can’t cut off 5 million people between now and June because the new programs in the bill won’t have created enough jobs by then…they will pacify their kooks with a promise that jobs will be plentiful by Sept. or Oct. and after that, no more extensions…It’s a time bomb however whereby if lost and lots of jobs aren’t created by then, they will have 5 miilion folks cut off again and probably at least 5 million family members PO’d with them…You can’t PO 10 million + people right before elections and expect to win a majority of seats back from Dems.

    • George says:

      I agree Mike !! It's a shame to say the least. Obama must step in/speak up and shake up Harry Reid and his buddies What happened to the great Obama ?? The Main St man not wall st !!.What a phony ass h—. And i agree with you without a n extensions of unemployment benfits there will be a catastrophe !! Let's hope that these extension pass the 99 week mrak will be a amendment or a different tier it's a must. Thank you.

  17. Dee46 says:

    While they strut and preen and blow hot air and do nothing about really long term unemployment, the decision will be made when the 99 weeks is used up and millions of people have ZERO dollars for maintaining the basics of food, clothing and shelter. This is going to blow up in the face of the political do-nothing system. I will not vote for any republican for any office no matter who is running against them. Cold, self serving, and totally broken down as far as running this country or providing help for US tax payers. Give to the big business, mortgage companies, banks and all those who give
    BIG dollars to campaign funds. We don’t vote it in……the parties buy it in…..we just think we have real input. Sad broken system of reps that will do noting until it benefits them, their families, friends and campaign supporters. Its not the Republican party its a tank of sharks and we are the food.

  18. mike says:

    So what did the dem’s actually get accomplished when they had the super-majority to ACTUALLY get long term unemployment under wraps? They put all their effort and time into universal healthcare. If you think the left cares about your unemployment the way you think they do, you are blind.

  19. Burn Something says:

    Edwardo says:
    January 27, 2010 at 6:13 pm

    What they don’t tell you is that apparently, if you are in Tier 4 of benefits, you will not be extended beyond the allowed 99 weeks of extensions, hence you will be cut off completely, extension or not.
    Check out the national employment law project web site and newsletter
    released yesterday. Very informative and possibly very sad.

    There are no addition funds being added. You are correct.

    99 weeks is the “marker” for a normal state. Some states like Washington State have a higher allowable draw so You only get 60-65 weeks..other states with a lower draw might allow you to get over 100….and some states give more on the EB than the “marker” norm.

    5 Million people are baout to go homeless and without food. SOmething will burn…mark my words..things will be set on fire.

    Here in Chicago the past 2 weekends there have been mini-riots of 300+ people burning and fighting. It is about to become “REAL” real fast.

    • Mike. P. says:

      I think you may be 100% correct! I think if the American government turns it’s back on the millions of unemployed Americans there will be nationwide riots and fires, I also think people may attempt to burn down the homes of these senators, congressman and may also attempt to burn down the white house!

    • Mickey says:

      That’s WHY they will pass something at the last minute…even the Rethugs aren’t stupid enough to know that right after Feb 28 1.2 million will be without jobless benefits. Last time they dragged feet, it was only 200,000…it’s 6x more this time. They have elections this fall and want to take back the house and the senate? You gonna do this PO’ing probably 2 million+ people? they can tapdance all they want about budgets and deficits and debt but that won’t stop 2 million+ from forgetting that the party of NO was more interested in joining hands with their TEA baggers pals and wealthy benefactors to exceed to their wishes than it was in helping Americans in need. It won’t take long for the bomb to drop either…once all those people learn that the party of NO just said no to an extension, or tried to only pass it if THEY got things they wanted along with it and it died again, the phones and e-mails will light up like a Christmas tree and this time people won’t be polite. the lines at welfare offices and food stamp offices will swell like mad with people looking for some kind of help. It’ll be political suicide for the GOP NOT to pass something.

  20. Pamela says:

    Where are the percentages actually coming from for unemployment? Once dropped off the unemployment benefits, and have given up on finding any job that will pay enough to make a living; also, too old to complete with the 30-something job applicants, it doesn’t seem right to show only those percentages signed up with the unemployment office. I suppose that is where these bogus percentages come from! Billions of dollars are shelled out for unnecessary research (really lame research), along with passing it out to foreign countries (yes, they need help) but guess what!!! The citizens of the USA need help too!

  21. Julie says:

    I agree with you Andrew. Depending on ur lay off date you could be screwed. I am in my Tier 1 benefits now and can move to Tier 2 unless I exhaust Tier 1 by Feb 27 which I won’t exhaust until April 5th ish. Then I am screwed. So basically if I would have been laid off 6 wks earlier I would have longer benefits. Congress just needs to make it the same across the board to be fair to all. I dont know what to do.

  22. Julie says:

    Correction to my comment. That first can should be a can’t. As I did my math because I wasn’t laid off 6 wks earlier I lose around 45 wks of benefit if I can find a job. If anyone has and advice pass it along. I will be checking for new comments.

    Thx, Julie from Dallas Tx

    • Brigette says:

      Julie,
      My first extension of regular benefits started on Dec. 6, 2009. They won’t be exhausted until April 23. Does this mean I won’t get the second extension because I wasn’t laid off three weeks earlier?
      Brigette

  23. Julie says:

    I keep screwing up my typing. Meant if I can’t find a job I will be out 45 wks. One of the reasons I can’t find a job is that I don’t have my Masters in Social Work. Good ole Medicare reimbursement laws say most agencies who they pay benefits to must employ masters level. So basically my 4 yr bachelors degree isn’t good enough. Don’t we need SW’s right NOW?????

  24. Julie says:

    Go to http://www.Twc.state.tx.us/ui/bnfts/uiadditionalweeks.pdf. To see the way the tiers are set up for TX anyway. Not sure how other states are set up!!

  25. Christine says:

    There are some notable comments here, but I totally agree with Andrew’s comments. Tier IV should be extended until unemployment decreases (current numbers are skewed and much higher). If there are no extensions for “long term” unemployed, the economy will worsen. My UE check pays mortgage and buys groceries. I’ve lost faith in our government, bailing out banks, spending money on weapons for middle east. What a crock for many of us who have worked our entire lives to save a buck only to get screwed out of our retirements. I’m surprised there has not been a revolution in this country!

  26. Julie says:

    Yes Christine. I agree something very bad is going to happen for folks that don’t have anywhere to go after their benefits run out and they lose their homes Not everyone has family or friends that will take them in and there is only so much space at homeless shelters etc. Also many government programs have had to close down due to non-funding

  27. Liam says:

    I am a veteran of the Armed Forces, I gave 13 years until I was medically discharged, I do get a pension, which helps along with VA medical benefits, for the issues I have to live with for the rest of my life. My wife is a citizen of a European country. We BOTH have had enough of fighting with teh VA, my former employer to get back wages, potentially loosing our house., etc, etc!! SO….we are leaving the U.S. we have had enough. I am tired of fighting the government, the VA, the total hyper-inflated and over rated willingness of the politicians whom say they have our best intrest at heart. There are some politicians that do work on behalf of the people, that is what I call the famous 4 precent. thos are good people. As I write this, we have packed up our things and moved out. at least we were able to salvage something out of the house. se used our savings to ship some effects overseas. We are done. good luck and good bye

  28. ARNOLD E BROWN says:

    THE MAIN REASON WHY MAN WAS CREATED WAS TO HELP ONE OTHER AND TAKE CARE OF EACH OTHER WE SHOULD BE VERY HAPPY TO KNOW ONCE AGAIN WE HAVE FAIL GOD

  29. Tommy says:

    Because of the time I was laid off I am only going to receive 4 more weeks of unemployment. I am only on my first extension but it will not be exausted before february 27. This doesnt make alot of sense to me, all I can do is keep applying and pray that I will find A job. Best of luck to all of you!

  30. Jennifer says:

    I am in a horrible situation. I was out of work at the end of 2008 and in the first half of 2009 because I was having a baby and going through a move. I began working in May and was laid off in November, I have enough income to request an extension but since they are going off of the base period for last quarter of 2008 and first quarter of 2009 and since I did not work then I don’t get an extension, and my benifits ran out last week.

    If they pass a new bill for extension of unemployment benefits will it cover a more recent base period or will it stay the same? Is it different based on state to state?

    If they do, will I be able to collect even though my benefits were exhausted or can I re-file?

    If anyone has any information, that would be great

  31. rob says:

    I’m on tier 4. I have about 2k left. does this mean that is now gone and ther eis nuttn left or i can collect the rest

    • angela says:

      you will get all of the 99 weeks , as you are in teir 4, go by what your account says lol as it will soon say 0 these people keep up with this for sure please start calling congress now! as best believe you will reach your 99 weeks and be out , stuck like chuck,broke , busted and cant be trusted. peace

  32. Lucy says:

    If the final decision is no more extensions, effecting over 14 million people, there will be even LESS money that will be going back into our already sinking/struggling sad economy. Congress states that the continuation of benefits will hurt the deficit. I say that a discontinuation will not only hurt the deficit, it will DESTROY what is left of our economy.
    I also have a strong feeling that suicide rates would sadly skyrocket.

    We think we are in trouble now? The end result of stopping benefits would be catastrophic beyond our wildest imagination………

  33. Anne Saladino says:

    My benifits end 2/3/210 26 weeks of regualr unemployment does anyone know If I am eligiable for more? thanks

  34. Margie says:

    Anyone know what the latest status is of H.R.694 – the continuation of COBRA benefits from 18 months to 24 months? The extention of the premium subsidy is fine, but what about extending the length of time? I was laid off in July 2008, didn’t qualify for the subsidy and now have NO health insurance. As a 50+ person, that’s a pretty risky place to be!

  35. kevin says:

    im going to be laid off in this sept 2010. If i dont find a job and have to go on unemployement does this mean i wont be able to file extension in 2011 when my first 26 weeks runs out??? the dec 31st deadline is confusing

  36. marilyn says:

    i am just finishing my first extension..as i read this i too will be discontinued. imagine those families who need this!! the crime will also rise.
    too bad

  37. marilyn says:

    also…isnt this an election year????? i beleive we will be fine for awhile

  38. marilyn says:

    margie? go to your nearest hospital and ask them for an HCAP application(health care assistance program) you may be able to receive free care..or if your income is more than low you may be able to receive 60-75 percent free care.i am in cleveland and i do this through the cleveland clinic

  39. Carol says:

    This bill is misleading. On the surface it looks like it is helping all the unemployed. All it does is extend the time limit to apply for unemployment benefits. There is nothing in this bill for the long term unemployed. There are no more extensions beyond Tier 4. After their Tier 4 runs out there will be no more unemployment checks coming in for these people. The long term unemployed need a Tier 5 to survive. And by the time they get one if they do, many of these people will be homeless. The present unemployment system has let people down. The whole system needs to change. It is outdated. Complicated and ridiculous.

  40. Carol says:

    This is why the millions of jobless across this nation need to start an organization for the unemployed. I know there are some out there. But they do not seem to be getting much help for people. Maybe because the people in these organizations are not jobless. Takes someone who is experiencing being out of work to really understand what it is like starving and facing being homeless. Then you get more desperate to want to do something. Sure it pays to contact your Congressman or Senator or Governor. But it takes more then just individuals calling their reps to be noticed. If the unemployed had an organization that had millions of members then Congress would take more notice of them. And then maybe do something for a change. They know then that, that same millions can vote them out of office. The unemployed organization would need some one to lobby for them. They could maybe structure such an organization like a non-profit organization. To start out they could use one of the many free websites found on the Internet. Then ask for donations say maybe $5. or $10 dollars to help pay the cost of phone calls and postage and etc. Then you may see some action. Instead of sitting around hoping, praying and begging for another extension.

  41. Carol says:

    I will give you another suggestion. If you feel you are not getting anywhere with calling and faxing your Representatives. Then it is time to contact the news media. Write letters to the Editors, contact news reporters. Call in to radio shows. Even ask to be a guest on a radio talk show. This helps spread the word about the unemployment problems. And eventually the Congressmen and Senators may get into action and do something then. There is nothing like the news media giving the prod to Congress to wake them up to the fact people need help.

  42. lisa says:

    lets face the facts there are milllions unemployeed why? oh gee maybe cuz we dont want to work nomore FOR THE THOSE PEOPLE OUT there who dont know about unemployement let me tell u U EITHER GOT FIRED OR LAYED OFF so leave us ALONE its really irritating me how u people think bout us trust me when it happens to u we’ll be laughing im a mother of 2 kids whom had 2 jobs layed off both moved to 3 diff. states if that doesnt tell u anything then maybe when u losing yr job will hit us up the million americans until then………oh didnt u ever think if we all get unemployement it would happen to go back TO THIS ECONOMY anyway HELLO!

  43. lisa says:

    I want to give thanks to all that are helping us in some way and really seeing whats going on ITS NOT JUST HUNDREDS its in the millions that people are unemployeed.

  44. Lori says:

    If we can send funds to Haiti and Chile, and pay for two never-ending wars in the Middle East, we can help OUR unemployed!!!! We need help! I’ve worked since I was 16, now I’m 36. This is not how I thought my life would end up, but America is cheating us out of the middle class life we were promised. I don’t need flat screen TV’s, or fancy clothes, I need to pay my rent, utilites and buy food…period! Is that too much to ask until jobs start coming back?

  45. Kara says:

    We need someone to account for the interruption from the Unemployment Agency(s) snatching our Federal Additional Compensation(FAC) program funds, which were effective February 2009 until January 1, 2010 to be cunningly replaced with the facade of ECU08 tier programs. Visit the DOL.gov website here is the link: http://workforcesecurity.doleta.gov/unemploy/pdf/partnership.pdf
    if it doesn’t link you just copy and paste.
    Here you will find the following information that I’ll either quote if I can not copy and paste from the PDF. “In periods of national recession, when all states are impacted by high and sustained unemployment, federally-funded programs of supplemental benefits have been adopted occasionally. There were two such programs during the 1970’s, one during the early 1980’s, one during the 1990’s, and one during the early 2000’s. Currently, the Emergency Unemployment Compensation program of 2008 (EUC08)is effective from July 2008, through December 2009, and the Federal Additional Compensation (FAC) program is effective from February 2009 through January 1, 2010.
    Please start reading from the beginning “Introduction’ and don’t stop! Good Luck! I am starting a petition on change.org for FAC; please sign and support O-U-R C-A-U-S-E!!!!!!!!!

  46. Kara says:

    Snatching our Federal Additional Compensation(FAC) program funds for 2/2009 thru 1/1/2010
    Here is the link: http://www.change.org/petitions/view/snatching_our_federal_additional_compensationfac_program_funds_for_22009_thru_112010

  47. bob jones says:

    Now is the time for congress to act in passing tier 5 unemployment extention till the end of 2010 or when jobs come.We are in dire needs of these benefits to just survive.Most of us have lost health ins.,IRA,s,pension plans,savings,etc..Remember we did not quit our jobs we lost them to the economy.A majority of us are falling off our 99 weeks tier 4 weekly,as we lose benefits ,we will no longer be counted as unemployed showing false (better numbers)We will be loosing our cars & houses next help us now.Go AMERICA & God be with us..

  48. Willie says:

    I agree with most of you about extending the Unemployment via the establishment of 2 more tiers: iv & v

    I also urge many of you to do some reading on how to spell and the proper grammar to use in your responses. We, as a society in whole, are becoming a nation of illiteracy due to laziness in not continuing to ensure we can speak, read, and write our English language properly. The library is free to all!!!

    Examples: if we "loose" our benefits should be "lose"

    if I am not "elibeable" should be "eligible"

    Come on everybody! Let's teach our children proper English, rather than some "made-up" resemblance.

    Willie in Florida

  49. vickie bailey says:

    Thankyou senators for trying to help the unemployed american people. I sent a letter to my congressmen in GA but I don’t see their names trying to help the georgians. I can promise you they won’t get my vote to be re-elected. I hope all unemployed georgians feel the same way. I as real glad we do have some people that care about their people and how lucky they are to have them. All our government in Ga is how they can help theirselves. I hope we vote everyone of them out!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  50. Matt says:

    Im 28 years old and may go homeless! Ive worked hard my hole life and definitely dont look like a homeless type. Please approve a tier 4 for Hawaii!!

  51. kathy says:

    send in the people who. expot hispanic.in our cpt mills and we won’t have any more proublems.finding work.they are everywhere in our town.all govement offices.and so rude.ship them all back.and we can have our county back.sick and tired of them.we wont our job’s back.go back home.

  52. mick says:

    Screw Cobra, help the unemployed by providing a fifth and sixth tier of un employment. Do it NOW!

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