Democrats Urge Extension of Federal Unemployment Insurance Program
Welcome to the Ways and Means Democrats’ eCall to extend Unemployment Insurance.
Unemployment benefits are a vital lifeline for American workers who are jobless through no fault of their own. These programs help Americans continue to put food on their table and pay their bills while they look for work.
Federal unemployment programs, which now provide benefits to millions of Americans, will immediately and completely stop during the week of December 28, 2013. If Congress doesn't act and these benefits are allowed to expire, over 1.3 million Americans will be cut off from federal unemployment compensation.
Economists agree that providing extended unemployment benefits is one of the most effective job creation strategies available during a period of high joblessness. Every dollar of unemployment compensation spent creates $1.52 in additional economic activity. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that extending the benefits for another year would create 300,000 jobs.
Ways and Means Democrats are calling on Congress to extend the federal emergency unemployment insurance program past this year end cut off. Congress must act soon so that unemployed workers and their families have the security that the rug is not about to be pulled out from under them and our economy has the confidence that workers will be supported while they look for jobs.
The report with state-by-state information can be found here. Key summary points include:
- Average weekly EUC benefit has dropped $42 to $256 a week due to sequestration
- Unemployment benefits (# of weeks) have dropped by more than a third in the last two years, according to CRS
- Economy still has 2 million fewer jobs than before Great Recession began
- 36% of unemployed have been out of work for more than six months
- Failure to extend UI would cost economy 310,000 jobs, according to EPI
- Almost 1.9 million more would lose UI in the first half of 2014 as their state benefits run out
- 1.3 million will lose UI the week of Dec. 28
The Committee is interested in hearing your thoughts on extending these benefits and on proposals to create new jobs. Through this eforum we want to gather the information Congress needs to understand conditions in American communities across the nation. We welcome your comments on any of the following:
Have you or someone in your family lost a job? Are you struggling to find work or to learn new skills? Tell us your story.
How have unemployment insurance benefits affected your life? Have they helped you pay your bills or stay in your home? Tell us your story.
What kind of job training or reemployment assistance programs are in your community? Did you receive training or job search assistance? Tell us your story.
Posting online: Selected stories, or story excerpts, will be posted online. Posted stories will, by default, include only your first name, city and state. Your full name and email will never be posted online or provided without your permission.
Your story will be kept as part of the record of this forum. And this site will be updated with selected stories or relevant portions thereof as the days go on.
Lynn from St. Clair Shores, Michigan:
“If it were not for UI and the extensions I received, I would probably be homeless right now. Because I was able to pay my utilities and mortgage, I was able to job hunt every day…
Donna from Westland, Michigan:
“It was months after my job ended before I finally applied for Unemployment - I thought I'd have a job any day now. Of course I had to cancel cable and internet among other things, but receiving Unemployment insurance allowed me the dignity to keep my car going and not be a burden on family and friends. Thank God for the EU extension. Unemployment helped me over a rough road and now I’ve found a job and I’m fine. My brother just lost his job of 29 years. He paid in all that time and served in the marines prior to that. I hope he gets the support he needs and deserves from unemployment.”
Jeff from Clinton Township, Michigan:
“I have 2 young daughters (ages 5 & 2) and have been out of work since Jan 2012 and now they tell me that EUC is expiring… I will probably not make it through the winter without UI assistance and may lose my house.”
Shelley from St. Clair Shores, Michigan:
"I have a bachelor’s degree and a Certified Management Accountant designation along with 14 years of experience. I have been laid off twice in the past three years due to economic needs of the company. I have diligently searched for new positions through job boards and by networking in my professional and alumni associations. I worked continuously for thirty years before this without claiming unemployment compensation. The unemployment compensation I have received has helped me pay my bills and I have gratefully not missed any mortgage or utility payments. Please continue the unemployment compensation until this job market has improved to the levels before this huge recession. This is still the worst economy I have experienced in my lifetime."
David from Southfield, Michigan:
"As a Library Director in SE Michigan, I see people come in daily to look through job listings online and in the newspaper. These are people who WANT to work, but due to the economic crisis have lost their jobs. Some of these people are desperate and willing to take anything that will help them get back to work, only to be told they are overqualified and turned away. Employers don't want to invest in training someone who will leave for a higher paying job when the economy improves so these folks are stuck… I implore Congress to not remove these funds… This is the best work government can do - help its citizens when life has knocked them down."
Rose from North Ridgefield, Ohio:
“Sadly, I have been unemployed for 8 months now...I have had 30-35 "great" interviews only to find out after each interview that I was not the candidate of choice. I am very grateful to be receiving unemployment benefits… I don't know what I, along with millions of other unemployed American workers will do if Congress fails to extend these benefits. I have always worked and never depended on the US Government to take care of me and my family... It's because of the weekly unemployment benefits that I have been able to put food on my table and continue to stay above water with the bills... I am grateful for it but I need to get back in the work force and make a living for myself once again!”
Janet from Middletown, New Jersey:
“NJ has been devastated by the hurricane. Unemployment is up higher than most states and if they take this away we will definitely fall into poverty. Please they must extend unemployment benefits.”
Darryl from Benton, Maine:
“… first time in my life I lost my job. I have a student loan to pay, a mortgage and a wife and pets to feed. I am looking actively for work and cutting the unemployment when I am in the middle of job searching ( which costs money to do) will make things much more difficult. I also had major car repairs and can't afford a new vehicle in this situation, so cutting off unemployment insurance will hinder the car repairs. I need the car for work. I must maintain my computer access and printer ink and supplies for job searches and gas is costly. I am close to finding work, and my job search progress could be hindered significantly by this cut. This is counterproductive and destructive to job acquisition, especially in an economy where jobs are very competitive. Please do not set us back. This will only further destroy the economy.”