52 Percent of Unemployed No Longer Eligable For Benefits
It’s not exaggerating to say that we have an employment crisis in America. Despite the recession ending, we still have unemployment rates hovering at 9 percent. But among the nearly one in ten unemployed Americans lies an even deeper crisis.
Over half of those people are no longer receiving any type of unemployment benefit.
According to the Associate Press, only 48 percent of unemployed are actually receiving checks, which means that 52 percent of them have already exhausted all of the financial assistance the government can currently offer them via unemployment benefits. “Government unemployment benefits weren’t designed to sustain people for long stretches without work. They usually don’t have to. In the recoveries from the previous three recessions, the longest average duration of unemployment was 21 weeks, in July 1983. By contrast, in the wake of the Great Recession, the figure reached 41 weeks in September. That’s the longest on records dating to 1948. The figure is now 39 weeks.”
Unemployment extensions are one area that is likely to be up for cuts should the supercommittee reach a budget deal in mid-November. Also up for potential cuts? Disability benefits, food stamps, welfare, housing vouchers, and other programs that those who have exhausted their full unemployment benefits are now using instead to stay alive. Meanwhile, the GOP congressional leaders are on the one hand trying to block the American Jobs Act that could help put workers back in jobs, and refusing to consider tax increases as a way to pay for not cutting government assistance programs.
At the end of 2010, the Republicans held an unemployment benefits extension hostage until the Democrats agreed to extend the Bush era tax credits for millionaires. Now, they are holding the unemployed hostage again, but this time, it’s in order to play for the White House.
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