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.




Related Stories:

Extended Unemployment Benefits May Get Axed

Revenues, Maybe. Taxes? Still No.

Food Stamp Use Rises As Employers Refuse To Pay Living Wages

Photo credit: wikimedia commons


Lika S.
Lika P6 years ago

This is why we need to promote job creation.

Glenn M.
Glenn Meyer6 years ago

Nancy L.,

There are no jobs.

Shirley Marsh
Shirley Marsh6 years ago

How about a 20% across the board tax for all (including corporations and CEOs), on gross income? Then everybody shares in the provision of equal opportunity for all including education, health, infrastructure and social welfare for those who fall through the gaps.

For the physically and mentally able, social welfare should be tied to working for those benefits. To avoid the 'slave labour' accusation, divide the minimum wage per hour into the weekly social benefit payment and you get the number of hours a person can legitimately be required to work for their benefits, thereby weeding out the 'dole bludgers' and leaving people with genuine problems with their dignity intact and with time to continue seeking employment. Re-training should be included in the 'work' category, and there are many community needs that could benefit from this requirement.

A country is only as strong as its weakest link; without a rethink on social policies, and placing a priority on health and education, and developing a free market system that embraces social and fiscal responsibility, things look pretty bleak in our 'developed' world!

Thomas Liddle
Thomas Liddle6 years ago

Also, recall 5 years ago, they said the need for teachers would make it a growing field for certain. Fool-proof. Funny story about that...

Thomas Liddle
Thomas Liddle6 years ago

Unless you want America to turn third-world, you gotta rescue these people. Face it, an entire generation has been lost here, and the next will be quick to join them unless we do something.

Your feeble and easily deconstructed "there are jobs" argument, Nancy, is like bailing the tide off the beach, except you're already up to your neck in it and there's nowhere to go. Not just for you silly, for all of us.

Thomas Liddle
Thomas Liddle6 years ago

Nancy, while I agree that your job is to look for a job, what is the longest you yourself have spent unemployed, or without means of support? Is your occupation one of the only ones which is growing? Did you know that going in? How did you know? You have to realize that's going to color your perception of the situation.


This of course, doesn't account at all for underemployment. What do you do when working 16 hours a day between burger king and mcdonald's is all our failed education systems and dismal economic situation has prepared you for; when lack of sex education has left you ignorant about contraception until it was too late, and you were too young by any stretch; when your deadbeat baby daddy who was still a baby himself can't hold a job because he's too depressed to spend a single second slightly sober? This is happening. You can talk about the depravity of the poor, yet you stand against extending a helping hand for the same reason. If unemployment came with mandatory schooling in economically relevant fields according to aptitude, we wouldn't have this problem. Or if the education system prepared you even for higher education, much less real life. Relevant education and health care are considered by our generation to be basic human rights, yet there are formidable barriers for young families and the working poor. Unless you want America to turn third-w

Nancy L.
Nancy L6 years ago

If you're unemployed, you actually DO have a job - it's TO LOOK FOR A JOB. Full time. Yes, there are jobs out there. Problem is the people sitting back taking in their almost endless unemployment checks think the jobs should come to them. All these people occupying Wall St and such, why aren't they out looking for jobs?? Instead they're getting in peoples' way on the street and accomplishing nothing.

Thomas Liddle
Thomas Liddle6 years ago

STATUS QUO: http://www.economist.com/blogs/dailychart/2011/09/employment

I can't believe you right wing corporate shills haven't responded to my excerpts from the public compendium on bush's economic policies:

"Growth in consumer spending was 72% faster than growth in income.

Despite growth levels below previous levels...

A significant driver of economic growth during the Bush administration was home equity extraction, in essence borrowing against the value of the home to finance personal consumption. Free cash used by consumers from equity extraction doubled from $627 billion in 2001 to $1,428 billion in 2005 as the housing bubble built, a total of nearly $5 trillion dollars over the period. Using the home as a source of funds also reduced the net savings rate significantly.[64][65][66]

This is not a health-care debate. This is a question of which economic principles actually create jobs, and whether or not certain theories produce results at all. Trickle down voodoo economics is in the latter category.

Where the jobs really are: http://www.economist.com/blogs/dailychart/2011/09/employment
You're either serving bullets, sweatshop retail, or pinkslime burgers with 100% beef.
This is the status quo.
Go ahead, defend it.

Frances C.
Frances C6 years ago

Yep, the rich make more in one year or one month than we will make in a lifetime.

Gina P.
Regina P6 years ago

Seems like businesses need to stop their practice of not hiring people because they have been out of work too long. How will these people ever find work??