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Unemployment Benefits Extended

This article was written by in Career and Work. 102 comments.


After some false starts, Congress has passed a bill to renew the extension to federal unemployment benefits. Federal benefits begin when state benefits end. With the extension in effect, jobless individuals qualify for benefits for a total of 99 weeks. The most recent extension expired on June 2, and this new bill extends the deadline retroactively.

Anyone wishing to claim unemployment benefits can now do so until the end of November.

I am sure there are some people who use unemployment benefits as a crutch. They may be less motivated to find work if they have a check from the state coming in each month, even if that check is small. The majority of former workers just want to get back to work. Unemployment is detrimental to future career growth, even if that unemployment is not the fault of the employee. With few jobs and many applicants, employers can be very selective with their new hires, and unemployed job applicants can’t get in the door because their resumes doesn’t look as attractive as those of applicants with continuous employment.

Published or updated July 22, 2010. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.

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About the author

Luke Landes is the founder of Consumerism Commentary. He has been blogging and writing for the internet since 1995 and has been building online communities since 1991. Find out more about Luke Landes and follow him on Twitter. View all articles by .

{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Investor Junkie

“I am sure there are some people who use unemployment benefits as a crutch. They may be less motivated to find work if they have a check from the state coming in each month, even if that check is small.”

I believe much more often than what people and the economists realize. I can directly attest for this is true. My mother, who is 63, did exactly just this. I won’t go into the details of my mother’s financial situation, but let me just state she needs to keep working to support any type of retirement.

During her unemployment she found two jobs and bitched how they were difficult and quickly quit both. She then proceeded to get unemployment benefits again for almost a total of 2 years. She told me flat out she would rather collect unemployment than work. Of course I was annoyed at my mother’s thought process, but it’s a rational thing to do. Hence do not expect the unemployment number to go down anytime soon. In addition our administration has the idea of private sector job creation so far down on their list.

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avatar No crutch here, Educated but unemployed

This person is a biased, unfeeling, and ignorant jerk. His beliefs are formed by an extremely limited sample, biasing his viewpoint. The checks I did receive for 6 months were a pittance when compared to my previous salary and benefits. It was almost nothing, certainly not a crutch to depend on. The limited funds are now depleted. I had achieved expert status in my field, but my personal and emotional life was suffering and became worse when my job disappeared. When I did secure another position, the funding was cut, and I never was able to start. This “Investor Jerkie” is a likely a fat cat, living off other people’s toiling. The current situation is causing strife in my economic being, my marriage, and constraining relationships with my barely adult children. Those comments were biased and likely incorrect for the majority of people.

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avatar Greg McFarlane

Ooh…name-calling! Can I play? “Dope Moron D-Bag!”

Seriously, what purpose does it serve to call a commenter a jerk? Even if you’re right, and the commenter is a jerk, does calling him one advance the discussion?

See, the moniker was originally “Investor Junkie”, but now it’s “Investor Jerkie”! Isn’t that clever?

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avatar Investor Junkie

“No crutch here, Educated but unemployed” Yes I’m one of those “fat cats” that own a business and that the administration loves to vilify. Truth be told I create jobs for someone like you. The current economic policies setup nothing to assist small business help create jobs in the private sector. This is not just me talking, but a sampling of other small business owners I speak with on a monthly basis. I’m not creating jobs because there is too much economic uncertainty some truly based upon the growth, but most based upon the poor policies towards small businesses: the tax increases, the heath care law, the increase size of government, increase in regulation, special interests funding, ignorance of case law, etc.. etc.. etc…

No jobs from small businesses, means no job for you. Small businesses are typically 70%+ of employment in this country.

So how many years should we have unemployment that in reality really only moves money from the productive to the unproductive? 3, 5, lets make it 10 years! On simple terms, it’s a transfer of wealth and realty does not create jobs! Keep in mind also if my business goes under, like most small business owners I don’t get unemployment. “This “Investor Jerkie” is a likely a fat cat, living off other people’s toiling.” You of course have the 100% backwards, as constantly working my butt off putting in 70+ hour work weeks. Yet I am the one that must take on all of the risks. Why??? Who is John Galt?

So keep on blaming people like me and calling me a jerk. The economic realty won’t change. I’m sorry you’ve lost your job. In the end, this is a very painful lesson for you. You must rely on yourself and not the government teat as they aren’t there to really help you. All they do is make you more dependent upon them.

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avatar Financial Samurai

Unemployment money is our money though. We pay for it in our paychecks and “accumulate” a nice some after time.

Nothing wrong with getting our money back when we need it.

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avatar Investor Junkie

I agree with you on this, but our government does not allocate it this way. I would much rather each person had their own Flexible Unemployment Account. Heck, they can’t even do Social Security this way.

In reality what you say is a myth it’s not accumulated. It goes down that sinkhole call our government.

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avatar Wojo

From what I understand about Social Security, it’s a similar setup. Supposedly, we have a large SS surplus “somewhere,” but in reality it was used up by the Fed to fund other things and now *surprise, surprise* cannot be repaid.

Maybe it’s time to implement the *gulp* lockbox. LOL

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avatar Greg McFarlane

Sam illustrates a point, that government intervention requires more government intervention to temper the negative effects of the original intervention.

If it’s our money to begin with, why is the government confiscating it in the first place? The implicit message is, “Citizen, you’re too stupid to save for a rainy day. Let us, your bettors in the political class, hold on to that money for you. If you need it, we’ll give you some. If not, it’s ours.”

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avatar Financial Samurai

It’s amazing the government thinks we are all stupid. Government wants power, that’s the name of the game.

The gov’t should have used the $400 billion still left over from the bailout fund.

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avatar Apex

This is not correct for the federal extensions.

State unemployment is paid for out of our paychecks. They typically last 26 weeks. The federal extensions for 99 weeks are pure welfare. It’s not paid for out of anyone’s check and there is no federal program that collects money for these extensions. Now to be fair, lots of people are getting welfare these days, banks, car companies, cash for clunkers, housing tax credit, etc. But these extensions of unemployment are not paid for, it’s just another form of welfare.

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avatar Wojo

Interestingly enough, Floridians will not get this new extension because our state legislature didn’t pass a bill that would allow the Federal money to flow down. Barring any special legislative sessions, the earliest that can happen (I think) is September.

@Sam: Agree with you to an extent, but I doubt any of us have paid in 99 weeks’ worth into the “fund.” But I suppose extraordinary times call for it… (and will hopefully be made up by future and past times of prosperity).

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avatar Apex

See my comment above, it won’t be made up. Unemployment Insurance is a state program and no future money paid into the state will flow to the federal budget to offset these extensions. The federal extensions are not related to the state programs in any way. They are pure welfare.

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avatar Edward - Entry Level Dilemma

I collected unemployment one summer when I knew that I had a job waiting for me in the fall and unemployment was easier than working at 7-11 for 3 months.

One of the problems with how unemployment is set up is that it’s administered at the state level. Over the last decade, I have paid a few thousand dollars into NJ’s unemployment fund (in NJ, it’s a separate tax, so if I were to check my w-2′s, I could determine exactly how much I’ve paid in). But now I live in Colorado, so I’m only eligible based on what I’ve paid in here.

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avatar Harm

When someone has collected unemployment for 99 weeks,
that is long enough, imho. The country can’t afford that sort
of entitlement. People have to settle for a less lucrative job for a while.
I’m the world’s laziest person, and I have been on unemployment
for a while in my life, but this is ridiculous.

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avatar Edward - Entry Level Dilemma

That’s assuming that a less lucrative job is even available to them. In my last bought of unemployment, before the seasonal job I just finished, I applied to all 4 Walmart’s, 3 BestBuys, 2 Targets, 2 Radio Shacks, a Kmart, 8 groccery stores, and more than two dozen fast food resteraunts. All had open positions listed. I got a grand total of one interview, and no offers.

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avatar Jenna

Seems like the money could be going to enrichment and re-education programs to help the unemployed get stronger skill sets and thus find a job faster. Being able to get unemployment for almost two years seems a little bit out of control.

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avatar Edward - Entry Level Dilemma

While those programs are helpfull, they aren’t as helpful as many people think. The job market is such a buyers market right now that companies can require x years of experience in those skills, so the new college or re-education graduate doesn’t really have a chance at those skilled positions.

And, as the NYT pointed out Sunday, programs like re-education and food stamps, while helpful, don’t pay the rent/mortgage.

I know plenty of people struggling to find work that have plenty of needed skills. There are just more job seekers than jobs right now. What is needed most is job creation, not skills creation.

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avatar Jenna

Good point. Well then why doesn’t the government take the money and invest it in growing companies that could use the extra capital to get a boost to the next level and thus hire more employees?

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avatar Candide

There are 5 applicants for every job out there. What skills, enrichment and re-education are going to help people if there’s simply nothing out there?

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avatar Eddie

At my sisters employer, a grocery store, they’ve reached triple-digit applications for every minimum wage job that opens up.

Even assuming a large percentage of scammers amongst the current jobless population, the facts remain: there is a dearth of jobs available by almost any measure one can take, keeping people spending money is the only way to create new jobs, and a large jobless population with no money coming in whatsoever is pretty much an invitation to collapse.

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avatar Wojo

I feel bad for the teens out there who want to get a bit of job experience while they’re young, but they’re essentially blocked out by the unemployed population. In the long run, I wonder about the effects–will we have a generation of under-job-skilled or will we see more entrepreneurship, self-employment, etc…

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avatar PvtRyan

I made 50k last year and you can believe that I am not looking for a job at walmart, best buy, mc donalds or any other slave labor establishment! I would make more on unemployment and I am not getting out of bed for $300-400 a week!

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avatar Robert Muzingo

Greed is a mighty big thing, an it grows. This is the most obvious of all the things the Economy has gone though. I hear all the things people said about the liberals verses conservative. Greed knows no group or class. Judge not for you will be judged. Both of , an all of us have created this mess. It’s cost, if it should ever be repaid, will cost most of what I , an everyone else make in our lifetime. Rich an poor alike. a balanced budget. I don’t think so. It will be repaid none the less through the way it was taken. Stocks though the market that created it. Government though the taxes it took. The people the way they take an not pay what it worth. Businesses that take from the consumer, without a thought about what they need or want. Where the bottom line is the most important. The answer the Big D , my grandfather grew-up there.

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avatar Money Smarts

As mentioned by some above, right now at 99 weeks – if you can’t find a job in that time period – almost 2 years – something is wrong. Either you’re not applying for jobs you’re qualified for, you’re living in a market where there are no jobs to be had, or you’re just not accepting jobs that aren’t up to your standards. In any event, I think that the current unemployment benefits are way out of whack – and far too many people are using and abusing them.

For the people saying that they can’t find a job – you’re probably not looking hard enough. If you look, there IS something available somewhere – just maybe not at the pay or prestige that you were hoping for.

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avatar gr8fl,yes.

Lifetime hard worker here, in shock about unemployment, lack of employability after years in my field: Accessed this page hoping for some helpful info on how to responsibly navigate the rules, discover what was possible, how to stay positive, leverage this personal downturn ala Apollo 13, yada yada. What do I see but anger, blaming, negativity, even borderline hatred. Wow. So this is what it’s come to with the human race by the year 2010. Anger, one-sided viewpoints, know-it-allism, lack of empathy, one-upsmanship. What would enlightened aliens think? What are we advertising to all who would observe (our children, for instance)? I for one do know how hard I’ve worked, how many crummy strikes were dealt me from before birth, how much I’ve tried to ‘pull myself up by my bootstraps, how it is to be a small business owner, a federal employee, a low-wage worker, a female worker in a man’s work world, a single white female without dependents or tax write-offs, a disabled worker in the workforce, a dedicated volunteer, and on and on. What I could use is helpful, guiding info, which I could then in turn pay forward – not this embittered, partisan, close-minded vitriol. I’ve worked it all, I’ve lowered, and raised, and begged, and grovelled, and been enterprising, and made mistakes. If you have to point out the mistakes of others with such gusto you guys, you haven’t really become enlightened yet. Get it? Please, come down from your blog perches, and share something that doesn’t use the mistakes/misfortunes of others to boost yourself but instead uses your superior knowledge, experience and intellect to be the rising tide that floats all boats, eh? We of the inferior-ness could use some helpful info with which to levitate by our our own bootstraps. The info could make the difference for someone in need, and I guess when all boats are floating, that means less crime for all of you, and me. Thanks. And may each of you find that your words and conduct during these daunting times become beacons for those who will follow in your footsteps – your progeny. Peace, self-awareness, and prosperity to you all. I’ll keep searching for the guidance I could use right now.

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