Tax Cut Plan Doesn't Help Long-Term Unemployed

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press
Anyone who

In this July 20, 2010 photo, Cedric James, left, Admissions Director with MyComputerCareer.Com meets with a prospective job applicant at a National Career Fairs Job Fair in Plano, Texas. New jobless claims fell last week for the third time in four weeks, but remain above 450,000, where they have been all year. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

WASHINGTON -- The tax-cut bill President Barack Obama is expected to sign Friday renews unemployment benefits for millions of unemployed people. But it does nothing for hundreds of thousands who have been unemployed so long they've used up all benefits available to them.
In the 25 states with unemployment of at least 8.5 percent, people can receive up to 99 weeks in aid. In other states, the unemployed get less than 99 weeks -- in some cases just 60 weeks, according to the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities.
The bill keeps 99 weeks as the maximum anyone can receive. It doesn't provide any more weeks of benefits to people who have reached the limit in their state. Those who have exhausted all benefits are sometimes known as "99ers," even though the duration of their benefits varies by state.
The legislation renews federal programs that extend benefits beyond the 26 weeks states always provide. The extended benefits expired Nov. 30.
The Labor Department says it doesn't know how many Americans have already used all jobless benefits. But the number reaches well into the hundreds of thousands.
In California, 5,000 unemployed people use up their extended benefits each week. And 274,185 will have exhausted 99 weeks of benefits by the end of the year.
In Florida, 105,011 people have run out of benefits. In New York, 125,284 out-of-work people have stopped receiving unemployment checks because they've exhausted their 99 weeks of benefits.
Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., in August introduced legislation that would help the 99ers by tacking on another 20 weeks of benefits. But her bill has gone nowhere in a Congress that's been reluctant to spend more federal money to jolt the economy.

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  • by Anonymous on Dec 20, 2010 at 05:22 AM
    Why is anyone surprised about this? The same thing happened in the 1980's and people left MI in droves heading to Texas or down south. They had totally run out of unemployment. There are states in this country where unemployment is always high, and yet people somehow manage to keep going. Hate to say this but been there done do what you have to do when everything else fails.
  • by FactCheck Location: MI-7 District on Dec 18, 2010 at 09:21 AM
    JDoe, Demon, and Stan. You obviously have jobs and have NO IDEA of what it is like to be unemployed. Until you have been there, you have NO RIGHT to criticize. As for being lazy, I don't hear you saying anything about the CEOs and top management of companies that sit on their lazy butts all day pushing paper drawing over $75K plus benefits a year.
  • by Jdoe Location: Brooklyn on Dec 17, 2010 at 01:25 PM
    Aww, no more unemployment for them? Too bad, so sad. 99 weeks is almost 2 YEARS! The state needs to start paying attention to the people receiving unemployment and set stricter guidelines about proving that recipients are actually applying for jobs! You cannot tell me that a person can't find ANY job in 99 weeks. People just don't want to work and they think they are above working somewhere like a fast food place or gas station. They should have cut off the unemployment sooner.
  • by Demon Location: West Lansing on Dec 17, 2010 at 01:05 PM
    Unemployment was designed to help people for a brief period of time until they get back on their feet....not a way of life by drawing a paycheck and half-halfheartedly (if at all) look for a job. Michigan has the most lazy workers I have ever seen in my life. Here's a noble concept: Work hard, earn your keep, show some pride, and quit expecting something for nothing all the while believing that somebody or some government owes you something! The whole concept of 99 weeks of unemployment invites people to be lazy. Most people think they are too good for minimum wage, but in life you have to do what you have to do. Life sucks-buy a helmet!! Put some effort into job seeking and you will find one!
  • by stan on Dec 17, 2010 at 10:34 AM
    Come on, if you can't find a job with in a year you're obviously not looking to hard! Maybe you need to adjust your way of living and start a new career path. Stop milking the system!
  • by GonzoG Location: East Lansing on Dec 17, 2010 at 09:49 AM
    Nothing will help the long term unemployed(or underemployed). Potential employers require a laundry list of certifications in addition to "current experience". Your best bet to get a job if you have been unemployed for more than six months is to shoot yourself and hope there is such a thing as reincarnation. Maybe your reincarnated self can get a job when you grow up again.
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