Unemployment Benefits in Eight States "Ended" in May
Despite Congress having extended long-term unemployment benefits earlier in the year, unemployment benefits for displaced (aka unemployed) workers in eight states have been cut off 13 to 20 weeks earlier than expected.
This now means around 400,000 displaced workers in 27 states have prematurely lost their benefits this 2012, with 70,000 more expected to join their ranks over the month of June, according to Daily Finance.
These benefits were actually supposed to expire in February, as this was the expiration date set at the peak of the financial crisis. Unemployment benefits were pumped from 26 weeks or around half a year to 99 weeks or close to two years.
The problem here is that states were supposed to lower unemployment in exchange for federal help in paying unemployment benefits. States were supposed to boost their employment levels by 110% compared to levels three years ago. With states failing to provide jobs or stimulate the growth of businesses, they soon found themselves without money to pay for unemployment benefits.
It isn’t just the state bearing the brunt of their inability to establish these jobs – it’s the displaced workers who cannot find a job in this still rocky economy.
And those hardest hit by these cuts are those who have been unemployed in the long term. Completely exhausting all benefits – state, federal, private or otherwise – for over two years leaves most people in a desperate situation.
What’s really disturbing is that while the official national unemployment rate at 8.2% may look rosy compared to the recession-high of 9.9% in November of ’09, the reality is that many people have simply stopped looking for work.
Right-wing hardliners may point to a culture of entitlement or a “welfare state” as they love calling it, but this is in reality a sign that people have given up and simply accepted their lot in life. We need to work double-time to stimulate the growth of jobs, otherwise this feeling of surrender will only grow and grow over time.
And this despair will not air on official records, but in the faces of people who cannot even find work to feed themselves – never mind establish a safe and secure livelihood.