Workers win extensions to unemployment insurance coverageOn Thursday, June 26, the U.S. Senate overwhelmingly voted to give workers more time on unemployment insurance benefits.
On Thursday, June 26, the U.S. Senate overwhelmingly voted to give workers more time on unemployment insurance benefits.
The bill extends the time of coverage from its current 26 weeks by 13 additional weeks because job searches go on longer with fewer jobs to choose from. The House passed the same bill weeks ago. President Bush is expected to sign the bill next week.
A “look-back” period will capture workers who’ve already used their jobless benefits at any time after November 2006. The extra weeks will be available to 3.7 million workers who will exhaust their jobless benefits from now until March 2009.
Advocates had pushed to add extra weeks of benefits for states with higher unemployment rates, but that provision was excluded. The bill does require that individuals must have worked for at least 20 weeks before they were laid off to be eligible.
“This is the earliest extension in decades,” said Minnesota’s JOBS NOW Coalition Director Kris Jacobs. “Congress waited a year after the recession ended in 2001 before it began enacting an extension. This is a big win for a beleaguered workforce.”
Updates about the extension's implementation can be viewed at http://www.unemployedworkers.org/