Unemployment extension 101: what you need to know
The Senate passed an unemployment extension Wednesday evening. Who is eligible? Is it retroactive to June 2? When will the checks be in the mail? We cover the basics.
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According to Judy Conti of the National Employment Law Project (NELP), depending on each state, people could expect to see their benefits paid in two to four weeks. Some states, such as California, are known as being slow to pay extensions because they are set up for US mail use only, says Jenny Hong of Unemployed-friends.com. Other states, such as Michigan, which uses online certification and direct deposit of checks, are known to be faster, says Ms. Hong.Skip to next paragraph
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How long is the extension?
Those eligible for unemployment insurance can expect to receive their checks through the end of November.
How will Congress pay for this extension?
Because it is categorized as “emergency spending,” it is not subject to congressional pay-go rules. Budget items subject to pay-go rules must have a predetermined funding source in order to be passed. However, the $34 billion will have effects that might help curb its impact on the federal budget deficit, which was projected at $1.6 trillion in February.
“Much if not all of the money will be spent, which increases economic activity,” explains Stanley Collender, a budget expert at Qorvis Communications in Washington. “And the budget deficit is probably shrinking, not growing, because we’ve gotten more of the TARP money back and corporate profits have been higher than anticipated,” says Mr. Collender, who expects the deficit will actually come in closer to $1.3 trillion this year.
What's new in the legislation?
Under the old law, individuals who used to have part-time jobs or took seasonal employment would see their benefit levels reduced when they went back on unemployment. Thus, it was not unusual for someone who had been receiving $500 a week to take a part-time job, and then when they returned to unemployment find that their benefit was now based on their temp salary.
Under the new law, they will be able to keep their higher benefit. But this law is not retroactive.
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