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Unemployment Benefits

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BUSINESS
December 28, 2013 | By David Lauter
Some 1.3 million Americans, including about 222,000 Californians, lost jobless benefits Saturday as the federal program to assist the long-term unemployed expired. Here are six things to know about who is affected and why the benefits went away. Who lost benefits? Anyone who has been collecting unemployment for more than 26 weeks loses benefits, roughly 1.3 million people immediately. Several million more people are expected to hit the limit over the course of the next year; they would lose benefits at that point.
ARTICLES BY DATE
BUSINESS
April 1, 2014 | By Marc Lifsher
SACRAMENTO - They're finally answering phones at California's beleaguered unemployment benefits agency. Four months ago, 9 out of 10 callers couldn't reach a live staffer at the Employment Development Department, according to official call logs. The system still was robotically hanging up on 80% of frustrated callers as recently as mid-February. But in March, EDD phone staffers suddenly picked up the pace, responding to a Feb. 7 call for action from the administration of Gov. Jerry Brown.
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NATIONAL
July 22, 2010 | By a Times staff writer
President Obama signed legislation Thursday extending jobless benefits to 2.5 million unemployed Americans, ending a long partisan battle. The House passed the measure earlier Thursday, a day after the Senate did. The law extends unemployment insurance through November for out-of-work Americans who have not yet exhausted up to 99 weeks of aid. Benefits would be retroactive to late May, when the previous extension expired. Jobless benefits vary from state to state but typically expire after 26 weeks.
NEWS
March 19, 2014 | By Lisa Mascaro
WASHINGTON - A bipartisan bill to extend unemployment insurance for more than 2 million jobless Americans is poised to clear the Senate next week, but House Speaker John A. Boehner is raising new concerns that it could be costly for states to administer and could lead to fraud. Boehner's objections echo warnings from the National Assn. of State Workforce Agencies, which has repeatedly urged Congress not to attach cumbersome new eligibility requirements. States have "antiquated" computer systems that cannot quickly implement new rules, the group warned Wednesday, and may end up giving aid to those who are ineligible.
BUSINESS
March 8, 2012 | By Jeffry Bartash
New applications for unemployment benefits rose to the highest level in five weeks, but they remained in a range usually associated with better labor market conditions, government data showed Thursday. Initial claims climbed 8,000 to a seasonally adjusted 362,000 in the week ended March 3, the Labor Department said. Claims from two weeks ago were revised up to 354,000 from 351,000. The level of claims is an indicator of whether layoffs are rising or falling. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch had estimated that claims would rise to 355,000 for last week.
NEWS
March 13, 2014 | By Lisa Mascaro
WASHINGTON -- Key senators struck a bipartisan agreement Thursday to extend unemployment insurance for more than 2 million jobless Americans whose benefits have run out, though approval is not certain in the Republican-controlled House. The proposal for a five-month continuation of benefits faces a likely filibuster by tea party conservatives in the Senate, pushing votes until later this month after Congress returns from a weeklong recess. But with five Republican senators joining Democrats in Thursday's agreement, passage in the Senate is expected.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 30, 1991
At the beginning of the Reagan-Bush era ('81) striking air traffic controllers were fired by the President. Now the recent (and non-striking) unemployed are told by the President that they are not yet facing an emergency because better times are coming ("Bush to OK Jobless Aid Extension but Withhold Funds," front page, Aug. 16). After five more years? ALBERT FALKOVE Glendale
BUSINESS
July 16, 2013 | By Ricardo Lopez
The good news: California's unemployment rate has fallen from 10.7% in May 2012 to 8.6% a year later. The bad news: The improving economy means that the Department of Labor on Friday may nix the last tier in federal unemployment extension benefits -- the last safety net for the long-term unemployed. State officials said Tuesday that it expects the federal government to scale back unemployment benefits if Friday's job report shows further improvement in the state's labor market.
NEWS
December 27, 2013 | By Maeve Reston
WAIMANALO, Hawaii -- With unemployment benefits set to expire Saturday for about 1.3 million Americans, President Obama on Friday pressed for Congress to act, calling two senators who have offered legislation that would extend them for three months. The president made the calls from his vacation home on Oahu to Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) and Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.), according to White House spokesman Josh Earnest, offering support for their proposal and praising them for “working in a bipartisan fashion” on a problem that he said would adversely affect the nation's economic growth and job creation.
NEWS
March 13, 2014 | By Lisa Mascaro
WASHINGTON -- Key senators struck a bipartisan agreement Thursday to extend unemployment insurance for more than 2 million jobless Americans whose benefits have run out, though approval is not certain in the Republican-controlled House. The proposal for a five-month continuation of benefits faces a likely filibuster by tea party conservatives in the Senate, pushing votes until later this month after Congress returns from a weeklong recess. But with five Republican senators joining Democrats in Thursday's agreement, passage in the Senate is expected.
BUSINESS
February 26, 2014 | Marc Lifsher
Hundreds of thousands of jobless Californians last year appealed decisions of the troubled Employment Development Department, adding to months of delays in getting unemployment benefits. After holding hearings, administrative law judges at the California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board rejected many of the EDD's cursory, highly technical decisions. They threw out or revised more than half of the earlier denials, belatedly awarding long-sought assistance of up to $450 per week.
NEWS
February 3, 2014 | By Michael A. Memoli
WASHINGTON - New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker used his maiden speech on the Senate floor to amplify Democrats' call for an extension of benefits for the longtime unemployed. And it took well more than 140 characters to do it. Senate tradition dictates that new members wait their turn before delivering an extended floor speech. And that was true even of Booker, the crusading and frequently tweeting former mayor of Newark, whose national stature arguably already exceeded that of some of his senior colleagues when he entered the Senate 95 days ago. But when his time finally came Monday night, Booker put it to use on behalf of legislation his party has made a priority early this election year - renewing unemployment insurance for more than a million Americans whose benefits expired beginning Dec. 28. Booker began by noting he came to Washington at a time when the public view of Congress was at an all-time low, and said the lawmakers' failure to act on behalf of struggling Americans was a major reason why. He said that after meeting with many of his new colleagues he was "inspired" by various bills they believed were crucial for strengthening the economy.
NATIONAL
January 14, 2014 | By Lisa Mascaro
WASHINGTON - A $1-trillion spending bill was headed for swift approval in the House by Wednesday, but legislation to extend unemployment insurance stalled in the Senate amid partisan bickering, dashing hopes for a quick deal to resume jobless benefits. Though negotiations continue, it appears increasingly unlikely that a compromise will be reached quickly to help the more than 1.4 million Americans who have been cut off from their unemployment benefits. An additional 72,000 Americans lose their insurance every week.
OPINION
January 10, 2014
Re "Jobless benefits bill gains in uphill climb," Jan. 8 President Obama is correct that the unemployed need a hand. But the likelihood of those who have been unemployed for a year or more obtaining new jobs in their old professions is remote. The long-term unemployed need government-supported retraining in a new profession. And unless they participate in such a program, they should be denied unemployment benefits. Yes, they may ultimately get lower pay than before. This may not seem fair, but in a free-enterprise society, there is no requirement for those with an income to indefinitely support those not working.
OPINION
January 9, 2014 | By The Times editorial board
Congress is finally grappling with an issue it should have dealt with before members rushed out on Christmas vacation: extending unemployment benefits. There is bipartisan support for renewing the federal benefits that expired last month, cutting off aid to 1.3 million long-term unemployed Americans, including more than 200,000 in California. Yet some lawmakers' comments suggest that they're not really serious even now about getting the money flowing again. At times of high joblessness, the federal unemployment insurance program provides up to 47 extra weeks of assistance to laid-off workers who have run through their state benefits while trying in vain to land a job. Some critics say the benefits prolong unemployment by discouraging idled workers from taking whatever job happens to be available or making it more expensive for employers to hire them.
NEWS
January 7, 2014 | By Cathleen Decker
The frantic image-making by Democrats and Republicans as the 2014 elections loom rippled through the Senate debate Tuesday over whether to extend jobless benefits that expired late last year. For Democrats, who unanimously supported a procedural vote on the benefit extension, the issue offered an opportunity to come to the defense of a middle class still reeling from the economic downturn despite the abundant returns visited upon Wall Street. For Republicans, only six of whom crossed party lines to further the benefit extension, the day brought a renewed effort to tie jobless relief to Obamacare, the issue that they hope will stagger Democrats in the fall.
NATIONAL
January 7, 2014 | By Lisa Mascaro and Christi Parsons
WASHINGTON - Legislation to resume long-term unemployment benefits for 1.3 million jobless Americans cleared a key hurdle Tuesday in the Senate, though final passage in the chamber, and ultimately the House, remains difficult. The 60-37 vote, among the first since lawmakers returned Monday, came as six Republicans joined Democrats to advance a bill extending benefits by 90 days. In a White House appearance shortly after the vote, President Obama criticized Republicans who contend that unemployment benefits sap workers' motivation to look for new jobs.
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