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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.
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NEWS
April 7, 2014 | By Lisa Mascaro
WASHINGTON - As soon as the Democratic-controlled Senate passed a measure Monday to extend unemployment aid to jobless Americans, a beleaguered group of House Republicans from states with high unemployment rates called on Speaker John A. Boehner to follow suit. But the Republican lawmakers are fighting an uphill battle against their leaders, and Boehner has shown little interest in passing an unemployment insurance extension, panning the Senate bill as unworkable. With Congress about to leave town on a two-week recess, no further action is expected to assist the more than 2.2 million Americans who had their long-term benefits cut after aid expired in December.
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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.
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.
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 12, 2011 | By Kathleen Hennessey
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is weighing in on one of the remaining items on Congress' to-do list. In a letter that quotes Pope John Paul II, the bishops urged Congress to extend unemployment benefits for the jobless. "The U.S. Catholic bishops have long advocated that the most effective way to build a just economy is the availability of decent work at decent wages," wrote Bishop Stephen E. Blaire, Chairman, Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development. "When the economy fails to generate sufficient jobs, there is a moral obligation to help protect the life and dignity of unemployed workers and their families.
NEWS
December 16, 2011 | By Lisa Mascaro
As negotiations continue over President Obama's payroll tax holiday, Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein is floating a proposal to preserve long-term unemployment benefits for residents of California and other hard-hit states that are being targeted for reductions by Republicans. Republicans want to end the guarantee of up to 99 weeks of jobless benefits that have been in place since Congress passed the stimulus package as the recession sent the unemployment rate climbing. The jobless rate dipped recently to 8.6%.
NEWS
March 27, 2014 | By Lisa Mascaro
WASHINGTON -- A bipartisan agreement to restore unemployment insurance benefits for more than 2.2 million jobless Americans cleared a key Senate hurdle Thursday but faces continued opposition from Republicans in the House, making final passage uncertain. House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) has called the Senate plan, which overcame a filibuster on a vote of 65-34, "unworkable. " A group of state benefits administrators has argued that their outdated computers will make it difficult to process jobless claims and prevent fraud under the Senate plan.
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.
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.
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