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Extended Benefits: Confusion As Federal Jobless Aid Expires In Tennessee

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Extended Benefits: Confusion As Federal Jobless Aid Expires In Tennessee

Post by Guest on Fri Apr 22, 2011 4:20 pm

Extended Benefits: Confusion As Federal Jobless Aid Expires In Tennessee


Stephenie Dodson read in the newspaper earlier this month that some 28,000 Tennesseans will lose their federal unemployment benefits because of the state's improving economy. Notices would start hitting mailboxes within a week, the paper said.

The Nashville resident, who lost her job running an after-school
program in July 2009, soon received a letter that gave her the
impression that benefits would continue. She had been receiving aid from
the federal Extended Benefits (EB) program, which can provide 20 weeks
of checks for people who go through up to 53 weeks of federal Emergency
Unemployment Compensation and 26 of state benefits. The following week,
though, Dodson got a letter saying that, as of April 16, she'd be cut
off.

Tennessee is one of three states where where the EB program ended this month. These federal benefits expired less because of job gains than because state lawmakers let them die.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/04/22/extended-benefits_n_852110.html?ref=tw

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Re: Extended Benefits: Confusion As Federal Jobless Aid Expires In Tennessee

Post by Guest on Fri Apr 22, 2011 4:20 pm

benefits are not funded with Tennessee state tax dollars, and the
federal money hasn't run out. Even though the EB program expired in
Tennessee, with little to no public debate, it didn't have to. State
lawmakers could have passed a law to keep the program.






Yet Tennessee's Republican House Speaker Beth Harwell didn't see
things that way. Reached at home on Friday morning, Harwell told
HuffPost in a brief conversation that there was no reason for the state
legislature to get involved, because it's up to Washington to determine
whether the EB program expires.

The U.S. Congress invited states to keep the EB program from expiring
prematurely. In December, shortly after Congress passed a law
reauthorizing federal unemployment programs for a full year, the U.S.
Department of Labor sent a memo to state workforce agencies advising
them that they'd lose eligibility for these federal benefits unless
local legislatures took action. The memo explained exactly what
lawmakers would need to do to take advantage of the new law and even
provided draft language for new state legislation.

"For this reason, we know that every state agency was on notice about
the need to adopt the new federal option," emailed Attorney Rick McHugh
of the National Employment Law Project, a New York-based worker
advocacy group.

McHugh suggested a few contributing factors for why some states had
allowed the EB program to lapse. "[M]ost state agencies have suffered
many retirements of experienced staff and are still working under severe
claims load. How information gets transmitted from [workforce] agencies
to governors and legislators varies widely by state. And, the fact that
most public officials won't listen to you more than 30 seconds, means
this is an issue that gets filtered out."

"Finally," McHugh wrote, "some states do not make taking care of jobless workers a big priority."

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Re: Extended Benefits: Confusion As Federal Jobless Aid Expires In Tennessee

Post by Guest on Fri Apr 22, 2011 4:21 pm

Rep. Harwell's said the Tennessee governor's office was aware of the
EB program's expiration, but a spokesman for GOP Gov. Bill Haslam had no
comment. A representative of the Tennessee Department of Labor and
Workforce Development speculated that state officials took no action
because they didn't want to burden the federal government, according to local TV station WVLT.

And, contrary to the newspaper article Dodson read, the EB program is
not expiring in Tennessee because of recent job gains. The state's
unemployment rate has held steady at 9.5 percent for the past two
months, after rising from 9.4 percent in January.

The EB program is expiring only because the unemployment rate hasn't
risen dramatically and -- even if it had not fallen at all -- the
benefits could still have expired. A state's eligibility is based partly
on whether the current unemployment rate is 10 percent higher than it
was in either of the two previous years. Congress said states could
remain in the EB program if state lawmakers moved their eligibility
baselines back three years instead of just the past two. Compared with
three years ago, unemployment rates in hard-hit states are much higher
now.

Dodson, for her part, said she's in a tight spot without the $275 per
week she received in benefits. "I don't know how I'm going to pay my
electric bill," said Dodson, whose checks from the EB program ended this
week.

Although Dodson has a temporary gig lined up for the summer, she
doubts that she'll be able to find permanent work soon. "It's all about
the lack of degree," said Dodson. "I'm 57 years old and I have no
college degree. I'm a single mom."

"You know the story," she said, "because it's the American story now."

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Re: Extended Benefits: Confusion As Federal Jobless Aid Expires In Tennessee

Post by Sunrise on Fri Apr 22, 2011 4:25 pm

I just don't understand how these politicians can be so cold and turn their backs on people.
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Re: Extended Benefits: Confusion As Federal Jobless Aid Expires In Tennessee

Post by Guest on Fri Apr 22, 2011 4:28 pm

I think this was the plan when the extensions were passed, IMO. Too many states are doing this.

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Re: Extended Benefits: Confusion As Federal Jobless Aid Expires In Tennessee

Post by Sunrise on Fri Apr 22, 2011 4:40 pm

Need2Bworking wrote:I think this was the plan when the extensions were passed, IMO. Too many states are doing this.

That's just plain EVIL.

It is this kind of mindset that rounded up the Jews and kept slaves.
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Re: Extended Benefits: Confusion As Federal Jobless Aid Expires In Tennessee

Post by JaneWI on Fri Apr 22, 2011 4:42 pm

Sunrise wrote:I just don't understand how these politicians can be so cold and turn their backs on people.

My thoughts exactly.
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Re: Extended Benefits: Confusion As Federal Jobless Aid Expires In Tennessee

Post by Phillymg on Sun Apr 24, 2011 12:22 am

Many thanx to ART DELANEY for faithfully following up on the failure of state legislatures to pass the Three Year Lookback law. Just as jobs are starting to come back.....just as Americans have a chance to land employment....state legislators have decided to punish the unemployed & underemployed. What's ironic is that eventually all the states will pass the Three Year Lookback & will pay the EB benefits *retroactively*. But by then many laid-off Americans will have suffered by having utilities shut off, getting evicted, not affording gas to drive to job interviews, etc. It's downright sadistic to torture Americans in this way. Prayers for Tennessee. Like a Star @ heaven

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Re: Extended Benefits: Confusion As Federal Jobless Aid Expires In Tennessee

Post by Guest on Sun Apr 24, 2011 12:26 am

Phillymg wrote:Many thanx to ART DELANEY for faithfully following up on the failure of state legislatures to pass the Three Year Lookback law. Just as jobs are starting to come back.....just as Americans have a chance to land employment....state legislators have decided to punish the unemployed & underemployed. What's ironic is that eventually all the states will pass the Three Year Lookback & will pay the EB benefits *retroactively*. But by then many laid-off Americans will have suffered by having utilities shut off, getting evicted, not affording gas to drive to job interviews, etc. It's downright sadistic to torture Americans in this way. Prayers for Tennessee. Like a Star @ heaven

Mark all states will not pass the three year lookback and pay EB, some states have refused the EB from the start. The unemployed in those states are SOL. I live in one of those states.

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Re: Extended Benefits: Confusion As Federal Jobless Aid Expires In Tennessee

Post by Phillymg on Sun Apr 24, 2011 1:36 am

Yes you are correct N2BW--can you please remind us which states have refused EB altogether--sorry I forget..... Sad

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