Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Extension of unemployment benefits stirs debates on several fronts

Perry Bacon has an important column on p A15 of the Tuesday Feb. 9 Washington Post (yes, paper deliveries went on today despite two feet of snow), “In Congress, it’s decision time on the long term jobless”, link here.

In states with highest unemployment, some workers can receive up to 99 weeks, and after the first 26 weeks, the federal government picks up the tab. Some Republicans and more conservative Democrats want to limit the benefits or keep them temporary. Some claim that it makes the jobless less enthusiastic about looking for work.

It’s complicated how you work with unemployment if you got severance first, and had the severance paid out over time as a continuation of salary. In some cases, it pays to wait until filing. In 2002, in Minnesota, I was eligible for 26 weeks, and wound up collecting about 16.

In practically every state, you have to remain actively working for work, and even attend jobs center counseling sessions. I wonder if “online reputation” could eventually work its way into the unemployment world. Could unemployment offices deny benefits to people that it thought had undermined their “online reputations”?

Update: Feb. 10: Check out the Washington Times editorial "Fudging jobless statisticsRate this story: "Fudging jobless statistics: conflicting government measurements skew jobless rates", link here. The editorial concerns how unemployment is evaludated for newer and smaller businesses when statistics are based on older companies. Family structure can also matter.

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