Scaling back unemployment benefits

So this crossed the AP a few hours ago:

Unemployed workers would no longer be able to claim 99 weeks of benefit checks by this summer under a deal being worked out in Congress.
Under this week’s compromise for extending a Social Security tax cut through the rest of 2012, federal unemployment benefits for people who have been out of work more than six months are being scaled back.
If Congress passes the bill and President Barack Obama signs it into law, the current maximum 99 weeks of benefits will gradually fall to 73 weeks by September. For people in all but about a dozen of the highest unemployment states, the benefits will be cut off after 63 weeks.

Sure, the fact that Republicans and Democrats have come up with a plan to extend the payroll-tax cut will help avoid a tax increase on millions.

But the stipulation that unemployment benefits may be cut back comes just as the Government Accountability Office releases a report on the plight of those who exhaust their benefits. As one would guess … many continue to struggle.

This report states that of the 15 million workers who lost jobs from 2007-2009, half have received unemployment benefits, 2 million have exhausted them.

It’s estimated about 3.5 million more people have stopped receiving payments in 2010 – 2011.

So when the well ran dry, how were these folks doing?

*46 percent were still out of work.
*18 percent were living in poverty, higher than the 13 percent rate for working age adults.
*Few (3 percent) received Temporary Assistance for Needy Families benefits, although most wouldn’t have because they didn’t have children under 18 years of age.
*Many relied on Social Security (18 percent), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program aka Food Stamps (15 percent).


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