Unemployment benefits running out

In several states and no seems inclined to help. Austerity!

Robin St. Louis of Charlotte, N.C. lost her job as a sales rep just before Christmas in 2009 and said she hasn’t had much luck with her job search since then.

“Looking for a job, it seems your résumé goes into a black hole,” St. Louis, 46, told HuffPost, describing the process of flinging one job application after another at unresponsive potential employers and staffing agencies.

St. Louis said her family is grateful for the $325 she’s received every week in unemployment insurance since her layoff: “This money’s sustaining us.”

But now the sustenance has been cut off. The federal Extended Benefits program, which provides up to 20 weeks of benefits for long-term unemployed who burn through both state benefits and federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation, expired this month in North Carolina, Tennessee and Wisconsin.

The deadline for payouts passed on April 16. The North Carolina General Assembly approved a bill that would preserve the benefits, but Gov. Bev Perdue (D) vetoed it Saturday because Republicans paired the measure with deep budget cuts. St. Louis is one of 37,000 long-term unemployed North Carolinians have been left hanging.

The next states where the program will expire are Alaska, Alabama and Kansas, according to Mike Evangelist of the National Employment Law Project. Analyzing state unemployment data released Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Labor, Evangelist predicts EB payments will stop in those states on May 14 unless local lawmakers take action. Payments will stop in June in Arizona, Pennsylvania, Washington, D.C. and New Jersey (though legislation to prevent the cutoff there is on the governor’s desk).

2 thoughts on “Unemployment benefits running out

  1. After reading the post above about the need for strong, non-violent strikes, it just struck (ahem) me that what we need is a massive citizen’s strike against our governments — federal, state where appropriate, local if necessary.

    Albeit, I don’t see how we can do so without withholding our tax payments. Which is impossible with withholding laws in place….

    But, damn, what can we do?

    I seem to be asking that a lot lately….

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