Jobless in several states risk losing unemployment benefits
Unemployment rates are falling in many states, but that good news also comes with a dark side — in several states, thousands of long-term jobless people risk losing unemployment benefits in the next few weeks, according to The Huffington Post. The federal Extended Benefits program will end the week of April 7 in nine states, with other states quickly to follow.
More than 135,000 people risk losing jobless benefits in April, according to the National Employment Law Project (NELP), a New York-based worker advocacy group. Those people will no longer qualify for the federal program that granted extended weeks of unemployment benefits to jobless workers who exhausted their state benefits. That program will be phased out on April 7 in Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Missouri, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee and Wisconsin.
In February, Congress approved extending the jobless benefits through 2012, but not for states where the unemployment rate had not risen compared with a corresponding period three years ago. The entire program will be phased out over the course of 2012.
Indiana has announced that extended jobless benefits will end there on April 16. NELP says those benefits are also expected to expire the week of April 21 in Alabama, Delaware, Georgia, Maryland and Washington state.
Some states could get a break temporarily, according to The Huffington Post. States with unemployment above 8.5 percent will drop out of the Extended Benefits program in April, but they can grant an additional 10 weeks of jobless benefits through the federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation program. Kentucky, Oregon, South Carolina and Tennessee are among states that could be eligible for the extra 10 weeks of benefits, according to a memo from the Congressional Research Service.