Long-Term Unemployed Face Even More Federal Setbacks Skip to main content

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Long-Term Unemployed Face Even More Federal Setbacks

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Back in May, we first chronicled the plight of unemployed men and women known as “The 99ers.” At the time, many of these long-term unemployed had exhausted the maximum 99 weeks of unemployment benefits available to them in many states. The group, inauspiciously dubbed “The 99ers” for the remarkable amount of time they went without a job and with benefits, represented the broader face of many jobless Americans from across the country, forced to hang on every tea leaf, smoke signal, and whimper from their representatives in Congress of a new string of jobless aid programs that were, as many experts believed, on par to ignore them completely. At the time, the 99ers, a new byproduct of an unprecedented number of Congressional extensions to unemployment benefits in response to a lingering recession, were predicted to grow to one million strong in 2010. This week, “The 99ers” face a new indignity: news that legislation by Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) meant to yet again aid this group of long-term unemployed, has stalled in the Senate. According to The Huffington Post’s Arthur Delaney, “Stabenow's bill would have provided an additional 20 weeks of benefits in state where the unemployment rate is above 7.5 percent, and it would have boosted a tax credit for businesses that hire unemployed workers. Stabenow said she wanted the bill to be designated "emergency spending" and exempt from "pay-as-you-go" rules, as is customarily the case with unemployment benefits. ‘The reality for us in America is that we will never get out of debt with more than 15 million people out of work,’ said Stabenow. ‘So when folks talk about the deficit and leaving the deficit for our children, we will never get out of debt had this country until people get back to work, until they have good-paying jobs, and in between times, we will not move this economy forward until we are helping people be able to keep going in this recession.’” Despite the fact that the unemployed have been continually lobbying on their own behalf—with hundreds of thousands of long-term jobless pleading for politicians to provide additional weeks of unemployment insurance—in an election year marred by calls to cut deficit spending, the Senate remained in gridlock much of the summer over a plan to reauthorize The 99ers their precious benefits. In traditional times not burdened by election year fears and political wrangling, Congress has routinely extended these types of unemployed benefits to stave off recessionary effects on its constituents. But, as the HuffPost points out, “the 99 weeks currently available in some states is an unprecedented amount. The previous high was 55 weeks during the recession of the early 1980s. The current extensions will be up for reauthorization again in November….’It seems to be business as usual in the Senate, with yet another attempt to help the long term unemployed blocked by someone who just doesnt understand how truly awful it is for job seekers,’ said Judy Conti, a lobbyist for the National Employment Law Project. ‘It's a sad day.’ The days are sadder still for the near-million strong long-term unemployed looking for a hand-up and out the nation’s lingering economic malaise. In response to this news, the solution for many long-term laid-off workers is to address their financial woes by themselves through bankruptcy. As a result, bankruptcy filings in 2010 are expected to top one million, with many bankruptcy filers counting themselves among “The 99ers.” Knowing a qualified bankruptcy attorney can help any unemployed person to conquer their creditors and face their financial fears, yielding the right kinds of support, information and insights—at a low cost— for a viable and secure future. Specifically, the bankruptcy experts at the Law Offices of John T. Orcutt offer a totally FREE debt consultation. Just call toll free to 1-888-234-4181, or during the off hours, you can make your own appointment right online at www.billsbills.com. Simply click on the yellow “FREE Consultation Now” button.

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