Long-Term Unemployed Remain Uncounted and Under the Gun

Submitted by Jen Jones on Sat, 11/06/2010 - 2:32pm

Long-Term Unemployed Remain Uncounted and Under the Gun

Many long-term unemployed have exhausted the maximum 99 weeks of unemployment benefits available. The group,  known as The 99ers is a byproduct of an unprecedented number of Congressional extensions to unemployment benefits in a lingering economic malaise.

Do you consider yourself a 99er? Out of work for nearly two years or more? Can’t seem to find anyone who will listen, let alone help?

Well, as The Huffington Post reported, there’s strength in numbers. Unfortunately there aren’t any. “One obstacle to helping 99ers is a lack of basic data. How many people can't find work after nearly two years of searching? How many 99ers are there? Nobody even knows.  The Department of Labor told HuffPost that it does not have the micro-level or individual claimant data to make an accurate estimate. With federally-funded extended benefits broken into four ‘tiers,’ the different number of weeks available in different states, and individual workers' potential stops and starts -- not to mention the congressional lapses in federal benefits -- nobody has figured out a reliable way to track the people who've used 99 weeks of benefits and still haven't found work.”

So, now what began as a Congressional attempt to give layoff victims extra weeks of federally-funded benefits on top of the 26 weeks provided by states ("Emergency Unemployment Compensation"), has become, with a lingering recession, a confusing array of unemployment tiers, extensions, and benefit types that has driven Congress and mainstream media away from the subject.

But while the Labor Department has failed to keep track of these unemployed Americans, they’re allowing others to do so…with startling results.  The National Employment Law Project (NELP) put together estimates of how many people won't advance to the next tier of benefits if Congress fails to reauthorize them before they expire in November. “If that happens, NELP estimates that two million people will be ineligible for further benefits by the end of the year. (On Thursday NELP revised its initial estimate that 1.2 million would face a cutoff.) Bills to create a fifth tier of benefits have been introduced in both the House and the Senate, but there's little chance they'll pass as Congress will have only a very short time to reauthorize the existing benefits after it reconvenes on Nov. 15.”

Being uncounted, forgotten, and potentially without further federal assistance means many more unemployed Americans—1.2 million at last count—are desperate to find ways to get by, including selling their homes, taking part-time work, or heading back to school. But in an environment of continuing drops in home prices, low-paying work, and high tuition costs, any of these options can drive households further and further into debt. This news means more and more Americans could (and likely should) seek the financial safe havens from debt that bankruptcy can provide, providing ways to restructure or liquidate debt amid these tough economic times.

In addition to The 99ers, many are taking things into their own hands to address their financial woes and take back their fiscal freedoms to make a fresh start through bankruptcy.  As a result, knowing a qualified bankruptcy attorney is the first best step to help any unemployed person 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.  The bankruptcy experts at the Law Offices of John T. Orcutt offer a totally FREE debt consultation and now, more than ever, it’s time to take them up on their offer. Just call toll free to +1-919-646-2654, or make your appointment online at www.billsbills.com. Simply click on the yellow “FREE Consultation Now” button.

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