Saturday, December 28, 2013
Unemployment Benefits Expired on December 28, 2013, Affecting More Than 1.3 Million Americans
On Saturday, December 28, 2013, 1.3 million Americans stopped receiving unemployment benefits. It has already had a major impact on families and the U.S. economy, exactly what Americans do NOT need right now in an economy that is still slowly recovering.
Unemployment benefits come first from the state, then from the federal government when state funds run out. One of the problems is that most states have cut back on unemployment benefits. The second problem is that although the U.S. government recently passed a budget that replaces about $63 billion of the budget cuts that were scheduled for 2014 and 2015, it did not include any budget for extending unemployment benefits.
The impact on Americans
Faced with a cutoff of benefits, many Americans are facing hard decisions that will impact them financially. With no money coming in for many, it may mean getting mortgage assistance or losing their homes altogether, losing their cars and applying for food stamps. It's not because they are lazy; they simply have not been able to find jobs to support themselves.
What will the government do to help?
Nancy Pelosi, House Minority Leader, has stated that the extension of unemployment benefits will be at the top of the agenda immediately following the holiday recess. Discussions have already indicated anywhere from three months up to a year is needed to support unemployed Americans. The decision will most likely be based on cost which is estimated to be about $26 billion to extend federal benefits by another year.