Monday, June 28, 2010

More than 1 Million No Longer Receive Unemployment Insurance

Although the current unemployment rate still hovers at around ten percent, the Senate last week failed to end debate and pass a measure to extend unemployment insurance (UI) and other workforce development provisions on behalf of the millions of Americans still out of work. Though economists predict the U.S. is moving toward recovery, the job market has yet to pick up steam and recreate or reinstate jobs that were lost in one of the worst recessions our country has ever faced.

This week, over 1 million people will stop receiving benefits and millions more are on the verge of stopped payments unless the extender’s bill is passed by the Senate and signed by the President. These benefits help stimulate the economy by providing $2.15 in economic growth for every dollar in spent benefits.

UI is not only a source of income for the laid-off worker, but also a source of income for their families. Many families rely on this income to pay bills and purchase food. Some use the funds to take care of the basic needs of an elder relative. The increase of unemployment among older workers, age 65 and older, has also increased dramatically – by 235% between January 2000 and December 2009 according to the AARP Policy Institute.

Regardless of what exactly the funds are used for, they serve the purpose of allowing Americans to stay afloat while searching for employment. Halting these benefits will unfortunately cause many unemployed workers to drift into poverty or fall into debt. Neither of these options is a good one for the individual nor the country as whole.

Call your Senator and let them know why extending UI benefits helps the economy of your community and the country as a whole. You can see how your Senator voted here.

-Alisha Howell
Communications & Program Coordinator
Elder Economic Security Initiative

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