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Unemployment benefits the essentials draft october 11 2010

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  • 1. Unemployment Insurance (UI) Benefits: The Essentials UnemployedWorkers.org Resource Guide for the Unemployed UnemployedWorkers.org
  • 2. “No country, however rich, can afford the waste of its human resources. Demoralization caused by vast unemployment is our greatest extravagance. Morally, it is the greatest menace to our social order.” Franklin Delano Roosevelt UnemployedWorkers.org
  • 3. “I do not believe we can repair the basic fabric of society until people who are willing to work have work. Work organizes life. It gives structure and discipline to life.” Bill Clinton UnemployedWorkers.org
  • 4. Who gets benefits? UnemployedWorkers.org
  • 5. Who gets benefits? • Those who lost jobs due to circumstances beyond their control are eligible: • Lost his or her last job due to circumstances beyond his or her control; AND • Must have earned a minimum amount set by individual’s state in a specified 12-month period (roughly) during the 18 months before he or she lost the job. UnemployedWorkers.org
  • 6. Who gets benefits? • Not Eligible: • most full-time students, most farm labor, self employed, contractors, undocumented immigrants, religious workers, freelancers, new entrants into the labor force. UnemployedWorkers.org
  • 7. Who gets benefits? • The UI program became less effective over time as the workforce changed UnemployedWorkers.org
  • 8. Extended Unemployment Benefits: Boosting the entire economy UnemployedWorkers.org
  • 9. Boosting the entire economy • When times are tough, governments boost spending to stimulate the economy. Cash to the unemployed is an excellent method of helping the economy and helping everyone, in comparison to tax cuts. UnemployedWorkers.org
  • 10. Boosting the entire economy • The Congressional Budget Office recently estimated that UI benefits can lead to as much as $1.90 in economic activity, as compared to a general reduction in income taxes, which leads to $0.40 in economic activity. UnemployedWorkers.org
  • 11. Boosting the entire economy • Recipients of tax cuts save some of the increase while UI recipients spend their whole check. The money multiplies as a UI recipient spends a dollar at a grocery store, who pays his cashiers, stockers and baggers, who then spend their wages at local restaurants etc. • Historically, there has been bipartisan support for a a strong UI safety net. UnemployedWorkers.org
  • 12. How is Unemployment Funded? UnemployedWorkers.org
  • 13. How is unemployment funded? • Regular unemployment benefits are paid for by payroll taxes. • Point: We earn it. It’s not a “giveaway.” UnemployedWorkers.org
  • 14. How is unemployment funded? • The average worker has $275 per year deposited on his or her behalf into the state unemployment trust fund. This money is used exclusively for unemployment benefits. UnemployedWorkers.org
  • 15. How is unemployment funded? • This is money that employers look at in the bottom line of how much each employee costs. • So it is money that is part of your “compensation” even if you never see it until you lose your job – in other words, this isn’t a handout or welfare – it’s something you’ve EARNED. UnemployedWorkers.org
  • 16. How is unemployment funded? • Employers pay a tax to the state trust fund. This is the money the states use to pay benefits • Your payment is based on an “experience rating” – meaning that employers who have more frequent turnover in workers pay more per worker than those who don’t have a lot of turnover. UnemployedWorkers.org
  • 17. How is unemployment funded? • The government wants to reward employers who don’t “churn” employees, but this structure also gives employers an incentive to challenge your claim. UnemployedWorkers.org
  • 18. Who is eligible? and How are benefits determined? UnemployedWorkers.org
  • 19. Who is eligible? • Lost job thru circumstances beyond your control • Laid off because of lack of work, plant closing, reduction in force, etc. • Fired but not for misconduct (breaking a company rule or policy) UnemployedWorkers.org
  • 20. Who is eligible? • Quit with for a compelling reason (good cause) • Good cause includes something an employer did that caused you to quit (sexual harassment; change in the conditions of work) and depending on the state some urgent personal and family needs (domestic violence, illness and quitting to follow a spouse moving for a job.) UnemployedWorkers.org
  • 21. Who is eligible? • Had sufficient earnings during the “base period” to establish that you are sufficiently connected to the workforce. • Minimum earnings (varies by state) must be earned in the 4 of the last 5 completed quarters (12 of the last 18 months), or in some states the last 4 completed quarters. UnemployedWorkers.org
  • 22. How are benefits determined? • Recipients must continue to be able and available to work and actively looking for work. • UI designed to be a program to transition people to a new job. It is NOT meant for people who decide to NOT work. UnemployedWorkers.org
  • 23. What changes during a recession? UnemployedWorkers.org
  • 24. What changes during a recession? • When the unemployment rate goes up, increasing numbers of workers cannot find jobs within the 6 months normally provided by the states, benefits are extended. • Extended benefits are a federal responsibility. UnemployedWorkers.org
  • 25. What changes during a recession? • Nationwide extensions are provided through temporary programs enacted by Congress in each recent in recent downturns as long as the unemployment rate has been over 6.5%. • The length of extended benefits are based on the unemployment rate in yo u r s t a t e a n d o n i n t e ra c t i o n s between state and federal law. UnemployedWorkers.org
  • 26. What changes during a recession? Emergency State Extended Unemployment Benefits Benefits Compensation Tier I Tier II Tier III Tier IV EB* HEB* Duration of Benefits in 26 20 14 13 6 13 7 Weeks State Unemployment Over Over Over Over All All All Rate Needed to 6% 8.5% 6.5% 8% Qualify # of States 50 50 50 47 26 35 32 * only in States with conforming laws UnemployedWorkers.org
  • 27. What do the unemployed want or need? UnemployedWorkers.org
  • 28. What do the unemployed want or need? • A new job • Help accessing and keeping benefits • Information about the social safety net • Access to retraining • Participation in organizing efforts • Help addressing social and emotional issues UnemployedWorkers.org
  • 29. Role of National Employment Law Project (NELP) UnemployedWorkers.org
  • 30. Role of NELP •NELP is the national policy organization that has advocated for 40 years for unemployed workers and economic opportunity for all. • Leading the charge for extensions in unemployment benefits during times of high unemployment. •Supporting changes in state unemployment laws so that they protect more people under more circumstances. UnemployedWorkers.org
  • 31. Role of UnemployedWorkers.org UnemployedWorkers.org
  • 32. Role of UnemployedWorkers.org • Our online community of jobless workers looking for information on accessing benefits. • Ta k i n g a c t i o n f o r e x t e n d e d unemployment benefits during the recession. • Encouraging grassroots organizing efforts by the unemployed, for the unemployed. UnemployedWorkers.org
  • 33. NELP and UnemployedWorkers.org Work to Extend UI Benefits During the Recession UnemployedWorkers.org
  • 34. NELP & UnemployedWorkers.org Work to Extend UI Benefits During the Recession • Together, NELP and UW work to help America’s unemployed receive benefits. • 5.1 million workers now receiving these benefits, but millions will be cut off prematurely if Congress does not continue programs past the current November 30th deadline. UnemployedWorkers.org
  • 35. NELP & UnemployedWorkers.org Work to Extend UI Benefits During the Recession • Wo r ke r s r e c e i v i n g r e g u l a r s t a t e benefits on November 30th, will not be able to qualify for any extension. • Workers receiving federal extended benefits (EB) in all but 10 states (AK, CT, KS, MN, NJ, NM, NC, OR, RI, WA) will receive their last check during the week of November 30th. UnemployedWorkers.org
  • 36. NELP & UnemployedWorkers.org Work to Extend UI Benefits During the Recession • Workers on Emergency Unemployment Compensation (weeks 27-79) will be able to receive a few more extra weeks but will not qualify for the full package (known as additional tiers) of benefits. • NELP is also fighting to create jobs for the unemployed through government subsidies, and to make sure that the recovery is built on quality family- supporting jobs. UnemployedWorkers.org
  • 37. NELP & UnemployedWorkers.org Work to Extend UI Benefits During the Recession • NELP is also fighting to create jobs for the unemployed through government subsidies, and to make sure that the recovery is built on quality family-supporting jobs. UnemployedWorkers.org
  • 38. NELP & UnemployedWorkers.org Work to Extend UI Benefits During the Recession • Funding for extensions requires a fight in Congress • Opponents of extended benefit argue that unemployment extensions are worsening the downturn, because keeping the jobless from going back to work, for example they say that Unemployment Insurance makes the unemployed lazy. UnemployedWorkers.org
  • 39. NELP & UnemployedWorkers.org Work to Extend UI Benefits During the Recession • Opponents argue that we cannot afford extended benefits because of the size of the deficit, but even anti- deficit hawks question this logic. UnemployedWorkers.org
  • 40. NELP & UnemployedWorkers.org Work to Extend UI Benefits During the Recession “As a deficit hawk, I wouldn’t worry about extending unemployment benefits. It is not going to add to the long-term structural deficit, and it does address a serious need. I just feel like unemployment benefits wandered onto the wrong street corner at the wrong time, and now they are getting mugged.’’ -- Bob Bixby, President of The Concord Coalition UnemployedWorkers.org
  • 41. NELP & UnemployedWorkers.org Work to Extend UI Benefits During the Recession • In order to continue the program of federal extended benefits, 60 votes in the Senate are needed as well as majority support from the House, where many conservatives and moderates are deficit hawks. • Unemployed people are often invisible in the debate. Our goal is to make their voices heard, tell real human stories, and explain why supporting the unemployed is good for the whole economy. UnemployedWorkers.org
  • 42. NELP & UnemployedWorkers.org Work to Extend UI Benefits During the Recession • The impact of taking money away from the unemployed and their communities: •Our economy will suffer. Expanded UI programs have added money into the economy that has saved or created 1.7 million jobs. Ending UI programs will cut the knees off from the recovery as billions of dollars of spending is lost and local grocery stores and other retailers lose customers. UnemployedWorkers.org
  • 43. NELP & UnemployedWorkers.org Work to Extend UI Benefits During the Recession • What it means to take that money both away from the unemployed and their families and also from their communities: • More families will fall into poverty. 3.3 million families kept out of poverty in 2009 because of strong UI benefits. • Families will lose their homes. 1 out of 4 jobless workers are forced to move when they lose their jobs, but UI benefits cuts the chance of losing the family home in half. UnemployedWorkers.org
  • 44. Please Join Us! UnemployedWorkers.
  • 45. Please Join Us! • Take action to call for additional benefits. • Get your family and friends to join UnemployedWorkers.org. • Become an UnemployedWorkers.org media activist and share your story with the public. UnemployedWorkers.org
  • 46. Authored on October 11, 2010 UnemployedWorkers.org