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New federal benefits legislation for 2010? --Please use this thread for all discussion

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Re: New federal benefits legislation for 2010? --Please use this thread for all discussion

Post  Jeff on Thu Feb 11, 2010 8:02 pm

daytonaman wrote:Extended Unemployment Insurance & Health care included in Bill

http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/statement-press-secretary-release-draft-bipartisan-senate-jobs-bill

That's positive news. Unfortunately the storms are preventing Congress from working.

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Re: New federal benefits legislation for 2010? --Please use this thread for all discussion

Post  nancym on Thu Feb 11, 2010 11:02 pm

Well, things are moving pretty fast in DC --it seems that press release was premature! I just posted on another thread here about a more recent report that Reid stopped that bill and rewrote it:

http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/80787-reid-overrules-baucus-chops-jobs-bill

This may seem like bad news, but IMO it is actually what I've wanted to see all along. They had talked about several separate bills, and since Reid now says the unemployment benefits issue will be addressed in a separate bill, I think that's actually a good thing--focus on the data! Almost 3 million will be completely SOL by the end of April (according to my rough calculations), and about 5.6 million by the end of July. And that's even if they pass that extension of deadlines for those waiting in the wings for the earlier Tiers!!!

They need to focus on that--whether it's actual jobs projects or benefits or both--we didn't need that crappy mish-mosh of leftover business that made up the bulk of that draft bill that Reid tore up.

Those depending on that deadline being extended in time for the states not to send out those cutoff notices I know will be disappointed, but I hope the gap for them won't be too long, and I hope in the end we get a better overall bill. (Call me Pollyanna.)
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Extending UI Benefits

Post  gknowles on Fri Feb 12, 2010 1:04 am

I believe that I feel what you are saying Nancy. I am not getting a warm fuzzy feeling reading all these broad generalities when there are so many specfic senerios that we each fall under. I need that Feb 20th deadline in FL to go away like yesterday. And don't want to see anyone left out when the economic recovery is so slow. Educating our own country on what our true financial lives are like seems to take an awful lot of time, huh?. Well, I pray and have a hunch that a separate bill could be a good thing too!

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Latest NELP Email 2/11

Post  Unemployed In Orlando on Fri Feb 12, 2010 1:48 am

Latest NELP email for those who dont subscribe -

Friends-- as we reported yesterday, the House and Senate have canceled all votes for this week, and are on recess next week. They will come back into session on Monday, February 22nd. The UI and COBRA programs don't officially expire until February 28th, but that date is deceiving. Because Congress will not have this program officially reauthorized by February 19th, state UI offices are going to have to start sending out notices to people whose benefits will terminate in March. The agencies have no choice but to do so as these notices are required by law and regulations from the Department of Labor. We are in close contact with the association of state UI offices and Congressional Leadership and we are working to find a way to minimize the disruption and confusion that is inevitable.
What this whole experience proves is that last December, when we were all calling for the program to be reauthorized through the end of 2010, we were right to do so. A blizzard and Congressional recess have derailed this extension; who knows what could derail the next one. Short-term extensions are NOT the answer to the very real problem of long-term joblessness in this country, and Congress's inability to enact a sufficiently long extension is going to have fairly dire consequences for families and the communities in which they live.

So we are calling on Congress to sever/separate the UI and COBRA extensions from the series of jobs bills that are planned for the year. Indeed, as a bi-partisan press release from Senators Baucus (D-MT) and Grassley (R-IA) makes clear, the Senate intends to allow for a full deliberative process on the first jobs bill. Unfortunately, the million-plus jobless workers and their families who rely on the UI and COBRA programs scheduled to expire at the end of February do not have the luxury of waiting for this full deliberation, and indeed, there is no need for them to do so -- there is no public opposition to the programs' extension whatsoever.

We are calling on Congress, as its FIRST order of business upon resuming work on February 22nd, to pass a stand-alone UI and COBRA extension through the end of 2010. We cannot allow these important programs to be used as "must pass" legislation every few months, and be held hostage to political processes that can spin out of control because of forces of nature or partisan games. YOU should NOT be the victims of blizzards, political schedules, or any other D.C. dynamics. And that is the message NELP and our allies are going to be delivering loudly and consistently.

We need your help -- call your Senators and Representatives -- let them know that they need to do the right thing-- pass the UI and COBRA extensions through the end of 2010, and do so as soon as they get back into session. Your economic security and the economic stimulus these benefits provide to your communities are too important to lapse again for any reason.

Your friends at unemployedworkers.org,
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Re: New federal benefits legislation for 2010? --Please use this thread for all discussion

Post  Jeff on Fri Feb 12, 2010 12:57 pm

Unemployed In Orlando wrote:Latest NELP email for those who dont subscribe -

Friends-- as we reported yesterday, the House and Senate have canceled all votes for this week, and are on recess next week. They will come back into session on Monday, February 22nd. The UI and COBRA programs don't officially expire until February 28th, but that date is deceiving. Because Congress will not have this program officially reauthorized by February 19th, state UI offices are going to have to start sending out notices to people whose benefits will terminate in March. The agencies have no choice but to do so as these notices are required by law and regulations from the Department of Labor. We are in close contact with the association of state UI offices and Congressional Leadership and we are working to find a way to minimize the disruption and confusion that is inevitable.
What this whole experience proves is that last December, when we were all calling for the program to be reauthorized through the end of 2010, we were right to do so. A blizzard and Congressional recess have derailed this extension; who knows what could derail the next one. Short-term extensions are NOT the answer to the very real problem of long-term joblessness in this country, and Congress's inability to enact a sufficiently long extension is going to have fairly dire consequences for families and the communities in which they live.

So we are calling on Congress to sever/separate the UI and COBRA extensions from the series of jobs bills that are planned for the year. Indeed, as a bi-partisan press release from Senators Baucus (D-MT) and Grassley (R-IA) makes clear, the Senate intends to allow for a full deliberative process on the first jobs bill. Unfortunately, the million-plus jobless workers and their families who rely on the UI and COBRA programs scheduled to expire at the end of February do not have the luxury of waiting for this full deliberation, and indeed, there is no need for them to do so -- there is no public opposition to the programs' extension whatsoever.

We are calling on Congress, as its FIRST order of business upon resuming work on February 22nd, to pass a stand-alone UI and COBRA extension through the end of 2010. We cannot allow these important programs to be used as "must pass" legislation every few months, and be held hostage to political processes that can spin out of control because of forces of nature or partisan games. YOU should NOT be the victims of blizzards, political schedules, or any other D.C. dynamics. And that is the message NELP and our allies are going to be delivering loudly and consistently.

We need your help -- call your Senators and Representatives -- let them know that they need to do the right thing-- pass the UI and COBRA extensions through the end of 2010, and do so as soon as they get back into session. Your economic security and the economic stimulus these benefits provide to your communities are too important to lapse again for any reason.

Your friends at unemployedworkers.org,

Looks like Reid cut the extension out of the jobs bill. But nothing is said about expediting the extension....only about making the jobs bill more palatable to more Senators. When they come back from break, they will have worked on the bill, two or three of the previous sixteen days. This is torturous to the unemployed.

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Re: New federal benefits legislation for 2010? --Please use this thread for all discussion

Post  connorsgp on Fri Feb 12, 2010 2:37 pm

Even though Reid removed the extension and Cobra from the present bill I'm not so sure that it might help rather than hurt in the long run....perhaps with a longer extension and possibly Tier 5...don't know if any of that is realistic, but Reid and all Dems as well as the majority of Repubs are supporting the extension--it would be politically damaging not to.

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Re: New federal benefits legislation for 2010? --Please use this thread for all discussion

Post  Jeff on Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:18 pm

connorsgp wrote:Even though Reid removed the extension and Cobra from the present bill I'm not so sure that it might help rather than hurt in the long run....perhaps with a longer extension and possibly Tier 5...don't know if any of that is realistic, but Reid and all Dems as well as the majority of Repubs are supporting the extension--it would be politically damaging not to.

That makes sense. What troubles me is that nothing was said about getting the unemployment extension passed first. All they talked about was the jobs bill. I hope you're right.

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there's long term and then there's LONG term

Post  nancym on Fri Feb 12, 2010 5:27 pm

Nothing concrete about legislative details here, but some small bit of progress in getting our concerns heard about how difficult all this is:

Congress Warned Not to Forget Long-Term Unemployed

http://washingtonindependent.com/76460/congress-warned-not-to-forget-long-term-unemployed

"Some economists are warning, however, that tax provisions like those in the Senate bill pretend that the jobless pool is a level playing field, ignoring the stigma and skills questions associated with the long-term unemployed — and therefore favoring those who lost jobs more recently. "Someone who’s been unemployed only 6 or 8 weeks often looks like a much stronger job candidate than someone who hasn’t been employed for the last 66 or 68 weeks," said economist Gary Burtless, formerly with the Labor Department and now at the Brookings Institution."
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Extending UI - Long week ahead

Post  gknowles on Sat Feb 13, 2010 9:32 am

True - a bolder move than my stomach wanted, however, now the big wait and see. Thank you for the NELP post, etc. Luckily this cold weather should pass and I can get out outdoors and burn off stress. Will be on top of the news Feb 22. Good Luck everyone.

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Gov Christ possibly extending benefits?

Post  daytonaman on Mon Feb 15, 2010 8:55 am

After claiming my weeks this morning, I was reading through some articles on the AWI website, this post regarding the Governors Budget for 2010 released 1/28/10

http://www.floridajobs.org/publications/news_rel/GovBudget2010-11.htm

There is a section on Unemployment compensation about halfway down the page.


Last edited by nancym on Mon Feb 15, 2010 11:23 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : removed big blank space --NM)
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Re: New federal benefits legislation for 2010? --Please use this thread for all discussion

Post  Jeff on Mon Feb 15, 2010 10:19 am

daytonaman wrote:After claiming my weeks this morning, I was reading through some articles on the AWI website, this post regarding the Governors Budget for 2010 released 1/28/10

http://www.floridajobs.org/publications/news_rel/GovBudget2010-11.htm

There is a section on Unemployment compensation about halfway down the page.


Unemployment Compensation
To sustain Floridians while they seek employment and to continue the benefits payments that stabilize our economy, Governor Crist’s Fiscal Year 2010-11 budget recommends $62.7 million to enhance the processing and distribution of unemployment compensation benefits, which includes:

$16 million to continue call center operations – to provide expanded call center services to assist unemployed Floridians.

$18 million for unemployment compensation – to administer the unemployment compensation program.

$27.6 million for technology improvements – includes the replacement of the 37-year-old computer system that processes unemployment compensation benefit claims.


Last edited by nancym on Mon Feb 15, 2010 11:27 pm; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : removed big annoying blank space. --NM :))

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Re: New federal benefits legislation for 2010? --Please use this thread for all discussion

Post  connorsgp on Mon Feb 15, 2010 2:56 pm

I don't see any benefit payment extensions here...the cost would be much more than those numbers. This info looks like upgrades to the system not additional benefits for the long term unemployed

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Re: New federal benefits legislation for 2010? --Please use this thread for all discussion

Post  GonzoFL on Mon Feb 15, 2010 4:23 pm

Your right,no help pertaining to benefits.....but that should not surprise anyone. I think it's a good idea to put some money into that stone age computer system they have(probably upgrade to a Gateway with Windows 95...purchased from E-Bay),but 34 million for administrative costs? Seems a bit much. You could dump a billion dollars into this agency and still only wind up with a handful of employees that know their jobs. I would be willing to guess that these funds are going to come from the $450 million the State left on the table last year from the Fed's. The money had to many strings attached and was to too little to late last year.....seems our state politicians are singing a different tune now Rolling Eyes
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Jim Stratton Article In The Orlando Sentinel

Post  Unemployed In Orlando on Tue Feb 16, 2010 9:59 am

Thought I would drop this in here for those who havent read it -

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/business/os-unemployment-modernization-florida-20100212,0,3916185.story

Some in Florida skeptical of feds' offer to help with jobless benefits
By Jim Stratton, Orlando Sentinel

11:38 PM EST, February 15, 2010

As Florida's jobless rate flirts with 12 percent and the state borrows federal money to pay unemployment claims, the U.S. Department of Labor is pushing a deal legislators have already turned down once.

The proposal?

Modify your unemployment-eligibility laws — broadening who would qualify — and tap a $4.1 billion chunk of federal money that would pay benefits and lessen the need to borrow.

Florida's share is estimated to be about $443 million — money that would not have to be paid back. The U.S. Labor Department says that, so far, 32 states have claimed about $2.8 billion in payments.

Labor Secretary Hilda Solis recently urged states to apply for the money, saying they "should take this opportunity to assist the millions of individuals who are out of work through no fault of their own."

But Florida's Republican lawmakers and the state's leading business lobby say slow down.

The $443 million sounds good, they maintain, but it will run out in a few years, and the state will then have to pick up the slack. Some short-term relief today, they fear, could mean higher taxes on businesses later. That's because unemployment benefits are funded through a tax that companies pay for each worker they employ.

"We'd get that money, spend it, and then it would be gone," said Tamela Perdue, general counsel for Associated Industries of Florida. "But there'd still be the cost of those additional benefits to cover."

The debate is focused on unemployment laws that the Obama administration, labor advocates and many Democrats say are restrictive and outdated. Supporters of "unemployment modernization" want states to expand eligibility to include people who aren't now covered.

One proposal, for example, would extend benefits to women who leave a job and move away because they are victims of domestic abuse. Another would make it easier for newcomers to the work force to collect benefits.

Mark Hollis, a spokesman for the Florida Democratic Caucus, said expanding eligibility helps not just the people who are out of work, but the communities where they live.

"You're putting checks in the hands of people who otherwise wouldn't have money to spend," he said. "That goes into the retail economy."

Democrats pushed the same proposal last year, but the Republican-controlled Legislature rejected it. State Rep. Geraldine Thompson, D-Orlando, recently raised the proposal during a meeting of the House Economic Development and Community Affairs Policy Council. She withdrew it, Hollis said, when it became clear Republicans and businesses opposed it.

Republican Gov. Charlie Crist, in the midst of a bruising campaign for U.S. Senate, has not taken a position on the issue.

Business leaders this year are actually more focused on another unemployment issue: They are working to delay a tax increase designed to replenish Florida's unemployment trust fund.

They supported the increase last year but changed course when they realized the tax paid per employee would jump from $8.40 to more than $100 for some companies. The proposal to delay the tax hike, which has bipartisan support, would postpone the increase by two years.

Arthur Rosenberg, a lawyer with Florida Legal Services, said that looming increase is all the more reason to change state law and claim the extra $443 million in federal aid.

Adopting all the modernization changes — something states do not have to do — would cost about $70 million a year, he said. So the federal money would cover newly eligible unemployed for about six years. But businesses say those cost estimates are low.

Although the modernization measure faces stiff opposition, supporters have found some Republicans willing to look at it. State Sen. Thad Altman, a Brevard County Republican, said "it's worth serious consideration" because "so many people are hurting right now."

What's more, said Altman, nothing prohibits the state from loosening its eligibility requirements, taking the money and later changing the law again.

"It has to be in place two years, but after that, if you find it's too expensive, you can go back and make adjustments," he said.

But that might prove politically difficult to do, and it's not a chance businesses want to take. They also say that any expansion of benefits would immediately cost them more in unemployment taxes because the amount they pay is driven by a formula. That amount, Perdue said, would increase despite the $443 million in federal subsidies.

"It would definitely impact next year's rates," she said, "and our businesses just can't afford that."

Jim Stratton can be reached at jstratton@orlandosentinel.com or 407-420-5379.

Copyright © 2010, Orlando Sentinel
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Re: New federal benefits legislation for 2010? --Please use this thread for all discussion

Post  GonzoFL on Tue Feb 16, 2010 11:15 am

One of my favorite quotes from the article:

"The $443 million sounds good, they maintain, but it will run out in a few years, and the state will then have to pick up the slack. Some short-term relief today, they fear, could mean higher taxes on businesses later. That's because unemployment benefits are funded through a tax that companies pay for each worker they employ."


Oh....you mean the same increased taxes that business's are screaming their ass's off about right now?($8 now equals about $100) The increase that the Florida congress is trying to put the skids on? The tax that they all knew was going to go into affect because the UC fund was going splat?

The taxes to business that they feared would come later is NOW.....duh! The money won't do much(if anything) for the unemployed. It's amazing how that money was taboo last year.....but is getting a fresh look now. I suspect if we could write those big campaign contribution checks like business does....we would have a REAL voice in congress.

And last but not least......our beloved and ever vigilant(cough) Gov. "Too Tan" Charlie chimes in:


"Republican Gov. Charlie Crist, in the midst of a bruising campaign for U.S. Senate, has not taken a position on the issue"

Be still my heart,big shocker here..."on the fence Charlie" rides again. There's some much heat on you right now Chas. that you don't need no tanning bed.


One last thought....Tammy Perdue is a Associated Industries of Florida "blow hole" lobbyist who has Adam Hasner(just to name one) right in her pocket. Twisted Evil
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Re: New federal benefits legislation for 2010? --Please use this thread for all discussion

Post  nancym on Tue Feb 16, 2010 1:07 pm

[This is a re-post of a comment I made on Open Congress on 2/15.]

FLORIDA: (This state is so pathetic sometimes.)

http://blogs.tampabay.com/buzz/2010/01/cretul-outlines-plan-for-unemployment-tax-fix.html

Notice that the ONLY reasoning given for worry about the unemployment situation is that employers' taxes are going up, not that there seems to be any concern for what is happening to over a hundred thousand or so jobless in this state, and the situation getting worse by the month.

So just one of their suggested options to prevent the unemployment trust fund from tanking is to extend this EB date and "consent" to receive a bit more help from the federal government. Don't even mention that fact that they're worse off in that they rejected that $450 that was also on offer last spring to expand and update the requirements for getting unemployment in the first place.

So the first words we hear about one of the legislators in charge of making the decision about whether to consider one or more of these options in this article --

"During a discussion in the Florida Legislature over the extension of unemployment benefits, State Rep. Jennifer Carroll, R-Jacksonville, argued against the expansion of unemployment benefits, stating that paying benefits will "encourage people not to work."

There ya go, one more for your list when you go to the polls. And you can add to that list anyone who took heavy campaign contributions from Associated Industries; that's one sweet deal they've had going with the legislature in their pocket for far too long.

----------------

As for that proposed EB extension date, not that it has much chance with these guys up there in their bubble, but if there were actually any chance of it passing, I would think that MIGHT open up the possiblity to add back those weeks that were subtracted from many of the unemployed's Tier 3 accounts back in Nov-Dec! (The last thing I would want to do here is give anyone false hopes, so consider this just musing.)

That would not apply to most of us who are in the "long term" unemployed category, that is, the ones who have been on the edge of the latest extension dates. But anyone who was still collecting EB from Nov 8 on, and thus lost out on anywhere from 1-8 weeks of EB that were taken from Tier 3--if I were you I would be all over my state reps to let them know it was outrageous that was done, and what are they doing to correct that.

[One caveat, I'm not sure if the 100% funding for EB was extended in the last federal bill, making it again "free money" for any state that wants to continue their EB program. I would have to research that, or if anyone knows, please post. Also, if they did do this "EB fix" there is no guarantee that it wouldn't apply only to those who were never before on EB. Again, another point to get across to your state reps when you call!]
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Re: New federal benefits legislation for 2010? --Please use this thread for all discussion

Post  Jeff on Wed Feb 17, 2010 12:24 am

So after a week cut short by bad weather, and right in the midst of our distress, Congress goes on vacation. Perfect!

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Re: New federal benefits legislation for 2010? --Please use this thread for all discussion

Post  Jeff on Wed Feb 17, 2010 11:48 am

....Rather than pushing one big jobs bill incorporating a bunch of different ideas, the Democrats are planning to push a lot of smaller jobs bills including just a few ideas each.

...There'll be a bill extending unemployment insurance and COBRA benefits. There'll be a bill with aid to the states. There'll be a bill with infrastructure investments. There'll be a bill with grants and tax credits to improve energy efficiency.

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/ezra-klein/2010/02/the_many_many_senate_jobs_bill.html?wprss=ezra-klein

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Re: New federal benefits legislation for 2010? --Please use this thread for all discussion

Post  GonzoFL on Wed Feb 17, 2010 12:20 pm

Thanks for the article Jeff.


I took a look at the pdf from that article that breaks down all these little bills. This is what is says concerning UC and COBRA:


"UI and COBRA Extensions – Extensions of unemployment insurance and COBRA tax
credits for millions of Americans."


What the hell does this mean exactly? This is the same old quote we have been hearing for a month. Does it mean extentions of the extension exhaust dates?....or adding benefit tiers? Or what? Are we suppose to break out our tarot cards,crystal balls,read tea leaves,contact Madam Cleo? Good grief,how about some disclosure of what this is suppose to entail. People are on pins and needles and all we get are vague descriptions of events of things that may or may not be. I need to get off this unemployment train.....my cheese has started to slide of my cracker.


Mad
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12 more weeks??

Post  SaraJ on Wed Feb 17, 2010 6:46 pm

Thought I would share this....12 more weeks would be wonderful!

http://www.chicagodefender.com/article-7172-jobs-bill-to-extend-.html

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The Unemployed Strike Back: Episode V?

Post  GonzoFL on Wed Feb 17, 2010 7:59 pm

The link that I am posting is from a source I have never dealt with before. Therefore I ask that it be taken with a grain of salt. However,if there's any truth to it,there is a new hope for the Rebel Empire(that's us)



http://www.chicagodefender.com/article-7172-jobs-bill-to-extend-.html
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Re: New federal benefits legislation for 2010? --Please use this thread for all discussion

Post  connorsgp on Wed Feb 17, 2010 10:14 pm

I'm thinking the article means a 3 month extension of the Feb 28 date not an additional 12 weeks of benefits such as an additional tier. The bill before Reid streamlined it extended the deadline 3 months, or 12 weeks.

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Re: New federal benefits legislation for 2010? --Please use this thread for all discussion

Post  Jeff on Thu Feb 18, 2010 1:49 am

connorsgp wrote:I'm thinking the article means a 3 month extension of the Feb 28 date not an additional 12 weeks of benefits such as an additional tier. The bill before Reid streamlined it extended the deadline 3 months, or 12 weeks.

I have to confess that that makes sense. Darned!

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Re: New federal benefits legislation for 2010? --Please use this thread for all discussion

Post  nancym on Thu Feb 18, 2010 12:52 pm

Yes, beware of these little hometown rags. They may mean well, but often the news is just a re-hash of previous AP reports. Now when the New York Times or some other big scoop comes out about what's written on that napkin in Reid's pocket, I'll listen up. Meanwhile, no one should plan any bill payments based on this article.
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Extending Current UI Benefits - Latest NELP Email"

Post  daytonaman on Thu Feb 18, 2010 6:06 pm

I sent a message to Maurice Emsellem of Nelp today asking about the 12 weeks, the response was the 12 weeks just extend the program, it does not add any more tiers or benefit extensions.

Here is a copy of his response:
There’s some confusion out there. The bill that’s out there continues the current program for 12 weeks, it doesn’t add 12 weeks or create any new tiers. We’re looking to do more regarding folks running out of their 99 weeks, but that’s going to take more time (versus continuing the current program) given this Congress.
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Re: New federal benefits legislation for 2010? --Please use this thread for all discussion

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