Tuesday, February 8, 2011

State Refuse Money for Unemployment Benefits

The emblem of the American Recovery and Reinve...Image via Wikipedia
So far Arkansas, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Montana, Oklahoma, Utah and Wyoming have left approximately $876 million in federal jobless benefits on the table. These states are walking away from a total of almost $1 billion in federal jobless benefits despite record levels of long-term unemployment. The stimulus law extends unemployment benefits to Americans who have been without work for six months or more. Taking advantage of the federal money would give an estimated 236,000 jobless Americans an extra 13-20 weeks of benefits. In addition to helping the jobless, the federal funds offer a much-needed economic stimulus for states.

Many of the states have said that they're reluctant to pass the necessary legislation, because the program essentially doesn't cover extended benefits for state and local government workers. The effect of that omission, state political leaders say, is to force their already cash-strapped governments to cover those costs.

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