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Press Release

Unemployment Extension: Record High 13.7 Million Americans Currently Collect Unemployment as of May 2011

>PRWEB.COM Newswire

Los Angeles, CA (PRWEB) May 28, 2011

According to, Unemployment Extension retroactive payments are now available to Americans by the 2011 legislation bill through 2011. This was passed by Congress due to record-high unemployment figures, causing many states to change their laws in order to make the extra benefit available to their residents.

In turn, this has caused many state legislatures to debate exhaustively in attempts to accommodate special interests and other partisan political issues – placing these before the interest of the people. For individuals who are running out of time and benefits, this haggling is not a welcomed state of affairs.

Although the bill does not add another “tier” to unemployment extensions, for those who have or are running out of their benefit period (26 weeks but less than 99) it adds another layer of much needed time in finding work and otherwise keeping afloat in questionable economic times.

Making matters worse, states are now finding it necessary to limit the number of weeks benefits will be paid out to the unemployed in order to preserve or shore up their unemployment coffers which have been drained by the high unemployment rates suffered for these past years of economic strain.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 13.7 million Americans are drawing unemployment as of May 2011. Benefit levels are set and administered by each state and vary widely.

The initial benefits are paid by states for a period of 26 weeks, usually. These funds are derived from employer taxes. This program having started in 1935 during the Great Depression has helped Americans get through difficult times immediately following loss of employment not due to their own fault. Additionally, the Federal government has seen fit to add funding programs (emergency extensions) when the economy has caused a high rate of unemployment to ensue throughout the country.

The present unemployment extension benefits allow a total of 99 weeks. Not all states, however, have passed legislation to accommodate all 99 weeks. In fact, some states would prefer to use some of that federal money to reduce employer’s taxes used to keep the state unemployment funds fluid. A bill still lingers in Congress for just that purpose.

Just recently, in late March, Michigan became the first state to reduce the basic 26 weeks of unemployment benefits to 20 weeks for newly unemployed workers starting next year.
In Missouri, though resuming extended benefits, the legislature cut back initial benefits to 20 weeks, starting immediately.

The State of Florida also is following suit by passing a law cutting maximum state benefits from 26 weeks to 23 weeks, with fewer weeks available when the jobless rate falls below 10.5%. Florida could provide as little as 12 weeks of checks to the jobless if unemployment falls to 5%.

All these states and others are attempting to cut the drain of state-paid unemployment benefits in order to balance the burden between the employers and the unemployed within the state and transferring the balance of the burden over to the extra benefits provided by the federal government (Unemployment Extension Leveraging – my term).

Florida, for example, enjoys the full 99 weeks of the unemployment extension provided for by the federal government. So their reduction in their obligations by way of the newly passed initial “23 weeks” serves to take advantage by offsetting the federal grant.

Unemployment Extension filings and current information can be referenced at

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