Archive for Monday, December 7, 2009

Labor leaders fear that unemployed could soon lose benefits

December 7, 2009


Millions of unemployed Americans, including thousands in Kansas, could lose jobless benefits if Congress doesn’t act soon, state labor officials and workers’ advocates said Monday.

“There really is no time to wait,” said Kansas Secretary of Labor Jim Garner. “The welfare of our states, and of millions of families, is at risk.”

The national unemployment rate stands at 10 percent, and the Kansas rate is 6.4 percent.

Advocates urged Congress to renew the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act’s unemployment provisions, many of which are set to expire this month.

Garner called for extension of emergency unemployment compensation, which has already paid out $225 million in jobless benefits in Kansas.

He and others also called for continuance of a federal subsidy for health care benefits for the unemployed. The government subsidy reduces the cost of COBRA coverage for an average unemployed worker by about $720 per month. And they urged continuance of a $25 per week addition to benefits.

“Unfortunately, the job market is not seeing the same signs of recovery that have been evident for the remainder of the economy,” Garner said.

“Until we begin to see improvement in the labor market, keeping these critical benefits available to the millions of people without work due to this recession will be imperative,” he said.

Congress is set to adjourn Dec. 18 barring a decision to extend the session.


troybreiland 8 years, 6 months ago

Those who lost their jobs prior to the September 1, 2008 eligibility cut-off date never received any assistance with their COBRA premiums. Many if not most of those same people are not even eligible for COBRA now because their 18 months of coverage has expired. Even those who were lucky enough to receive the subsidy in the first place are starting to loose their coverage and are joining the estimated 50 million uninsured.

According to a Harvard study, uninsured adults are 80% more likely to die from a traumatic injury than those who have insurance. Currently their are two bills working their way through congress that may offer some relief. For more information on these bills and other options to COBRA, please see our website at

slaboribs 8 years, 6 months ago

Why would the unemployed want the lower paying jobs Obama says he'll create? Right now, the eligible unemployed get 100% certain check and 65% of their COBRA paid for. House and Senate extension of these benefits bills seem endless. One covers benefits through March of 2011. So, why work now even though there are jobs to be had that many folks are just plain unwilling to vie for and accept? There needs to be a definite point of cut-off of benefits to motivate the unemployed to get out there and pound the pavement. A sense of urgency has a way of spawning innovation.

timetospeakup 8 years, 6 months ago

Longer unemployment benefits lead to longer periods of unemployment, period.

I don't know how many people I know that didn't get serious about finding a job until unemployment ran out.

yankeevet 8 years, 6 months ago

Unemployment compensation is more money then most of these crap jobs pay..........

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