Thanks to your help, we were able to call on Congress to pass a clean two-month extension of unemployment insurance (UI) benefits in December. This meant that families didn’t have to worry about how they were going to keep a roof over their head and put food on the table during the holidays.
The two months are almost up and Congress is gearing up to address extending the program again. Extending UI benefits is vital for several reasons:
- The unemployment insurance program serves as a lifeline for millions of unemployed Americans and their families who are now at the mercy of the worst job market since the Great Depression.
- This is no time for extremist agendas or playing politics with something so crucial. Millions of hardworking Americans—more than 6 million in 2012—will be cut off from the emergency lifeline that is unemployment insurance unless Congress acts. These are Americans who’ve been laid off and have fruitlessly sought work—the jobs are just not there.
- Since the unemployment insurance system was created, Congress never has cut back on federally funded extended benefits when the unemployment rate was greater than 7.2 percent.
- More than 45 percent of all unemployed workers—more than 6 million people—have been out of work for more than six months. For nearly two years, more than 40 percent of the unemployed have been jobless for more than six months.
- Unemployment benefits kept 3.2 million Americans (including nearly 1 million children) from falling into poverty in 2010 alone.
- Unemployment benefits are the most effective form of stimulus spending in an economy that is not growing jobs and therefore is experiencing low consumer demand. New research shows that the current federal UI programs provide $2 in economic stimulus for every $1 in unemployment benefits circulating in the economy.
A half-million Working America members are unemployed or underemployed—people without adequate work through no fault of their own who rely on UI as a lifeline during this worst economic crisis in decades. Our members need a clean extension of the program—an extension that does not include barriers to benefits.
Please help us in this fight by contacting your members of Congress and ask them for a clean extension of unemployment insurance.
Thank you for your help in this battle.