America / Economy / Labor Force

Unemployment Benefits: Republican Victory

According to the US Department of Labor, the purpose of Unemployment Insurance Extended Benefits is for “workers who have exhausted regular unemployment insurance benefits during periods of high unemployment.” It provides an additional thirteen weeks of benefits for states experiencing high unemployment.

From the US Department of Labor again, State Unemployment Insurance Benefits have the purpose of “providing unemployment benefits to eligible workers who are unemployed through no fault of their own (as determined under State law) and meet other eligibility requirements of State law.” Additionally,

  • Unemployment insurance payments are intended to provide temporary financial assistance to unemployed workers
  • Each State administers a separate unemployment insurance program
  • Eligibility for unemployment insurance, benefit amounts and the length of time benefits are determined by the state.
  • In the majority of States, benefit funding is based solely on a tax imposed on employers.

An unemployed American qualifies for the program when they have worked an amount of time equal to the “base period” and they must have been unemployed through no fault of their own. This same unemployed American can continue the benefits by filing weekly claims and answer questions about their employment status.

In the past, one had to register with a State Employment Service, which would assist applicants in finding employment. That is now optional. There also exists several offices that offer information to the unemployed about the job market, re-education opportunities and training programs. However, none of these offices are required stops for the unemployed benefactors.

In FY 2008, the budget was only $58 billion. By FY 2009, the budget had jumped to $138 billion. This was the budget after the termination of the work-search requirement imposed by the federal government. FY 2010’s budget was $176 billion. FY 2011 budget was $135 billion.

In an effort to encourage the unemployed to look more for opportunities, Congress passed rules in 2012 that required an applicant to go to the One-Stop Career Center, where they would be assessed. The FY 2012 was $105 billion, in part due to the requirement of the One-Stop Career Center visit. Following the lack of a budget for FY 2013, the proposed FY 2014 is $68 billion.

Since the President begrudgingly signed into law the requirement to visit the One-Stop Career Center in 2012, the budget for unemployment has gone down significantly. This one required visit is for an assessment, which gives information to the Center as to the interests and skills of the jobless, and then aims to help find and place them into jobs that fit their skills and interests.

So while many complain about the “work-search” requirement, clearly the required visitation is helping the budget. The only other alternative for people is to believe that unemployment is higher than its being reported and people are running out of unemployment benefits. Either one doesn’t reflect well on the President and on the administration’s policies. With this unfortunate political situation for the President, it is rather surprising that Republicans have remained silent.

These changes help people find jobs, and the reduction in the budget reflects on the Democrats, not Republicans, how poorly this economy has been handled. Republicans cannot stay silent on their victories. If Republicans continue to only highlight failures without showing their own results, the American people will not be swayed. If the previous statement was false, wouldn’t the poor handling of the economy turned 2012?

Republicans need to present how they have already helped Americans while Democrats fail to do so. When it comes to the economy, the citizens feel that it is bad. They need solutions, and Republicans have proven before they can bring results. With less than a year before the 2014 elections, Republicans have very little time. Will they change strategies and offer solutions, or will they let rhetoric win the day…once again?