Thousands of Americans who rely on extended jobless benefits would be disappointed to know that they might lose their benefits soon. This is because the government failed to extend the deadline for applications asking for unemployment benefits and the COBRA health insurance subsidy.
The current deadline is April 5th and after that date, unemployed people cannot ask for extended benefits under the federal unemployment insurance scheme or for the federal subsidy of 65% in the COBRA unemployment insurance. Those who are already receiving the benefits would also stop getting them after April 5th.
Federal unemployment benefits are divided into different tiers depending on how many weeks a person has been unemployed for. Every time, an unemployed person shifts from one tier to another, a fresh application has to be made. Due to the inaction of the Senate, those who are currently getting the benefits will stop getting them when they exhaust their current tier and move to the new tier.
Moreover, the federal unemployment benefits are given only after the state funded benefits expire after 26 weeks of unemployment. Therefore, those who are currently on state benefits will not get any benefits after that period expires as they cannot apply for federal unemployment benefits after the deadline.
Senate Democrats and Republicans could not reach an agreement over the extension of the deadline. This deadlock before the Senate holiday implies that many unemployed people will be left stranded. It has been suggested by the Democrats that there could be a retroactive extension and people will be compensated for the benefits that they could not get for many days.
Even if there is such a move, many unemployed people in the country still have some difficult weeks ahead, especially those who have been relying on unemployment benefits for more than six months. Without this money, survival will become a struggle for them. Moreover, it will take time for the benefits to reach those unemployed people who live in states that have a slow administrative system.
The tussle between the two political parties can prove to be disastrous for over 10 million people who depend on unemployment benefits. Right now, the unemployment rate is hovering close to 10%, and 40% of the unemployed have been without a job for six or more months. This means that the indecision of the Senate could also have a huge negative impact on the overall economy.