News & Politics

1.3 Million Americans Will Lose Unemployment Benefits Tomorrow

Which states will be most affected by the GOP’s decision to cut off this economic lifeline? You’d be surprised.

On the 28th of December, unemployment benefits will expire for 1.3 million people who are unemployed but have exhausted their state unemployment aid benefits, Washington Postreported.

The extended benefits were offered during the 2008 Recession but were noticeably absent this month from the Budget Deal after Republicans failed to agree to extend aid. When the benefits expire this weekend, the unemployed will only be able to collect a maximum of 26 weeks of benefits in most part of the United States.

The decision has raised major concerns about the effect the cut will have on the long-term unemployed, particularly as most rely on such benefits for food and housing and many suffer from mental and physical health problems which hinder their ability to find work. 

As a result, Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev) said he would put another extension up to vote during the first days the Senate convenes in 2014 but its fate remains uncertain, Washington Post reported.

Interestingly, a survey conducted on Dec 19 and 20 found that the majority of GOP voters did not want jobless benefits cut either.  Looking at four swing-districts with GOP Congressmen, the poll found that clear majorities of voters backed continued benefits from people unemployed for more than six months, AlterNet reported

So, where do the majority of people losing benefits this weekend reside? According to the Labor Department data compiled by Democrats on the House Committee on Ways and Means, those affected are spread across the country, but east coast states, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Connecticut are at the top of the list. 

Based on its population, New Jersey will take the largest hit with some 90,000 expected to lose their benefit immediately which equals one percent of the state's population.  Moreover, 215,000 people in California and 125,000 in New York are set to lose their aid.

Other states where a higher share per population will be affected include:

Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Nevada, Oregon, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, Mississippi, Wisconsin, and Colorado.

Read more.



Jodie Gummow is a senior fellow and staff writer at AlterNet.


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