How Long Is Too Long for Unemployment Benefits?

How Long Is Too Long for Unemployment Benefits?

The extended
unemployment compensation benefits for 2 million people is set to expire at the
end of the month as Congress contemplates whether to extend unemployment
benefits past the current maximum of 99 weeks. House Democrats have introduced
legislation that will extend unemployment benefits for other 3 months.  It is not clear whether the Bill will pass.

Overall, about 8.85
million people continue to receive jobless aid, including 4.7 million
individuals doing so through federally funded benefits programs which extend to
the max of 99 weeks.
  That's a whole lot
of people depending on unemployment benefits to help them through this rocky
economy! And how many of these people collecting unemployment depends on their
benefits to live?

Have unemployment
benefits become the new welfare system in the
U.S. for those who can't find a job suitable to their needs?  For some, collecting benefits is easier than
and more lucrative than working at Starbucks or Wal-Mart.  Are they content with collecting unemployment
checks instead of working two jobs and training for a new career? Maybe.  Some people are abusing the system, while
others not eligible for benefits struggle to stay afloat and pay higher taxes
to support those receiving unemployment compensation.

 

There's a term that
Workmen's Compensation attorneys use called, TTD, which is "bridge" money for
injured workers. They collect weekly checks while waiting for their workmen's'
comp case to make it through the courts or until their condition stabilizes and
they can return to work.  Sometimes, the
injured workers receive checks for years. 
Workmen's Compensation plaintiff's attorneys tell me that some of their
clients get "the TTD syndrome" where workers start abusing the system. 

They become too
comfortable with not working and collecting a weekly check, rather than
returning to a job that they didn't really like much, anyway.  They hesitate to settle their claim because
this would mean that they would have to return to their old job or find new
work.  Sometimes, it's easier to stay
home and watch Oprah.

I have empathy for
the unemployed who were displaced in this tough economy, yet I believe that our
government money is better spent on training programs to teach our workers
skills to survive our "new" economy. 
They need to get off "unemployment welfare" prepared to enter the job
market armed with new skills. Unfortunately, many unemployment receivers don't
take time to update their skill level rather they keep applying for jobs that
don't exist anymore.

I took unemployment
benefits once in my mid-20's when I was laid off from a local station selling
radio time to advertisers.  This was the
fourth time I was laid-off or fired in 3 years and either I was either very
unlucky or very bad at my job to have so many jobs in such a short time.  I used my unemployment benefits as a bridge
to a new career in real estate.  I knew
it was time to change careers, so I downsized my overhead and got an apartment
with two roommates, and went to get a real estate license.  I only had 6 months of unemployment
compensation, but I managed to change careers during that time and this was
during a recession.

It's time for an extension
of federally backed unemployment compensation benefits to end.  99 weeks is a very long time to find someway
to support yourself, even in this slow economy. 
If you are truly committed to finding work and accountable for your own
career success by taking the steps needed to find work rather than waiting for
a check from the government, you can make it without unemployment
compensation.  If not, there's always
welfare you can fall back on, but most don't want to apply and some will have
to.

 What do you think?

Comments

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  • Perhaps this author needs to grow up before giving an opinion based on a youthful experience during a time of low unemployment. You not only insult the unemployed your misrepresentation of jobless Americans is pathetic. Perhaps you need to live in the real world for 10 minutes. Many long term unemployed are older Americans, they are too young to retire but facing ageism in the work place. How dare you demean people who have worked their entire life only to fall victim to the greatest economic downturn since the great depression. They lost their jobs due to no fault of their own. Comparing your own experience of unemployment in your mid-20s to what many Americans have faced is silliness. Your arrogance is pathetic. Do you realize that there are 5 jobs for every job seeker? Do you realize that some people are caregivers and are not able to relocate to find employment? You are making generalizations about the unemployed based on what? What kinds of jobs should people be retrained for when jobs continue to be outsourced? Do you realize how much age discrimination is occurring in this job market? Your arrogance is pathetic and your entire opinion is just that, your opinion and baseless. One size does not fit all. Why don't you say what you really think? Why did you write this opinion? I think you did it to elevate yourself, demean the unemployed. Your rejeritated talking points is your declaration that you are a selfish, narrow minded person and you have understanding of this issue. Instead of attacking the unemployed with your heartless statements, why don't you save your hatefulness for those who caused this situation, why don't you speak out about 2 unfunded wars, the greed of Wall Street and present some real options to create jobs and safety nets to keep people from falling into poverty?

  • In reply to CmarPA:

    As a Career Coach I know what a difficult job market it is and am anything but narrow minded in my approach for employment. What workers need is new training and more job programs. One can not stay on unemployment compensation forever. Look at the many tips for finding a job and career transiition on this blog, along with the many others that offer useful information.

  • In reply to TerriLeeRyan:

    As a "Career Coach" you ought to be ashamed of yourself for not being educated enough about the current situation of the economy and joblessness!
    "They become too comfortable with not working and collecting a weekly check, rather than returning to a job that they didn't really like much, anyway. They hesitate to settle their claim because this would mean that they would have to return to their old job or find new work. Sometimes, it's easier to stay home and watch Oprah."
    You honestly think MILLIONS of people are just sitting around watching Oprah?? are you kidding me? Most of the unemployed cant even afford cable anymore which means watching Oprah let alone anything else is impossible. they are living in tent communities and homeless shelters across the country. Your accusations are baseless. As a Career coach you should know that returning to ones old job is absolutely out of the question because that job is no longer here!! I dont usually go around insulting people but you are so off base here and in my opinion an ignorant, heartless witch. I think YOU need to find a new career!! Unemployment Insurance is just that, INSURANCE!! The only way you can qualify for it is if you have WORKED a sufficient amount of time and paid into it. Americans did not create this situation, government did!! so now government needs to fix it and until they fix it people need UI to survive.

  • In reply to TerriLeeRyan:

    As a Republican conservative I know where you are coming from in your assumptions. I used to have them myself.

    You are both correct and incorrect. Yes, there should be more job creation and retraining of the workforce.

    HOWEVER -

    These both need to be tied to helping those of us who are out of work and unable to find employment through NO FAULT of our own.

    How dare you make assumptions based on your own life. Everyone's circumstances are different. The actual unemployment rate is probably closer to 20% than you or the government wishes to admit.

    I am a 51 year-old male. I am educated, and I have worked all of my life. Never once did I dream I would be in a situation where I would have to draw unemployment -- but, here I am. Life has a way of throwing you a curve, and sometimes there is simply nothing you can do about it.

    I do not sit at home with my feet up watching TV. My days are spent trying to find a J-O-B. If you think someone can actually survive on unemployment, you truly do live in a fantasy world. It doesn't even cover basic living expenses, much less food and utilities. Trips to apply or interview in person have to be carefully planned because we cannot afford the gas to simply drive around all day.

    Everyone (including my own employed friends and family) thinks it is so easy to just find another job. It doesn't even have anything to do with accepting a minimum wage burger-flipping job, either. Trust me, I have tried, and they would rather hire a 16 year-old that will stay with them through school than take a chance on an over-50 educated person that they [rightfully and understandably] assume will be gone as soon as they find a job for which they are qualified. One grocery store manager slid my resume and application across the table back to me and said, "Why should I hire you and spend the time training you when you will be gone as soon as you find something else? I can hire me a 16 year-old kid in high school who will stay here until he graduates, or maybe even longer if he wants to be a manager?"

    This is what I hear all the time. One can only "dumb down" their resume so much, and even then it won't take people long to catch on.

    I resent the fact you assume I am living on the government's dime. They are called Unemployment "Insurance" for a reason. In most cases we have paid into these funds for years. It's almost like automobile insurance: you have to have it, you pay into it for years, but don't even think of using it because your rates may go up or they may even cancel it if you do.

    I exhausted all of my Unemployment Insurance in March. Unable to find work, I was forced to give up my life and move in with family. Some people aren't as "fortunate" -- though I hesitate to think of myself as such. I miss my old life, being able to contribute my share to the economy by spending more than I should purchasing things I don't need to impress people I don't like.

    Sorry, a feeble attempt at humor.

    I don't blame you for feeling the way you do since I once held a similar perspective. Odd how one's views can change when you go from being the hunter to the prey.

    Good for you that you were able to make the changes you did -- when you were in your twenties. However, don't impose your life story on me when I sit here in my fifties and can't even get hired to sack groceries.

  • In reply to UneployedCons:

    Dear Unemployed Conservative: I have been called heartless,an arrogant witch and out of touch with the job market, so thank you for offering a balanced comment on my blog. I really am not the Ann Coltier of unemployment. I, too, am enraged with the handling of or I should say the lack of dealing with the job market. Our government has given too many parachutes to the very companies that ended up firing staff. I have had to rebuild my own life and career a few times due to a number of circumstances. I worked wherever I could to put a roof over my head and slept on my friends sofa with her dog. I don't have answers to where the jobs are going to come from in this lackluster economy. Perhaps, the government should set up a program apart from unemployment benefits that are most likely going to expire for many. I am sure you watch cable news and just today they said that the economy is getting better because they expect retail sales to go up this year. Obviously, this is incorrect when many like you are suffering.

  • In reply to TerriLeeRyan:

    YOU try living the "good life" on unemployment for 17 months like I have. YOU try living in S FL where the unemployment rate is 13%. YOU are in your plastic bubble looking at unemployed people as parasites. YOU must be a Republican who has the mindset of Mitch McConnell. Re-training? How about this...I went back to school in the 90's and earned my degree in IT and lost my job because of downsizing. Am I going back to school to get "re-trained? NO! Why? Because I spent $20k on my last training and have self taught myself since I finished school in 1997. I won't spend thousands of dollars more to get "re-educated. Also...I'm 59 years old which is probably the REAL problem in my case. I've had interviews that have gone well but haven't been hired for what I feel is AGE DISCRIMINATION. Think it doesn't exist? Think again. So...before you keep ranting that unemployment prevents people from looking for a job, etc. you should think long and hard about what is really happening in this country and it's very ugly...

  • In reply to TerriLeeRyan:

    Let me take some time off from watching Oprah to tell you how much of an A$$ you are. What a dumb statement and ignorant "writer" you are. I bet you are some rich biach who could not care less about the folks who are hurting. JUST SO YOU KNOW WRITING THIS ARTICLE ONLY HURTS THE VICTIMS OF THE ECONOMY. HOW DUMB CAN YOU BE? http://twitter.com/terrileeryan. I see you have a rough life. I hope you feel horrible for posting this POS article.

  • In reply to gettheminNOVEMBER:

    I do care about the lives of people struggling. I wish you well and stand by my comments. This economy will be struggling for sometime and I still don't think offering unemployment benefits until the market improves which could be years is the way to go. But, we could use some of that TARP money for those that have exhausted all of their benefits and still can't find a job.

  • In reply to TerriLeeRyan:

    Unemployment benefits put 1.61$ back into the economy with each dollar spent. The first line of your article is wrong. S3706 is the bill to add more weeks and if you bothered to do some research you would see its still in the finance committee. I also wish you would question why they want to add 700$ billion to the deficit without being paid for Rich will not spend the tax monies saved. It did not work the last 10 years and it will not now. The only thing I agree with you on is we should use the TARP money. Remember BUSH signed that bill in October of 2008. Obama sh0uld use it now. Some of it has been repaid as well and we could use that money. Politics and unemployment go hand and hand these days. How can THE RIGHT want the unemployment benefits to be paid for but not tax breaks for the rich? This is the richest congress in history who would have no problem voting themselves taxbreaks but not help the unemployed. The real unemployment rate is around 18% IF THEY PASSED A BILL FOR THE 99ERS THE TRUE UNEMPLOYMENT RATES WILL COME TO LIGHT, THAT IS WHY THEY DON'T WANT TO HELP PEOPLE. People would rather work and have a steady income and not have to beg for scrapes. WAKE UP AND SMELL THE REALITY. If you don't understand by posting this BS you are hurting people by swaying public opinion against the unemployed then YOU ARE HOPELESS. I will not stand by and let you tell lies.

  • In reply to CmarPA:

    Terri Lee, there are two important numbers that you may refer to elsewhere, but haven't mentioned here.

    The first is the number of job openings across the country. The Bureau of Labor Statistics publishes a monthly report, and as of the end of September, there were 2.9 million job openings nationwide.

    The second is the number of unemployed. Again, as of the end of September, there were 14.8 million out-of-work Americans. That number doesn't include people working part-time jobs instead of full time, or people who have left the workforce.

    Look at the math. If each and every one of those job openings were filled, that would leave 11.9 million people unemployed. And zero jobs.

    Asking "how long is too long" is asking the wrong question.

    Think of the local fire department. When they're putting out a fire, do you think they stop and ask themselves "We've been at this for hours. Don't you think we should stop?"

    Unemployment is like that building on fire. The right question to ask is "Did we get it all? Are all the flames and hot spots extinguished?" If the answer is yes, we can stop. If not, we have to keep going.

    Right now, we have to keep going. When you look at the ratio of unemployed to job openings, the numbers have never been higher than they are now. When that ratio returns to "normal" levels for a few months running, then we can start thinking that we've finally put the fire out.

  • In reply to HelpThe99ers:

    Hi 99, I take it you are one of the people that are receiving unemployment benefits or someone in your family is. There are many people that do not qualify for unemployment compensation that have managed to survive by taking jobs doing things they didn't want to do to survive this economy. It takes accountability to run your own career despite the economy and take control of your own destiny rather than waiting for another unemployment check, I believe in taking unemployment benefits as a bridge to a new job, but 99 weeks is long enough.

  • In reply to TerriLeeRyan:

    Terri Lee,

    You're answering the wrong question when you say that "99 weeks is long enough."

    You're also overlooking the numbers: 14.8 million out-of-work Americans. 2.9 million job openings. Fill each and every one of those openings: you're left with 11.9 million people and no job for them.

    Retraining helps people keep their skills sharp: no one would disagree that it's important to do that, but all the retraining in the world won't help if there is no job opening for that person.

    "Taking control of your destiny" is a nice motivational expression, but what exactly does it mean? Be an entrepreneur? Not everyone has the knowledge, skills or temperament to be successful in an economy that's already suffering through weak demand.

    "Waiting for another unemployment check" misses the point entirely. If you believe that people are unemployed in today's economy because they're sitting at home, waiting for unemployment checks, then I would respectfully submit to you that you don't understand the problem.

    One more time: 14.8 million unemployed. 2.9 million job openings. That's the problem. Until that problem is solved, the building's still on fire.

  • In reply to HelpThe99ers:

    Career Coach, your probably one of those parasites out there preying on the UNEMPLOYED for HELP in getting a JOB. ALL YOUR BS is JUST that. BS. All you Holier than thou RICHEEZ attitude will get turned around when we all come for you and your country club Ilk. You rich peoples days are numbered, you just don't know it. The Middle class and poor are going to rise up a put you all down.

  • In reply to HelpThe99ers:

    I see your point Terri, that the unemployed need new training. I am all for that. However, how can you justify cutting off benefits to people who need them to survive when the unemployment rate is almost 10% when the benefits were extended when the rate was only 7%? This seems counter intuitive. As a "career coach", whatever that is, I am sure stand to gain from re-training the unemployed but let's put that aside. You clearly aren't taking facts into consideration so let's put those aside as well. Your statement that 99 weeks is long enough is dubious. What is 99 weeks long enough for? Long enough to look for a job in the worst economy in 80 years? Long enough to risk everything starting a "business" so you don't need benefits? Why 99 weeks in particular? Do you feel that you will pay less taxes next year is the unemployed are cut off? Wouldn't it make sense to you as a "career coach" to keep people with a roof over their heads and offer some sort of re-training program? Possibly in green energy? However, none of that has been done and now you want to just cut off 15 million people who were hard working contributing members if society before wall street criminals ripped their lives apart. Your ridiculous arrogance aside, your argument still makes little sense.

  • In reply to HelpThe99ers:

    Career Coach

    The bill that was voted on in the House the other day was to renew benefits extensions that expire on 11/30/2010. This bill DID NOT extend benefits past 99 weeks. Although there is a bill in the Finance Committee to add a Tier 5 (S3706)there is little hope that this bill will be voted on or passed.

    Exactly how many unemployed people did you interview for this article? Have you spoken to any of the 2 million people that have exhausted all benefits (99 weeks) but still cannot find employment? Yes, there approximetly 1-2 million people that have exhausted all benefits, yet still cannot find work. You incorrectly state that these people can "fall back on welfare" once benefits are exhausted. Welfare is only available to people that have minor children...without minor children, people only qualify for foodstamps (about $200 a month) and heat/cooling assistance. $200 a month in food stamps does not pay rent, put gas in the car, pay for the phone, etc. There are people that have lost everything....they are now living in tents, sleeping in their car, or have committed suicide. Many of these people have trained for new jobs while on unemployement benefits.....after completing training they still cannot find employment because they have no experience in their new career field. They have also added thousands of dollars in student loans to their ever increasing debt load. There are job openings that state "Unemployed will not be considered" or "You must be currently employed". The unemployed are told that they are over qualified when applying at Target, Burger King, Macys McDonalds, and other minimum wage jobs.

    If an unemployed person was to take your advice, and was lucky enough to land a low paying job, exactly how is someone to survive on a minimum wage job, approx. $16,600 a year? You suggest working two jobs and receiving training for a new career....so you suggest someone should work 16 hours a day with a gross of $33,000 a year and attend school? Will you be adding extra hours in the day so they can sleep and drive to two jobs and school?

    Many of the unemployed are over 50....too young to retire, but too old to be hired. As a career coach, do you suggest that a 57 year old attend school to gain a new career? They will be out of school at 59....do you really think that they will be hired when there are 5 people for every job opening?

    For the record, my husband an I are employed but we do not have blinders on our eyes. We have neighbors, friends, and family that are out of work. They have applied for every job that they are remotely qualified for (including minimum wage jobs). Most of the time, they don't even receive a rejection letter, let alone an interview.

    Until the unemployment rate is at an accetable level, unemployment benefits MUST be extended over and over again so that people can have a roof over their heads and food on the table while they look for a job. Unemployment benefits are a stimulus to the economy. For every dollar spent, $1.64 is put back into the economy.

    The unemployed lost their job through no fault of their own. They must prove weekly that they are actively looking for employment. For your next article, speak to someone that has exhausted all benefits and is still unemployed......ask to see how many jobs they have applied to and how many replys/interviews they have received. Talk to people in tent cities, shelters, etc.

  • In reply to kitkat24:

    Thanks for your comment. But, welfare is available to people without dependents. As is SSI (Supplemental Security Income) which gives benefits for those unable to work who didn't pay into the system and have no assets. This would apparently not work for you but our government does provide programs for those that can not provide for themselves. I agree that this is the worst recession since the depression but unemployment benefits are not a long-term solution. My point is that there job seekers need to look for a job differently than they have in the past. I have never gotten a job online or through a newspaper. I appreciate that you want and need to work and companies are hiring but in many cases they fill the job before it goes to market. You need to keep networking, volunteering at places that may hire, learn new skills,stay informed on new industries that match your skill set and cold calling companies that are in your field of work. Many of the jobs just aren't coming back. This economy is the worst I have ever seen and I am sensitive to the plight of you and so many Americans out of work, but unemployment compensation for years doesn't solve the problem.

  • In reply to TerriLeeRyan:

    No, it doesn't solve the problem, I doubt you will find a single person that think it does. At best its a stop gap that keeps people from falling into the black hole of the welfare system and at worst keeps them from being on the streets. Unemployment has never been extended for this long but likewise it has never been cut off with unemployment this high. So there is the reverse of the argument. It all comes down to your own moral compass which appeals to you more

  • In reply to TerriLeeRyan:

    You are wrong. Welfare is NOT available when someone has no dependent children. This is what is available in my state for a married couple with no income and no assets: Energy Assistance, Medicare Savings Program, and SNAP (foodstamps) That's it!!!!! There is no help with rent payments, telephone, etc. Look for yourself.....go to Virginia Department of Social Services and check out the benefits available to a married couple with no children, no income and no assets.

    For SSI.....it takes most people two years to receive the benefits and you must be disabled to qualify. From the Social Security website: The definition of disability under Social Security is different than other programs. Social Security pays only for total disability. No benefits are payable for partial disability or for short-term disability.

    "Disability" under Social Security is based on your inability to work. We consider you disabled under Social Security rules if:

  • In reply to TerriLeeRyan:

    Many people who aren't directly affected by the current unemployment situation are unable to fully understand the full scope of what is really happening. This leads to a lot of gross generalizations, assumptions and prejudices that defy the facts.

    I have engaged the advice of career coaches, making my job search a full-time job with overtime. For the last year and a half I have engaged in massive amounts of networking, meeting many new centers of influence each week, while nurturing and maintaining those relationships. I have attended and volunteered at many industry events, and obtained key speaking engagements. Several times I have been interviewed by the press and appeared in print and radio. I am using social media tools to create new connections, stay visible and establish myself as a thought leader in my industry. In addition to staying abreast of trends and news within my industry, I have also returned to school.

    Colleagues and people in my circle do not understand why I have not been hired yet. Yes, I have come close several times, but over-qualification usually takes me out of consideration.

    What I am trying to get at is that there are literally millions of smart, talented, experienced, educated, resourceful people who are suffering from long-term unemployment. I see them at every career and networking event. There is an incredibly enormous pool of talent ready to be gainfully employed again. Many, many years and many, many dollars are invested in our careers. Most of us have transferable skills which can be applied across various industries. Most of us do not need to be retrained.

    Would you tell a lawyer who spent many years in law school, took out tens of thousands of dollars in student loans, and spent years building a career that they should go be re-trained to be a nurses aide? Would you tell a doctor to get re-trained to become an admin assistant? Of course not. That would be asinine. It would also be irresponsible to think that 15,000,000 people could start a business from scratch, when only a fraction of new businesses ever get off the ground.

    A responsible society governs in a way that encourages private sector growth to provide enough employment for its citizens. Our government has done nothing but fail the private sector, failing to regulate sensibly, and choosing to bail out irresponsible and downright criminal enterprises. Main Street and the citizens that live on it deserve to be protected from the fallout until the economic climate has stabilized to the historically acceptable level of employment. To do otherwise is gross neglect and morally irresponsible.

    I am appalled when ignorant people refer to unemployment insurance benefits as "welfare". In order to collect unemployment you must have had a work history, lost your job through NO fault of your own, and PROVE that you are actively searching for work. The insurance premiums that were paid by previous employers were surely deducted from the bottom line gross compensation that employees were paid. In now way do employers absorb or "eat" that expense. It is passed along to their employees in the form of lowered compensation. Insurance is just that. Insurance. The responsible thing for our legislators to have done is to use historical Department of Labor statistics to set a schedule of benefit terms which are tied to each state's unemployment rate, regardless of duration. It should never be acceptable to drop unemployment insurance when 10-15% unemployment still exists in many states.

    And, as others have pointed out, it all boils down to simple math -- For every job that is created, more than four will left standing empty-handed and still unemployed.

  • In reply to kitkat24:

    Thank you all for your comments. I am aware of how difficult this job market is, especially for people over 50 that are having a more difficult time finding work that corresponds with their experience. All of our lives have been affected by this recession. It is becoming an economy of the have and the have-nots. I, too, am angered by the bad decisions this Administration have made in the use of TARP money and the poor handling of the banks that will no longer loan money with people with debt, which seems to be all of us. I know that many see unemployment compensation as a stop gap for survival. People are frightened and tired. Yet, I am fearful that the longer people are on unemployment benefits the more difficult it will be to ever find a job and those receiving long term unemployment benefits will be on welfare. I am trying to get job seekers to re-invent themselves by doing things differently than they have in the past when looking for a job. I really do want to help and am here to offer advice for a successful job search.

  • In reply to TerriLeeRyan:

    Then please be constructive in your advice, okay? While I agree that there needs to be some stimulation of the economy and jobs, the solution isn't to take help from those who need it, the middle class that has worked and served the system for so long to increase the profits of Corporate America.

    If you can truly feel good about yourself as you sit in the warmth of your home, enjoying a big turkey dinner and opening presents while so many of your fellow Americans - victims of a horrible economy - try to make it through the winter with no heat, or worse, no place to live.

    What is your answer to the hiring managers we encounter who tell us not to bother applying if we are unemployed? Do you have jobs you can refer me to in my area that will hire me?

    Instead of making a judgment call on something that isn't affecting you personally, how about being a part of the solution and presenting us with employers that will hire us right now?

  • In reply to TerriLeeRyan:

    How about doing some research before writing this tripe. I was strung along by my employer for 9 months telling me work would come. It never did so I decided to go back to school. Now I am almost done and my benefits are cut off. Know how hard it is to find a job now? Try with a full time school schedule. Now the holidays are here and xmas is going to suck for MILLIONS. Get s CLUE! YOU WRITING THIS BS ONLY HURTS PEOPLE GET IT??

  • In reply to gettheminNOVEMBER:

    The very first line in this BS Blog is a LIE!

  • In reply to TerriLeeRyan:

    Terri, I agree with your assertion that job training is needed but you do not push that as the major point of your argument. You just say enough is enough and want to cut off 15 million people from their lifeline. So go back to your gold coast home and wait for your Bush tax extensions.

  • In reply to TerriLeeRyan:

    Terri Lee, I think you inadvertently pushed a hot button without realizing it until the comments came in.

    That said, there are some statements of fact that need correcting: TARP was launched by the Bush Administration, not by the Obama Administration. Not many of us know it, but TARP has largely been repaid. Bad decision? Quite the opposite. We can discuss the lack of strings attached to the bailouts to prevent the need for another TARP in the future, but the program served its purpose well, and at a much lower cost to us than originally anticipated.

    Second statement: this economy isn't becoming one of haves and have nots - it's been that way since the early 1980s, when the gap between the richest and the rest started growing to proportions not seen since the era of the robber barons at the turn of the 20th century.

    Unemployment benefits aren't just a stopgap: they're what's known as an "automatic stabilizer" - a way to prevent complete income loss for the individual, and a way to support consumer spending during times of economic downturn. They help the individual, and equally important, they help the economy as a whole. As one of your other commenters noted, it's estimated that unemployment benefits provide a much bigger "bang for the buck" than tax cuts, with each dollar of unemployment benefits adding roughly $1.61 to GDP over a year's time.

    You said that you are fearful that the longer people are on unemployment benefits, the more difficult it will be to find a job. That's only party right: the longer someone's unemployed, the harder it is to find a job. Receiving EUC isn't relevant to finding work; being one of the long-term unemployed is.

    I'll amend that: there is a study showing that unemployment benefits do add to the amount of time someone returns to work, because they let people take the time needed to find a job better suited for their skills.

    I take you at your word that you're offering help, and I'm grateful that you and other career coaches are here for that purpose. But as you mentioned earlier, unemployment benefits are like a bridge. And like a bridge, they have to go all the way across to the other side. They can't stop mid-way.

  • In reply to TerriLeeRyan:

    I think there are a lot of people who incorrectly believe that unemployment is welfare, and that the unemployed should take ANY job regardless of fit, suitability or feasibility. Unemployment insurance is indeed insurance. This is a verbatim quote from my state's unemployment office:

    "Benefits are not based on need; they are not charity or welfare."

    Additionally, the department also states that claimants are under no obligation to accept work which is unsuitable. From the department's guidelines:

    Q. Do I have to accept any job that is offered?

    A. You do not have to look for or accept work that is not suitable. Work is not suitable if:

    * The work is not in line with your training and experience.
    * You must join or resign from a labor union.
    * The hours or working conditions are not as favorable as most other jobs in your occupation in your area.
    * The work is farther than the usual commuting distance for people in your occupation in your area.
    * The wages offered are lower than the wages common for that occupation in your area.
    * The work is unreasonably dangerous.
    * You cannot physically do the work.
    * The work would offend your religious beliefs or moral conscience.

  • In reply to TerriLeeRyan:

    I think "Career Coach" is ignoring the fact that 99 weeks encompasses a workers entire life, not each bout of unempoyment.

  • In reply to TerriLeeRyan:

    I agree that a percentage of the workers can stand to be a little more creative to individually find new employment, but as "Help the 99ers" cited by the Bureau of Labor Statistics they're is currently approximately a 1 to 5 discrepancy of jobs available and job seekers. So if that on person was a little more creative and got that new job; theoretically that person would be taking food out of 4 others' family's mouths in this economy.

    But is it such a crime to have been unemployed for only 2 years of your entire life? I'm just grateful that I live under a government that allows me that small protection so hopefully i won't ever have to be begging on the streets, at friends doorsteps asking for a space on the couch for awhile, or have to resort to crime, just to get by.

    "How long is too long" is definately asking the WRONG question, Our economy has to grow, businesses need to have a reason to need to hire more people. This problem is bigger than all the petty examples you used in this article; that's why people are getting mad with you.

    Respectfully Rebecca.

  • In reply to TerriLeeRyan:

    I have been unemployed for 1.5 years and really have enjoyed it. I certainly have decreased my cost structure, and thought about life differently. I was quite worried about the economy starting in 1999 after the first bubble and started buying gold with my savings. I never thought I would be unemployed, but after 2 weeks my anxiety resolved. I have enough savings to retire now, but I feel I'm to young. One thing this break from work has taught me is that I worked to hard before. I won't take a job unless it is right for me.

  • In reply to TerriLeeRyan:

    Hi Timestalker, Thanks for your comment. You are proof that by paying attention to the economy and job market and preparing for any job loss is the way to survive this difficult economy. You also appear to have re-evluated what you want in a new job, like to work less. So, I commend you for having the right attitude and being accountable for your own career choices rather than blaming the government or former employees. Good luck!

  • In reply to TerriLeeRyan:

    Wow. You still don't get it, do you. Hell has a special place for people like you.

  • In reply to kitkat24:

    First off, I'm independent with leanings both left and right depending on the topic, so please refrain from pigeon holing me in your liberal/conservative paradigm, that kind of thing is part of why we're here.

    At 35 years old and a married mother of 3 I had done everything right, worked hard, got a degree in business, bought a house that we could afford without any crazy financing tricks, paid all my bills on time...until I was laid off last year when the company after 10 years and multiple promotions decided to split my position among 5 other people (without giving them any additional compensation either). My husband who has a solid trade as a diesel mechanic was laid off earlier this year due to low demand where he was but thankfully found something within a month, although at a 25% pay cut...

    I don't blame the companies for what they did, I worked with the sales team and was was responsible for analyzing the numbers, I knew it was starting to get bleak and something had to give. I was one of the few not making minimum wage plus commission and one of the only places left they could cut. I was sacrificed to save the rest.

    I miss being able to move to tier 4 by 3 days...you see there is a large percentage of us currently on unemployment that won't even get to the 99 weeks on top of those that have already exhausted. My brother who also was laid off won't get anything beyond 26 weeks, he and his family have already moved back in with my parents meaning there is no room there for us.

    I live in an area of California that has an official unemployment rate in excess of 15%, which means the real rate is in excess of 20%. I've been turned down by Target, Walmart, and McDonalds to name a few because I'm so over qualified. 98% of all the resumes I send out I never even get a response from let alone an interview, and this includes the ones I have pounded the pavement to submit. The few that were kind enough to talk to me about why I wasn't selected told me about the overwhelming volume of resumes they got and quite frankly half didn't even see mine if I wasn't near the top of the pile when they started sorting through them. So all of that tweaking, re-tweaking, dumbing down, adjusting, and rewriting of my resume for every single position didn't even get a glance.

    My children were in daycare full time while I worked but were moved to 2 days a week so I can be available to interview...now with no further extension that will also end and my provider will also be forced to close her business of 15 years. We were her last non state funded family and California has had problems paying providers that work with welfare recipients lately...so there is another family beyond my own that is dependent on unemployment to weather this storm albeit indirectly.

    So what now....move?

    Are you going to pay the several thousand dollars it will take for me to move my entire family out of this area? Even if my husband or I manage to land a position out of state and we manage to afford to send one of us ahead that is still 2 homes that we would need to maintain and try to save to get the rest of the family out.

    With my husbands income, we make too much for welfare, food stamps, or any services...but after our house payment, health and auto insurance, utilities, and our 1 car payment there is nothing left. We don't spend any money at all other than absolute necessity and it still doesn't stretch quite far enough, yep we're at that ramen stage.

    So should I re-train and to what? Again we make to much for me to qualify for any assistance and going into debt for something that doesn't have a guaranteed job waiting at the end doesn't make sense.

    Create my own job? Any suggestions? What kind of business can I start right now with no monetary investment, since I can't afford one, that will actually turn a profit let alone replace my income in less than a year. Oh and then there is that wonderful caveat that if you decide to try and self-employ even if you don't make any money and fail miserably you can't collect unemployment, because well technically you are employed...

    Please tell me what the right answer is since you appear to be all knowing, I have paid into this system since I was 16 years old and this is the first time I have ever drawn on it and I have never been out of work for more than 2 weeks at any other time in my life. Please pray tell what now...if you were in my place what would your next step be, walk in my shoes and see outside the dingy windows of your glass house.

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    This is nonsense. I am a 51 year old woman about to earn a Master's degree and I have learned new skills. They have not helped me in the least, why? Because apparently I am too old. You do realize that many of the unemployed are older workers and nobody seems willing to hire them. What is your advice for them? I even went so far as to apply at McDonald's, see before I went back to school (prior to the economy tanking), I was a very successful McDonald's manager but I wanted normal working hours to I could have some chance of raising my daughter so I decided to go to school. McDonalds' hiring manager, regardless of my stellar work history said to me and I quote "I have a couple concerns one is your experience and it may be intimidating to those with less and two, everyone else in the store is younger then you?? So again what is your advice to people such as myself, when training is not the issue, but rather discrimination (near impossible to prove) is the issue?

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