"Extended [Unemployment] benefits will expire unless Congress acts"

Why was it so necessary to increase unemployment benefits when the unemployment rate was around 7 percent but now that it is 10.2 percent it is no longer necessary? The title for the CNN piece is "1 million jobless face benefits loss in January."

One million people could lose unemployment benefits in January if Congress doesn't extend federal aid, according to a report released Wednesday.

The report is likely to turn up pressure on lawmakers and the president, who earlier this month enacted a record-long extension of federally paid benefits. But the law only helps those who exhaust their lifelines by year's end.

As it stands now, the deadline to apply for federally paid benefits is Dec. 31. So while unemployment benefits now run as long as 99 weeks, depending on the state, not everyone will receive checks for that long a stretch.

"Congress has less than four weeks left on its schedule to legislate this year, and unless it acts to renew the unemployment provisions during this period, the clock will run out for a million workers," said Christine Owens, executive director for the National Employment Law Project.

Those who run out of their 26 weeks of state-paid coverage in 2010 will not receive any additional benefits. The jobless currently receiving extended federal benefits, which are divided into tiers, will stop getting checks once they complete their tier. . . .

See also this story here.

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