Extended unemployment benefits to be cut in several states
In the next couple of months, more than 115,000 Americans will lose their extended unemployment benefits under a new federal law that forbids states with steady or falling unemployment rates from issuing extended benefits to their residents. With those additional cuts, the number of people who have lost their extended benefits so far this year will total more than 500,000.
Specifically, the benefits affected are those paid by the federal government which provide people who have already been out of work for between 60 and 79 weeks with an additional 13 to 20 weeks of unemployment checks. Unfortunately, it is also that long-term unemployed group which has the greatest difficulty in finding new employment. Therefore, cutting off their unemployment benefits will likely lead to deep debt, bankruptcy and foreclosure for many.
This problem will likely only get worse in the coming months. Many states are reportedly reducing the second phase of benefits, which are given to people who have been unemployed for between 26 and 79 weeks.
Economists believe that, while the benefit cuts will lower the unemployment rate, they will also have a negative effect on consumer spending and economic growth.
Although this particular change will not affect residents of Georgia, it is a sobering reminder that the shaky financial stability on which many unemployed people rest may be even less secure than they believe. One small change in the law or in your circumstances can take away your primary source of income and leave you and your family struggling to make ends meet. And because these laws will likely persist in the coming months and years, it may not be long before the long-term unemployed in Georgia see their benefits cut.
If you find yourself in this situation and are unable to pay your bills as a result, it may be a good idea to contact an experienced Atlanta bankruptcy attorney to discuss your options.
Source: USA Today, “Many unemployed facing early end to benefits,” Paul Davidson, May 29, 2012
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