Fiscal Cliff: Info on Expiring Unemployment Benefits For Californians

It is not looking particularly good in terms of resolving the fiscal-cliff tiff, at least before the entire country is caught in mid-air flapping its arms.

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As of this moment, here’s the sitch, from AP:

President Barack Obama says “the hour for immediate action is here” on a deal to avert the fiscal cliff. The president says he remains “optimistic” that an agreement can be reached in Congress before a looming year-end deadline to avoid tax increases and spending cuts. If Congress can’t reach a deal, the president says Congress should allow a vote on a basic package that would preserve tax cuts for middle-class Americans while extending unemployment benefits for the long-term jobless and working toward a foundation for a broader deal. The president says an hourlong meeting Friday with congressional leaders was “good and constructive.” Senate leaders say they hope to reach a compromise that could be presented to lawmakers by Sunday, little more than 24 hours before the deadline.

If you want to continue to monitor this cliffhanger, our colleagues at NPR’s Two-Way blog are following the story.

If we actually go over that precipice, it’s the cessation of extended unemployment benefits that could be felt the most by those already struggling. On that front, if no deal is reached, the expiration of benefits for those who have had them extended is Saturday, Dec. 29 (tomorrow), “even if someone may have a balance remaining on a federal extension claim,” according to the California Employment Development Department.

Today the EDD issued the following statement, and it includes important information for those who are receiving extended unemployment benefits.

End of Federal Extensions of Unemployment Benefits as Congress Continues to Discuss Fiscal Cliff Issues

SACRAMENTO – The federal extensions of unemployment benefits are set to expire after Saturday, December 29th as Congress works to determine if the program should be reauthorized and whether benefits should continue for an estimated 400,000 impacted Californians.

The California Employment Development Department (EDD) which administers the federal extension program in California along with the regular state-provided unemployment benefits is keeping customers alerted to the latest developments so they’ll know what to expect.  The necessary technical programming to restart extension benefits has already been prepared in the event Congress and the President do agree to extend payments in their federal extension program without making changes in the existing weeks or tiers of benefits.

“Because the situation regarding the federal extensions is so fluid at this time and the cut-off of these benefits can have devastating effects on many long-term unemployed in California, the EDD is closely monitoring the discussions in Washington D.C.,” said Pam Harris, the EDD Director.  “We strongly encourage our customers to keep an eye on our EDD website, Facebook, and Twitter pages for any updates on developments so they can be as prepared as possible.”

If the extension benefits are reauthorized within a few days of their expiration this weekend, then any interruption in extension payments should be avoided.  The EDD will automatically re-open extension claims and send customers the necessary paperwork.  Customers do NOT need to contact the department as EDD will work to seamlessly restart the extension program.

But the longer any decision to reauthorize the program goes beyond the expiration date on Saturday, the longer potential delays could occur in eventually restarting extension payments. If Congress makes major changes in the existing program, EDD will require some additional time to make those changes and will work diligently to ensure that potential delays are minimized.  And, if the U.S. Congress decides NOT to reauthorize the extension of unemployment benefits, then customers need to be aware that no further extension payments can be made by the EDD after this week- even if someone remains unemployed and still has a balance remaining on their current extension claim.

For the last 4 ½ years, the federal government has provided anywhere between 47 and 73 weeks of additional benefits to the unemployed who had run out of their original up to 26 weeks of regular state-provided benefits.  With the unprecedented demand of the recession, a total of more than $40 billion has been paid in federal extension benefits in California.

California’s unemployment rate is currently 9.8 percent. The state says more than 920,000 people are currently certified for benefits, and that “the majority of these customers are collecting on a federal extension claim while the remainder are somewhere in the midst of a regular unemployment claim.” More information on unemployment extensions from EDD here.

KQED’s Rachel Dornhelm today headed over to the EDD Career Center on Turk Street in San Francisco for reaction. “I cannot pay my rent … It’s really tough,” Ahmed Almutar told her. “In the meantime I’ve got to keep my fingers cross that I get paid.”

Christian Simonetti said he’s not on an extension, but said without benefits during the times he’s been unemployed over the last two years, he would have “lost everything.”

“I’m really galled by the fact the Republicans and Democrats can’t come up with a solution,” he said, though he mostly blamed Republicans. “They should think about the very real effects that it will have on peoples’ lives. More people will become homeless, more people will become hungry, more people will end up on government assistance of one sort or another.”

Related

  • http://www.facebook.com/eddie.sullivan.908 Eddie Sullivan

    It would be irresponsible and wrong for the goverment to let millions of people that trusted in them to slip into complete poverty in one single day. Maybe the Mayans were right and they were just ballparking it. Studies show people on unemployment look harder for work than those unemployed and not recieving benifits. All of the money that goes out for unemployment benifits goes driectly back into the economy when they spend it on essentials for bills and thier families it creates more jobs and work. Economy experts estimate 300,000 jobs being created in January if benifits were extended for continuation. The unemployment situation is already so bad you can see the desperation in the eyes of people struggling for work. I can’t really believe they would extend Bush’s tax cuts for the rich but abruptly end all unemployment for the poor. People will go homeless, crime will go up and even less money will be going into the economy and more people will lose thier jobs. Do they really want to create a class war? It’s at the point where things can start to get better or get worse beyond repair. Just do the right f ing thing and extend the uneployment benifits, make the rich pay the same damn tax as everyone else, or more.

  • Truth

    These people who have been unemployed for more than 6 months are lazy!

    • http://www.facebook.com/eddie.sullivan.908 Eddie Sullivan

      your an idiot to judge people i hope you lose your job prick they’ll be cuttng back without all that unemployment money being pumped into the economy, congress is lazy, the house and senate are lazy and if they don’t do thier job and extend uneployment everyone will suffer, you’ll prolly get car jacked and shot

      • http://twitter.com/stayliquidstock StayLiquid

        No, he’s right. How dare you lazy bums not do your fair share.

        Don’t you know how expensive it is to pay for government employees pensions?

        Do you have ANY idea how much money it costs to drop a bunker buster on a mud hut from a drone, halfway around the world?

        Get to work and stop whining, you lazy bum, we got some murdering to do.

        How the F do you think Shell is going to sell jet fuel? How are the bomb makers kids going to ever get their own yachts? How can your kid ever learn if his teacher isn’t driving a BMW?… Do your fair share, buddy.

    • Compass

      Wow truth your so heartless just because your in a better situation then others don’t mean anything i gives you no right to judge less fortunate you better pray someone will help. You when u fall off your high horse I hope your employment dose suddenly disappear on you and you find your self in the same boat

    • Not Lazy

      Since I had no control over the company laying off a large number of us after 15 years and plus, I feel I’ve kept busy with a positive attitude. I’ve been looking for employment since April utilizing every possible resource imaginable, even creating a twitter and tumblr blog for another outlet of possibilites. I feel I have a strong resume, references that will validate everything on there and have a great personality. I’ve continued and increased my hours volunteering in the meantime while unemployed so that employers will see that I still have a strong work ethic under the circumstances. I’ve opened up to relocating and taking a salary cut just so I can at least make ends meet for the time being, while having benefits also (something I’ve always had). “Truth”, please define “lazy” so I don’t fall under that category. I think I’ve been keeping my spirits up during this experience just like many others out there. Even when I come across comments like yours. Have a great day :) I’m sure we’ll solve this Fiscal Cliff issue. Cheers!

      • morning glory

        Our job are being
        exported in other country. There are no longer jobs left for the Americans
        unless you accept a 1 dollar per hour overseas. Also, there are no longer any
        factories left to work here in the U.S. neither. Look at your clothes and your sandals. They were all made in China.We are getting 3rd world country and the third world country are getting super power.That is how we stand now a days. In other asian countries, retirement age is between 50 and 55 years old. Here in the U.S., it is 66- 70 years old. Hopefully you are still alive by that time to see if the social security still kicking and alive.Third world are having better benefits now a days with their retirement than in the U.S. Good luck for your search. It is very pityful situations. Just take your breath and wait.

        • http://twitter.com/stayliquidstock StayLiquid

          HAHA! what did you think was going to happen? We were going to make $50/hr. and compete with Chinese and Indian labor at $1/day? Why do you think all the “jobs” are done in private prisons now? Want a job? Go to prison.

          The true irony? You owe the Social Security for the people who VOTED to allow this to happen!! HAHAHA!

    • seagulllover

      no we are not lazy, there are no jobs. I have been unemployed since 2010 and nothing.

  • wilson

    My benefits will end at the end of the year, and I still haven’t found a job. We need this extention. That’s 2 million people out of work. We didn’t ask for our jobs to let us go. We need this.

  • Budget Franks

    I’ve been applying all over the country for jobs that pay less than half of what I used to make. Should I land a job I’d be leaving my family behind and hopefully find a couch to rent off of craiglist for a few months to settle in before moving the whole family to the new area. I have an outstanding cover letter, a detailed resume, tremendous references and several recommendation letters. For some terrifying reason, I can’t get a job if I had a gun to my head. Something really scary is going on in our country folks, people like “Truth” will learn the hard way when it’s their turn to face these struggles. I’m to the point where I will buy a job, anybody have a job for sale? If unemployment is not extended my family will be homeless at the end of January, the real truth.

  • Lily

    I really hope for the extention, with a little baby and no help we will be starving!!!

  • http://twitter.com/AndrewMaddix Andrew Maddix

    The idea that 400,000 Californians will be all looking for a job at the same time is incomprehensible. Granted we all should be looking daily, but we all know that a large part of that 400,000 were not. This could be disasterous.

  • WTF dude

    It’s Sunday, December 30 and still no update from Congress? CRAZY. Talk about dragging your feet. Wasn’t the deadline uh, yesterday? LOL Millions of Americans still Unemployed and in the dark. Way to go United States! er,uh “Not so United States.”

  • Nevada Angel

    Wow! I have read just about all of these comments and I am truly praying for the best for this economy as a whole. Only God knows the outcome and we will have to trust for the best. I have been out of work for the past 18 months, and yes, this could put me out of my home…..but I trust and have faith because God has given us all intelligent minds to prepare ourselves for what is to come. Be blessed.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kjell.sands Kjell Sands

    republicans want our country to tank for a while, if only to make Obama look bad

Author

Jon Brooks

Jon Brooks writes mostly on film for KQED Arts. He is also an online editor and writer for KQED's daily news blog, News Fix. Jon is a playwright whose work has been produced in San Francisco, New York, Italy, and around the U.S.

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