Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Unemployment Benefits Extended

I just received an unemployment check and noticed there was about one additional check left on this extension. I’ve been meaning to figure out my exact status but assumed another extension would kick in after this one. I’ve heard of at least a couple new fed ed extensions since my most recent claim began. I looked at California’s EDD website. As far as I can tell, EDD aims to promote confusion and delay claims with their website. There has got to be a clearer and better way to deliver information . . . and there are people with mad skills who could use really use the work right now. It’s a no brainer.

Wait . . . my advice is to skip the rest of this post unless:

1) You’ve been naughty and need to be punished.

2) You’re a personal friend or relative and feel obligated (you can always nod and smile politely when I ask you if you saw this, and I’ll never know the difference).

3) You’re unemployed/underemployed and just as confused as I am.

Here’s what EDD had to say about unemployment extensions yesterday:

Filing deadlines for federal unemployment extension benefits are fast approaching. Unless the U.S. Congress takes action to extend the current filing deadlines, Sunday, February 21, 2010, is the deadline for filing a first federal extension of benefits once a regular Unemployment Insurance (UI) claim runs out. In addition, the current deadline for filing for a second, third, or fourth federal extension is Sunday, February 28, 2010. The impact on claimants depends on when they started their regular UI claim and when they are set to exhaust their current benefits.

More Recently Unemployed

Unless there is further federal legislative action, anyone exhausting their regular UI claim after February 21, 2010, will not be eligible to collect on any of the four federal extensions currently in place. Such a situation would apply to someone who started a typical 26-week regular claim any time after August 16, 2009.

However, California currently meets the threshold for a separate extension of benefits known as FED-ED. Additional benefits are potentially available for eligible claimants once they run out of their original maximum of 26 weeks of benefits and remain unemployed. Learn more about the FED-ED extension program.

Unemployed for a Longer Period

For those on a federal extension: The current deadlines does allow claimants to continue to collect on whatever extension they are currently on until benefits run out, or they are eligible to file a regular new UI claim, or the federal payment deadline of July 31, 2010 (which ever happens first). Claimants would not be able to move into any next level of the four federal extension benefits currently available.

• If a claimant has exhausted his or her current level of extension and remains unemployed, it is possible that he or she could become eligible for the separate FED-ED extension. Learn more about the FED-ED extension program.

• If a claimant has already collected on a FED-ED extension based on his or her most recent regular claim (initiated before the end of 2009), he or she is not eligible to file for another FED-ED extension. Therefore, the federal extension collected on after February 28, 2010, will be the last one available unless Congress again decides to extend the current filing deadlines on federal extensions.

For those currently on a FED-ED extension: If Congress does not take action to extend the current version of the FED-ED extension law, and California continues to meet the threshold for FED-ED benefits, a FED-ED extension may be reduced to a maximum of up to 13 weeks of benefits beginning March 7, 2010. If this happens and a claimant is affected by this change, he or she will be notified by mail.

Once a claimant has collected all available benefits on their regular claim or extension, EDD will notify the claimant on their UI check stub if further extended benefits may be available based on the current federal filing deadlines.

In addition, since Congress could take action to extend the current filing deadlines on federal extensions, you are encouraged to watch this Web site for further developments. You can also sign up for our Twitter messages so you are alerted as soon as any new information is posted on our Web site.

EDD is as unclear as ever. Here's the main point: the deadline to file for any of the four federal unemployment extensions just passed. I wish I could come up with a creative string of profanity to represent what that means to me. One issue is that I work about 10 hours weekly and more when the hours are available. I claim my earnings, which are then deducted from my monthly unemployment benefits, even though the lump sum of the claim remains the same. A claim that might last six months if I wasn’t working might instead last up to 12 months. So, if I wasn’t working, I would have met the deadline to file for another extension and then some.

I would prefer to NOT be collecting unemployment. I would rather NOT struggle to decipher governmentese while breaking into prickly hot sweats and humming nervously to blot out my panicked thoughts. In my quest to NOT be in this position, I apply to jobs religiously and look diligently for opportunities that could lead to financial independence. Independence being key, as my goal is to never again be financially dependent . . . on a person or assistance program.

There is good news this Tuesday evening . . . Congress passed a bill tonight that temporarily extends unemployment benefits for one month, buying time for a yearlong solution to be worked out. What a relief! It was just a couple days ago that I became acquainted with the name Jim Bunning. The Republican senator from Kentucky has taken a national beating for attempting to block the federal extension of unemployment benefits, among other things. Even Unemployed Brooklyn, who is normally exceptionally polite, called Bunning a douche. Jon Stewart’s assessment of the situation is definitely worth watching if you’ve been in a financially uncertain position due to Bunning.

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1 comment:

  1. Payback time next Nov for all repubs--John Cornyn.TX I have taken you in my intense focus