Unemployment benefits cut early for thousands – part 2

Rick Scott

Under Governor Rick Scott, some say, it is harder to qualify for unemployment in Florida than in any other state. Image: Gage Skidmore/Flickr/CC BY-SA

As we have seen, many states have been forced to prematurely end the extended unemployment benefits of thousands. Additionally, some states, apart from the acts of Congress, are also making applicants jump through more hoops to qualify.

More than half rejected in Fla.

Florida, where unemployment is 8.7 percent, is the toughest. According to wepartypatriots.com, nearly 44,000 Florida applicants were denied benefits between August and April because they could not finish a 45-question test.

Under Tea Party Governor Rick Scott’s watch, fewer than half of new unemployment applicants qualify for benefits. Nationally, that figure is more than 70 percent.

Florida Legal Services attorney Valory Greenfield said in a formal complaint filed with the U.S. Labor Department, the National Employment Law Project and Florida Legal Services:

“Florida’s revised procedures make it just about as difficult as possible for unemployed workers to access unemployment insurance now. The effect is that the state is blocking workers from accessing help they are qualified for and twisting the knife in the state’s ailing economy. Nowhere in the country is it this hard to get help when you lose a job.”

Hurts those unemployed longest

Those most severely affected by having their benefits axed early will be those who have been unemployed the longest and count on those benefits the most. While many would say these numbers represent those who fraud or suckle off the system, the fact is, there simply are not enough jobs available for the number of seekers in our economy.

Mary McMillan, of the AFL-CIO, said:

“There’s one job for every three job seekers. We feel like, in this tough labor market, we still need to provide support to these families who are struggling to pay bills and put food on the table.”

Economic payback

Another effect of cutting the benefit extensions is a slowing of the economic recovery. The road to recovery, many economists will tell you, is through spending. Giving spending money to the unemployed not only keeps them going, it feeds the nation’s economy, rather than draining it.

As John Grgurich of the Motley Fool put it:

“By putting money in people’s pockets, unemployment insurance works as a kind of back-door fiscal stimulus.”

Currently, the American economy is growing by only about 2.2 percent a year. That is stubbornly slow, more than three years after the end of the Great Recession. It is growth, but it is very tentative growth that could be easily halted, or even reversed, if we are not careful and vigilant.


We Party
New York Times
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