Senate Breathes Life into Unemployment Insurance Benefits

KRA Corporation looks at the recent development in the Senate regarding the extension of long-term emergency unemployment benefits after it stalled in January.

Legislation coming out of the Senate is set to reauthorize the emergency unemployment insurance (EIU) benefits for some two and a quarter million Americans who have been without it since the end of last year when it was allowed to lapse by lawmakers.

By a vote of 65-34 last Thursday, the Senate received the necessary 60 votes to advance EUI benefits coverage. The bipartisan effort ended the filibuster, which had blocked any chance of its passage onto the Congress. And on Monday, it received another push with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) moving to have the bill receive a final vote, which is expected this week.

There is a provision that aims to strengthen re-employment services and eligibility assessment programs by making state-based skill assessment processes for unemployed workers a more personalized endeavor. Jobseekers will be provided up-to-date information regarding in-demand skills and credentials for a better understanding of the market and viable career paths.

If the deal is reached, the benefits will be extended through May, and paid retroactively to those who are eligible. It is good news for recipients; however, it is still likely to receive opposition once it makes its way to Congress.

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) is vocally opposed to the bill’s passage believing that, “Frankly, a better use of the Senate’s time would be taking up and passing the dozens of House-passed jobs bills still awaiting action.”

The amount of time that has lapsed is another untenable work-around according to some opponents. The time since the last time reauthorization efforts stalled in 2010 (50 days) is now almost double that number. Newer legislative reforms as well as the claims’ volume and verification process would make it impossible.

However, Secretary of Labor, Thomas Perez, believes that previous collaborations between the Department of Labor and the states holds promise that it can be implemented effectively to ensure that those eligible for the EUI benefit receive it. And the bill does allegedly have some supporters in the House with Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Sander M. Levin (D-Mich.) likely to champion action in Congress on the measure.

KRA Corporation remains hopeful that unemployed jobseekers will receive the type of assistance to aid them, while we continue to assist them in obtaining employment opportunities in these tough economic times.

The provisions looking to update workforce development efforts and provide better tools for jobseekers is something that KRA Corporation feels could only benefit unemployed workers as they continue their search, and as we continue our mission of preparing job seekers for today’s global economy while lawmakers address this situation.