WASHINGTON Dec 11 About 90,000 people in
Illinois will lose federal jobless aid at the end of the month
when an emergency assistance program ends, the state's
employment department said on Tuesday.
Currently, people who are laid off can claim benefits from
the state for 25 weeks. They then move on to receive payments
from a national emergency program started under President George
W. Bush that has been extended multiple times under President
Barack Obama and has carried a price tag of roughly $520 billion
over five years, according to the non-partisan Congressional
The latest extension, though, expires Dec. 29 and across the
country a total of about 2 million people will be cut off from
the extra federal benefits, unless the U.S. Congress passes a
Next year about 2,800 individuals in Illinois will finish
their round of state benefits each week and will not have access
to other government assistance, the Illinois Department of
Employment Security, also said. The department estimates that
every $1 in unemployment insurance generates $1.63 in economic
activity because the dollars are quickly spent at neighborhood
The National Employment Law Project, which closely monitors
unemployment benefits and advocates a federal extension, said on
Tuesday that by the end of 2013 only one in four unemployed
workers would have some form of jobless aid.
The federal emergency benefits have mostly gone to the
long-term unemployed. In November, the 4.8 million people who
had been without a job for 27 weeks or more represented 40
percent of the unemployed, according to the Labor Department.
Obama and his fellow Democrats are pushing to extend the
assistance, possibly as part of a "fiscal cliff" deal.
Obama's administration has told the most-powerful Democrat
on the House Ways and Means Committee, Sandy Levin, that
extending the federal jobless benefits is "a priority," said a
committee staff member. Obama also discussed the possibility in
a meeting with bipartisan governors last week.
Meanwhile, Democratic Senators have called for an extension
to be included in a "fiscal cliff" agreement, and to pass
separate legislation continuing the emergency benefits if
Congress and Obama reach an impasse in their budget talks.
Negotiations to avert the "fiscal cliff" of automatic
spending cuts and tax increases at the beginning of the year may
not reach resolution before Christmas, Senate Majority Leader
Harry Reid said on Tuesday.
The CBO found extending the benefits for a year would cost
the U.S. government $30 billion. Accompanying economic activity
would push the U.S. gross domestic product up by 0.2 percent and
add 300,000 jobs, it said.
Along with Illinois, many other states, including
California, Michigan and Washington, are warning those currently
receiving federal emergency aid they will soon be cut off.
Illinois has been adding jobs since January 2010, but the
demand for employment assistance is still 38 percent higher than
before the recession, IDES spokesman Greg Rivara said. The
department, which is facing budget cuts of its own, is hoping to
tap into the sense of urgency from the end of the federal
program to match more people with jobs, he added.