Vets lose benefits as we celebrate Fourth of July

Added June 24th, 2014 by Judy Putnam | Email This Entry Email This Entry
Judy Putnam

Just as we head into one of our most patriotic celebrations of the year next week (the Fourth of July), a new estimate out shows that 285,000 unemployed veterans will lose jobless benefits by the end of June, including thousands of out-of-work vets in Michigan.

Extended benefits known as Emergency Unemployment Compensation expired Dec. 28. Congress’ failure to extend the benefits means that 1.3 million workers were cut off from unemployment benefits nationwide at the end of last year, with an additional 1.6 million exhausting their regular state benefits in the first six months of this year. Included in those numbers are nearly 300,000 jobless vets, Chad Stone, chief economist at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, estimates.

U.S. flags

Photo by David L. Smith

In Michigan, workers now exhaust benefits at just 20 weeks, rather than the traditional 26 weeks available in most other states, even as Michigan’s unemployment rate remains high. In May, the unemployment rate of 7.5% was sixth-highest in the country. The shorter period of benefits, passed by the Michigan Legislature in 2011, hurt Michigan families and, according to a recent report, affected up to 33,000 workers with a loss of up to $9 million in federal and state benefits each week.

So a newly unemployed worker in Michigan now gets shorter state benefits (20 weeks) and no extended federal benefits. There are 113,500 Michigan workers losing benefits from Dec. 28, when extended benefits expired, and the end of June.

Using the estimate of 9.7% of unemployed workers who are veterans, this means that an estimated 11,000 jobless vets in Michigan are among those losing benefits. As we celebrate the birth of the nation, isn’t it ironic that those who have given so much to their country, our veterans, are being cut off benefits they and their families need and deserve?

Please use our “take action” alert to tell members of the U.S. House of Representatives to pass a much-needed Emergency Unemployment Compensation extension. Follow the issue on Twitter with #RenewUI.

— Judy Putnam

One Response to “Vets lose benefits as we celebrate Fourth of July”

Leave a Reply