Unemployment insurance extensions for jobless Americans end Dec. 28, affecting an estimated 1.3 million people, according to The Washington Post blogger Niraj Chokshi. Most states will cut benefits after a maximum of 26 weeks if the Senate fails to approve a federal extension when they reconvene Jan. 6. The unemployed can collect benefits for the longest amount of time in Massachusetts, where the cut-off is 30 weeks; Missouri and South Carolina provide unemployment insurance benefits for just 20 weeks.
Chokshi points out that the long-term unemployed often have or develop mental health problems that make securing jobs even more difficult. The state with the highest percentage of citizens who will be affected is New Jersey, with 90,000 people losing benefits. In California, almost 215,000 will be cut off; the number of New Yorkers losing benefits is estimated to be 125,000.
Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has said that voting on a three-month emergency extension will be a top priority when they reconvene. A Public Policy Polling survey found that 79 to 85 percent of Democrats approve of granting the emergency extension but surprisingly, many Republicans do also, with 48 percent to 60 percent in support of extending benefits.
Check out The Washington Post blog for more information about unemployment in each state.