Congress is expected to pass a $150 billion economic deal today that would extend a payroll tax cut for 10 months and extend unemployment benefits through the end of the year.
But as The Washington Post reports the deal would reduce those unemployment benefits by the end of the year from the current maximum of 99 weeks to 63 weeks in states that have been moderately affected by the recession and 73 weeks in states that have the highest jobless rates.
Bob Fick at the Idaho Department of Labor says at Idaho’s current unemployment rate of 8.4 percent, the state would drop to a maximum of 63 weeks of unemployment benefits. Fick says if the rate drops below 7 percent for a three-month average, the maximum benefit would go to 54 weeks.
Fick says the state doesn’t yet have information about when and how the unemployment benefit tiers will change, so he can’t estimate how many jobless Idahoans will be affected.
The latest data available from the Idaho Department of Labor shows 32,000 Idahoans collected unemployment benefit payments, both state and federal, in December 2011.