Bringing the Economy Home

“Fiscal Cliff” Deal Means Extended Jobless Benefits For Long-Term Unemployed Idahoans

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More than 95,000 Idahoans have received federal extended unemployment benefits since the program began.

The more than 6,000 Idahoans who lost jobless benefits last week, will see those federal payments continue, thanks to Congressional action.

As part of the Congressional “fiscal cliff” deal, unemployment insurance benefits for the long-term unemployed will be extended through the end of the year at a cost of $30 billion.

The Idaho Department of Labor says the more than 6,000 Idahoans who have been receiving federal jobless benefits, won’t miss a check, and because of the “fiscal cliff” deal, payments won’t be interrupted.

Jobless Idahoans are eligible to receive up to 26 weeks of state-funded unemployment insurance benefits. Since the recession, the federal government has authorized several extensions of benefits. At its height, long term unemployed could receive up to 99 weeks of state and federally-funded benefits. Currently, an unemployed Idahoan can receive up to 63 weeks of state and federal benefits.

However, if Idaho’s monthly unemployment rate stays below 7 percent this month, the maximum number of weeks a person could get federal extended benefits will likely drop to 28 weeks.
Federal extended benefits are tied to states’ unemployment rates.

That means the maximum state-federal benefit would be 54 weeks.

The 6,300 people who received federal extended benefits last month averaged a weekly payment of $248.

The Idaho Department of Labor says 95,000 Idahoans have received $900 million in federal extended benefits since the program began. The Department reports Moody’s estimates “every dollar paid in extended unemployment benefits generates $1.61 in economic activity because benefit checks are immediately spent locally on rent, utilities, food, clothes for the family and other necessities.”

Since 2008, $1.3 billion in state benefits have been paid to jobless Idahoans.


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