Broward News

Florida Residents to Lose Unemployment Benefits Saturday

Thanks to Congress' not adding an extension to emergency unemployment benefits into the budget deal that's going to pass the Senate this week, roughly 73,000 Floridians will lose those benefits come Saturday.

This is in addition to the 1.3 million in other states who will get ganked when the federal emergency unemployment benefits expire December 28. If things aren't reversed, 3.6 million more will lose theirs in 2014.

The average Floridian's benefit is about $230 per week, according to the Miami Herald.

Basically, the emergency benefits kick in after someone who has lost his or her job hasn't been able to find employment for 26 weeks, extending the benefits for 47 more weeks.

The program was implemented during the Bush administration in 2008 to help make ends meet for the unemployed during the great recession.

But ironically (or, maybe not), Republicans think that extending the program keeps the unemployed from being employed.

Under the clarion call of the only way to help people is to make them starve, GOPers like Rand Paul say that unemployment benefits hinder more than help.

"I do support unemployment benefits for the 26 weeks that they're paid for. If you extend it beyond that, you do a disservice to these workers," Paul recently told Fox News. "When you allow people to be on unemployment insurance for 99 weeks, you're causing them to become part of this perpetual unemployed group in our economy."

According to the Herald, unemployed Floridians were without work for an average of 48.7 weeks in the 12 months ending in October.

According to the National Employment Law Project, these benefits helped keep millions of Americans out of poverty -- even though the payout isn't all that great to begin with.

Congress isn't scheduled to get back to work until January. But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is expected to push for an extension of the benefits when it does.

Reid is basically going to use the 2014 election year as a tool to push Republicans to come around on the extension.

Reid before cameras on Thursday: "The people that are unemployed for a long period of time are Democrats and they are Republicans. This is an issue that Republicans, I think, need more than we need it. This is something I think will be extremely difficult for them to turn away from."

And, according to the polls, Americans are ready to come at the GOPers over the unemployment benefits expiration.

Americans United for Change has already put out an ad, calling for a restoration of the benefits:

Until all that gets worked out, those who will be affected by the expiration on Saturday are going to have to dip into their savings until they do find work.

Send your story tips to the author, Chris Joseph. Follow Chris Joseph on Twitter

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Chris Joseph
Contact: Chris Joseph