Why you are receiving this ALERT
By May 31, just a few weeks from now, the current Temporary Extended Unemployment Compensation program will no longer provide benefits to jobless workers who have exhausted regular unemployment benefits.
Please contact your Senators and Representatives NOW and urge them to support extending the federal unemployment benefits for workers before they recess in May. Congress is scheduled to leave on May 23 for a Memorial Day Recess.
You may recall the Temporary Extended Unemployment Compensation (TEUC) program provides up to 13 extra weeks (26 weeks in some high unemployment states) of federally-funded benefits for workers who exhaust their regular, state-funded unemployment benefits. Last December, TEUC expired and Congress had to retroactively extend the program when they returned in February.
Once again, these federally-funded unemployment benefits will begin to phase out at the end of May unless Congress acts to extend this program. Unemployed workers who exhaust all their state benefits after June 1 will not be eligible for additional federal aid.
Bi-Partisan legislation has been introduced in the Senate (S 923) and a similar bill (HR1652) in the House to aid an estimated 3.9 million workers, including:
- An estimated 2.1 million workers who will exhaust their regular unemployment benefits between June and November. If the TEUC program expires at the end of May, it will terminate at a time when approximately 2.1 million unemployed workers are exhausting their regular, state-funded unemployment benefits before they find a job.
- An estimated 1.1 million workers whose TEUC benefits have run out and who remain unemployed. From the start of the TEUC program last March through the end of this May, an estimated 3.1 million workers will have exhausted their TEUC benefits before finding work. Based upon recent employment patterns and assumptions made by the Congressional Budget Office about the rate at which unemployed workers find new jobs, our estimate is that about 1.1 million of these exhaustees will still be unemployed as of the end of May (some put this number as high as 1.4 million). These jobless workers would be aided if the TEUC program were strengthened by adding more benefits for workers who have exhausted their TEUC benefits but been unable to find work.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Position
In an October 2002 letter to the U.S. Senate, Cardinal McCarrick, Chairman of the Domestic Policy Committee, said:
"As pastors, we know the human cost of joblessness and the social consequences of inadequate benefits. Pope John Paul II points out that society and the state must protect the worker "either through economic policies aimed at ensuring balanced growth and full employment or through unemployment insurance..." Obviously new jobs are the best answer for those without work, but, in the meantime, we truly owe these workers some measure of compassion and justice gained in part by simply extending the federal benefits in the unemployment insurance system. "We believe that coming to the aid of unemployed workers and their families is not only good for the economy; it is the right thing to do. Please act now to avoid the tragic consequences of millions of workers with literally no means of support."
For more Information Contact: Thomas Shellabarger 202 541 3189; firstname.lastname@example.org