April 15th, 2010
07:20 PM ET

Obama signs legislation to extend jobless benefits

[Updated at 10:42 p.m.] President Obama on Thursday night signed into law a bill to temporarily extend unemployment benefits after it was passed by the House earlier in the evening.

The measure restores federal unemployment benefits to more than 200,000 jobless Americans who started losing them on April 5 after lawmakers let that deadline pass, CNNMoney reports.

[Updated at 7:15 p.m.] The $18 billion bill now returns to the House for a final vote, which is cheduled for later Thursday. The president is expected to sign it into law soon after.

The measure would restore federal unemployment benefits to more than 200,000 jobless Americans who started losing them on April 5 after lawmakers let that deadline pass. Checks would be retroactive to that date.

Federal unemployment benefits, which last up to 73 weeks, kick in after the state-funded 26 weeks of coverage expire. These federal benefits are divided into tiers, and the jobless must apply each time they move into a new tier.

The bill, which was approved by a 59-38 vote, would also extend several other provisions until May 31, including: The federal COBRA health insurance subsidy; the National Flood Insurance Program and the copyright license used by satellite television providers. It also prevents a 21 percent reduction in Medicare payment rates for doctors from taking place until May 31.

Read the full CNNMoney.com story

[Posted at 6:12 p.m.] The Senate passed a bill Thursday that would temporarily extend unemployment benefits, sending the measure back to the House after rancorous debate over how to pay for it.

soundoff (70 Responses)
  1. KENC911

    to the person who works over 100 hours a week. Are you afraid of losing your job. Why are you taking two of them. Buisness has used scare tactics for those that are still working. Many of those are doing 2 or 3 jobs. Do you give buisness any incentive to restore the jobs back when they are getting away with murder.

    April 15, 2010 at 8:38 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Sam

    How's this for living the high life on unemployment?

    $68,000 a year to $19,000 a year. Woo-Hoo!

    22 Months. 590 applications. 4 calls. 2 interviews. Zero offers.

    25 years professional experience.

    Multiple college degrees.

    Think I'm milking the system?


    April 15, 2010 at 9:05 pm | Report abuse |
  3. jessica

    ok I have been unemployed since aug and have applied for at least 8 jobs a day and i have had a few interviews but no call backs. i am on the end of 1 st tier, and if i am understanding this correctly i will be eligleable (if they pass the bill to extend it through dec then if i don't have a job before then ) or not mine ends june 20th please help me understand, this is my first ever unemployment claim and this can be confusing to me?

    April 15, 2010 at 9:52 pm | Report abuse |
  4. D

    I am one of those individuals that has been displaced and unable to find work. I am grateful that I will be able to use the rest of my unemployment benefits after tonight. I am out hitting the pavement everyday applying for jobs. I am an educated person and I sure as heck are not sitting around doing nothing while collecting unemployment. I have an idea, how about all the money that this country and people funnelled into Haiti be kept here in our home and put to use. I would LOVE to work! I certainly have not been offered a job with less then optimal wages and turn it down. This is how my life has been since I was laid off: I went from making $56,000 a year to $17000 a year. I have been on unemployment for 54 weeks. I have had 4 interviews and no offers. I am a college educated person and applying for jobs like a mad woman. I am offended that those who have a job just assume that those of us who were displaced are doing nothing but sitting around collecting unemployment. My incentive to get a job? To get my life back!

    April 15, 2010 at 11:32 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Erica M

    As I read some of the negative comments about extending the unemployment benefits, my heart breaks. I have been on unemployment for quite sometime and I hate every minute of it. The uncertainty is what drives me nuts. Not knowing if and when they are going to be extended is the worse. Someone mentioned how we aren't motivated to go out and find a job. That is far from the truth. My motivation is getting good health insurance, being able to pay bills on time and not in installments, being able to get everything I need and want from the grocery store, not just the bare minimum. Not having to ask family for loans to make it to the next very meager check. Unless you are on unemployment you will never know the heartache and headache. I apply for more jobs that I can count at times and hear back from maybe one two every couple of months. Someone mentioned how we should move to where the jobs are, what exactly are we supposed to use for relocation expenses? How are we supposed to pay for a place to stay while looking? You can only collect unemployment in the place where you last worked. So what then? Before you put up a comment bashing those who collect unemployment, check your facts. Spouting off at the mouth only makes you look ignorant. As for saying we're living off welfare, unemployment isn't welfare. Those are two completely separate things. The money doesn't come from the same place or is it distributed the same way. Again, get your facts straight before putting something on the internet that will be anle to be read forever...

    April 15, 2010 at 11:57 pm | Report abuse |
  6. axeshredder

    Nice to see the banks arent the only ones being baled out. Ive been unemployed since sept. ...and to make it worse employers are taking advantage and lowering the pay scale...25 years experience and they're offering McDonalds pay. Thank God for Unemployment Insurance / and extensions that ive paid for for many years...hopefully it lasts long enough to get reemployed.

    April 16, 2010 at 12:11 am | Report abuse |
  7. KiKi

    My husband and I were laid off our jobs Fall 2008. We have applied for jobs everyday in our state and out of state. (i.e. Any where in the US including overseas) We obtain few interviews throughout this process. (What a waste of our money for gas or public transportation. ) As of today, we are still looking. Since then, we have lost our house and two vehicles. Our credit is ruined and it places us in a bad position to obtain any job without a positive credit check in the Washington DC area. Note most jobs are with the Federal Government as an employee or contractor and required some type of security clearance. I forgot to mention we have no health insurance since Fall 2008 and we have two small children. My husband and I both have graduate level education. Can you believe we were turn down for $10 hour jobs because the managers did not feel it was the right fit based on our job history or they wanted to hire a high school or college student! We are homeless (in a shelter) and our family has little food to eat everyday. We hate begging for help. We know that money is tight with everyone. It is always easily for a person with a job to complain about the unemployed people becoming lazy and just want a check from our government. Well I can say – My husband and I just want a job to support our family. This means pay for shelter, food, and the basic utility bills to survive. Nothing fancy. I wish someone in Congress would brainstorm possible solutions for making jobs for the unemployed people in America. I don't want to her about the increase of debt that was created during the Bush Administration due to two wars. I wish someone would interview my family on FOX news or MSNBC. These crazy Tea Party supporters don't understand the BIG Picture (Problem) with unemployment in America. You have to take can of us (unemployed people) first to END the Recession in America and turn the economy around to pay off the 8 years of debt that was created before Obama Administration. Nevertheless, I still have hope that things will get better in America.

    April 16, 2010 at 1:02 am | Report abuse |
  8. Karen Joy

    There is something seriously wrong with a country that denies help to unemployed educated citizens while paying welfare benefits to those who have entered the country illegally and collect money using fraudulent drivers licenses and social security cards. How does this travesty continue in these tough economic times?

    *Nationwide, Americans pay $22 billion annually to provide illegal immigrants with welfare & food stamps.

    *Tens of billions more are spent on medical care, public education & legal costs such as incarceration & public defenders.

    *Los Angeles taxpayers will dish out more than $500B on welfare & food stamps for illegal immigrants.

    April 16, 2010 at 2:27 am | Report abuse |
    • Paula Ann

      Your right something is seriously wrong with this country! Now Washington...not mentioning any names..is fighting with Arizona because of their decission to stop the illegals from entering the US. Boy what a wonderful Government we have. We need a big change in Government!

      May 22, 2010 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Lloyd Haywood

    I have been unemployeed since March 09 , 27 years experiance in manufacturing work. I have looked and sent out resumes filled out applications and still no luck. If not for unemployment benefits we would have had a real rough time trying to make ends meet.Since my BYE, I have been taking distributions from my 401k, not very smart ! but you do what you have to, If you still are working and can save for retirement , count your blessings. If you are not working, do not give up , do what you can to survive. Have Hope for Tomorrow ,after all we are AMERICA !! GOD Bless, you and yours .

    April 16, 2010 at 9:09 am | Report abuse |
  10. Nadine

    I think the extension should be on a case by case basis. I am one of the Americans on unemployment and my extension ran out. I served my country for 6 years and 27 of those months was in Iraq and Afghanistan. When I got out of the Army as a system admin it was hard for me to compete in the job market without any certs so the state of Texas provided me with a training which took me 11 months to complete going to school full time and receiving unemployment. Bottom line is I been done for 3 months and actively looking for a job. The market is still tough and with only 3 months of looking before my unemployment ran out wasn't enough time. Not eveyone is just sitting on their asses collecting unemployment and the extension should be on a case by case basis.

    April 16, 2010 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
  11. Nadine

    Oh and by the way, I am college educated and I have 4 major industry certifications and I still can't find a job, not even with veteran's assistance programs so yeah, people need to check themselves before saying we're lazy and just collecting a government check and welfare. I don't even qualify for welfare because my government check is too much money, can you believe that.  I went from $4500 a month to $1600 and it's a tough pill to swallow knowing what you use to have compared to now. I would love to have a job and I apply to about 6 to 10 a day.

    April 16, 2010 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
  12. kaykay

    My UI claim exhausted on 04/06/2010; received 21 weeks of unemployment. I hope and pray that I can get this extention. I didn't get a chance to start a "TIER" like some people. The week I was suppose to apply for an extention, I was told that I didn't qualify due to "EIU" claims expired on 04/10/2010. I guess I didn't get layed off soon enough....Now my son and I are stuck w/ no income at all....I was enrolled as a part time student when I was fully employed; and once I got layed off back in Oct. 2009, I enrolled as a full time student and received my Accounting Degree March 2010. I need a job and I'm hoping I can atleast qualify for the 1st Tier to have time to look; otherwise we will be homeless! But maybe then I can get some assistance with food. While receiving unemployment, I was told I didn't qualify for food assistance (Single, 1 child, No child support); guess I don't have enough kids!!! WOW.

    April 16, 2010 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Eve

    It is unfortunate that people who hold their jobs (some – two or three) treat the unemployed as they are criminals. We have not chosen to be among unemployed, getting a "free ride" from the government. I went to many job fairs – they were a pure joke, since they offered no jobs whatsoever. It is very hard to be unable to find even low paying positions, especially when there are hundreds applying for one place in the workforce. In addition, not all of us are either prepared or rich enough to move to another state or country (yes – I have been given this advice from the employers). I have been working hard my entire adult life and my dream is to be able to find a new job. Those who work please help me to find one – obviously you have good connections. Any job would be acceptable – my high education and excelllent skills are not enough to open the doors. Connections are what it takes!!!!!!
    PS We do not take free money from the government – we have paid to the unemployment fund while working – our unemployment checks are simply returns on our investment. Please remain cognizant of this small and simple fact !!!!!!

    April 17, 2010 at 7:45 am | Report abuse |
  14. Sarah

    What about those of us who are relatevely newly laid off. I exhaust my benefits the 2nd week in June, which makes me ineligable to go onto Tier 2. I have to wait with anxiety to see if a new bill is voted into legislation. I have diligently looked for work, have good software skills and a solid working background. I have sent out several resumes, gone on several interviews, upgraded my software skills, networked, and have done just about anything and everything that is necessary to find a job. I feel that if you were laid off in November/ or December of 09 it is unfair that you are unable to know that yuo have the option to move to Tier 2 should this become necessary. I have anxiety, and this situation isn't helping. I would rather be working, making more money than Unemployment provides (although I am very greatful for Unemployment). We are currently selling our beautiful home and looking for a more economical way to live. Please help those of us that were laid off during November and December of 09, as we are currrently being left out and it is very scary to deal with the thught of what will happen to us if I am unable to find a job by mid-June, 6 weeks away.

    April 24, 2010 at 8:23 am | Report abuse |
  15. Thelma

    What about those of us that has ran out of all benefits and no job. I've been on several job interviews with no luck, when you go on Interviews with 1.000 others whats to be expected. I'm sure the goverment could add a Tier 5 until Aug.2010 when school starts back because in the Summer Teens will take what little jobs we have left for little pay. Yes our goverment needs to help home not other countries.

    April 24, 2010 at 11:17 am | Report abuse |
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