After this week, workers laid off through no fault of their own will not be eligible for any of the generous extended unemployment benefits layoff victims have received from the federal government since 2008.
"There's a real potential cliff coming for unemployed people," emailed Judy Conti, a lobbyist for the National Employment Law Project, a worker advocacy group. "The federal unemployment programs all expire at the end of this year. This means that anyone who is laid off on July 1st or later, will ONLY receive state benefits unless Congress acts to keep these needed programs up and running."
In exchange for keeping the Bush tax cuts in place for two years, Democrats got Republicans to agree to just over one year of continued funding for the EUC and EB programs, which will expire at the end of this year, unless Congress reauthorizes them.
It's not bad enough that 4 million Americans will join the ranks of the 99ers in 2011. As 2012 begins, an additional 4 million people will have lost their financial lifeline, too.