The American Jobs Act and the 99ers
One specific mention is made of the 99ers. Other highlighted provisions in the bill can also provide assistance to the 99ers community.
Title III is organized into four subtitles:
- Subtitle A supports unemployed workers;
- Subtitle B addresses long-term unemployed hiring practices;
- Subtitle C establishes the Pathways Back to Work Fund;
- Subtitle D prohibits discrimination on the basis of being unemployed.
Subtitle A, Part I, the "Supporting Unemployed Workers Act of 2011," does the following:
- it extends the Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) and Extended Benefits (EB) programs for one additional year;
- it requires the States to provide reemployment services and eligibility assessment activities to benefit recipients, and it requires those recipients to participate;
- it gives States the authority to conduct self-employment assistance programs that may pay up to 26 weeks of allowances to eligible individuals.
- it allots $4 billion to the States based on two criteria: the number of total unemployed in the State, and the number of long-term unemployed in the State;
- States may use these funds to establish and administer Bridge to Work programs, which allow employers to hire EUC claimants, whose salaries would be paid from the program;
- States may provide a wage insurance program for EUC claimants who are at least 50 years old, making not more than $50,000 per year in wages from reemployment;
- States may provide a program of enhanced reemployment services to EUC claimants;
- States may use these funds to start up self-employment assistance programs;
- States may use these funds for other programs for innovative activities. The 99ers are specifically mentioned here:
"A State may use funds allotted under this part to provide a program for innovative activities, which use a strategy that is different from the reemployment strategies described in sections 324-327 and which are designed to facilitate the reemployment of EUC claimants. In addition to the provision of activities to such claimants, the program may include the provision of activities to individuals who are unemployed and have exhausted their rights to emergency unemployment compensation under title IV of the Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2008"Subtitle A, Part III considers the treatment, temporary financing, grants and assistance in implementing short-time compensation programs.
Subtitle B of the American Jobs Act establishes tax credits and simplified certification for businesses who hire the long-term unemployed.
Subtitle C, the "Pathways Back to Work Act of 2011," establishes a $5 billion fund to provide:
- subsidized employment to unemployed, low-income adults;
- summer and year-round employment opportunities to low-income youth;
- grants to carry out activities to provide skills and assistance needed to obtain employment.
For 99ers and all the long-term unemployed, S. 1549 is a bill that achieves important goals. It's worth our efforts to add this bill to our legislative agenda, as a companion bill to H.R. 589. The two bills, passed together, would have a major beneficial impact on the 99er community.