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National (Apr 17) – With the votes in and the temporary unemployment extension passed, many millions currently receiving unemployment benefits can heave a large sigh of relief. Checks will continue for many, however, the “99ers”, those who have long since exhausted all avenues of unemployment benefits, still carry the burden of wondering, “What next for us?”
Hundreds of thousands of Americans receive no help, have no job prospects even with their tireless search to find gainful employment. Job postings remain at an all-time low, and many 99ers are over 50 and at a disadvantage should hiring begin to pick up. Age discrimination and suffering the indignity of having failing credit scores used against them, 99ers have no where to turn except the telephone, faxing, and offline and online petitions in the hopes that Capitol Hill hears their need.
The petition in circulation getting the most attention remains the Tier V unemployment benefits petition.
First mentioned on March 31, Issa Decker informed WNV, “The petition is soaring. The petition just crossed the 12,000 mark!” Decker also stated, “The chatter about a Tier V began just when we passed the 10,000 mark.”
In their continuing effort to bring their plight to the attention of those in Washington, legislators able to improve their conditions if they only would, 99ers are spreading the word that April 30th and May 3rd are “Send Congress Your Resume” days. Information on this grassroots movement to make those in power aware can be found at Jobless Unite.
In her remarks on the Senate floor, April 15, Senator Jeanne Shaheen [D-NH] stated, “As important as this short-term extension is, the Senate must do more to address the long-term challenge of joblessness. Of the 15 million Americans who are out of work today, nearly 6 million – so more than 1 in 3 – have run through the 6 months of benefits provided by their States. In fact, the average period of unemployment currently stands at a record high of nearly 8 months.”
These remarks, in connection with the just passed extension, while compassionate, do not carry the full weight of many who have been unemployed and unable to find work since 2008. Shaheen continued, “We need to pass a longer term extension to provide some stability for the millions of people who are going to need unemployment benefits in the months to come. I applaud Senator Baucus who has been working to try to bridge this gap.”
The “in the months to come” have long since come and gone for those in the rocky 99er boat. “We must redouble our efforts,” Decker concluded.