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6,300+ jobless Idahoans get reprieve, under fiscal cliff legislation

More than 6,300 unemployed Idahoans won’t lose their federal extended unemployment benefits this week after all, the Idaho Department of Labor says, under the newly passed legislation to avert the so-called fiscal cliff. Instead, those on extended benefits will continue to receive them, though possibly not for long. Due to drops in Idaho’s unemployment rate, the length of federal extended benefits has been cut back three times in 2012; it’s now at a maximum of 37 weeks beyond the standard state benefit of 10 to 26 weeks; that could drop to a maximum of 28 weeks the second week of February, if unemployment holds steady or continues to fall. At their peak, federal extended benefits lasted for up to 73 weeks. Click below for the full announcement from the Idaho Department of Labor.

Federal extended unemployment benefits end for 6,300-plus Idahoans

More than 6,000 unemployed Idahoans have now seen their federal extended unemployment benefits terminated, the Idaho Department of Labor reports today. The program to provide jobless workers with extended benefits during the recession expired last week; Idaho workers who were getting the payments got their last one this week. Click below for the full news release from the Idaho Department of Labor.

Since the program began in mid-2008, 95,000 Idaho workers shared $900 million in federally financed extended benefits; now, only the regular state unemployment benefit of 10 to 26 weeks is available for the 15,000 Idaho workers who still haven't found new jobs. Last week, just over 6,300 received the extended federal benefits, with an average payment of $248.

Madsen Wants To Cut Jobless Bennies

Roger Madsen, director of the Idaho Department of Labor (IDOL), on Tuesday echoed statements made in late October by two GOP legislators to reduce the number of unemployment weeks. Madsen, in a letter made public by the department, advises lawmakers to reject federal funds for extended unemployment benefits. His view echoes comments made to IdahoReporter.com by Reps. Steve Thayn and Lynn Luker, who said reducing the amount of unemployment benefits is a must for the Gem State. Idaho is one of a handful of states allowing up to 99 weeks of unemployment benefits/Mitch Coffman, Idaho Reporter. More here.

Question: Should Idaho reduce its number of weeks for unemployment benefits?

Idaho Labor chief Madsen: Don’t extend unemployment benefits

Here's a news item from the Associated Press:  BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The head of the Idaho Department of Labor is urging lawmakers to resist the urge to extend unemployment benefits again. Labor Department Director Roger Madsen made his appeal in a letter sent to Congress and state lawmakers Monday and in advance of Thursday's congressional hearing on unemployment insurance. Madsen says he's concerned about unemployed Idahoans. But he says state business owners need to regain confidence in the program — and the best way to do that is to better manage the federal budget. He says the goal of the department is getting people working so they can receive a paycheck instead of monthly benefits. Since the recession's start, an estimated 150,000 Idaho workers have received more than $750 million in federal extended benefits beyond the basic 10 to 26 weeks. You can read Madsen's full letter here.

State looks for beneficiaries not looking for work

The Washington Employment Security Department wants $1,400 back from a bride who said she applied for work on her way to the altar.

The unidentified woman was collecting unemployment benefits while in Texas for her wedding, according to a department news release. She claimed she applied for a job at an El Paso theater.

The department had seen this movie before, about 9,000 times: The number of individuals who did not seek work in 2010 while collecting $23 million in benefits.

Spokesman Jamie Swift said ESD last year reviewed the job-search logs of 66,000 claimants who received unemployment benefits for more than five weeks.

If checks with employers do not confirm an individual has sought work three times per week — a requirement for benefits — the department seeks refunds, he said.

ESD paid out $4.6 billion in unemployment benefits in 2010, Swift said. 

Shutdown will not affect jobless benefits

A shutdown of the federal government will not interrupt the payment of unemployment benefits in Washington, Employment Security Commissioner Paul Trause said Friday.

He said the U.S. Department of Labor has assured Washington officials that transfers from a  state trust fund held by the the department will not be interrupted.

Most of the money for unemployment benefits comes from the federal government.

The Employment Security Department also said federal workers should apply for unemployment benefits if there is a shutdown, but they will not receive a check unless they out of work for more than one week.

Minnick, Simpson Oppose Extension

Votes from Idaho Reps. Walt Minnick and Mike Simpson (pictured) helped defeat an extension of unemployment benefits in the U.S. House of Representatives Thursday. The plan would have extended benefits through February and cost $12 billion. Extended federal unemployment benefits, which can last up to 99 weeks for some Americans without jobs, are set to expire at the end of this month. Such benefits expired at the end of May, which affected 10,000 unemployed Idahoans receiving weekly benefits.  However, the benefits were extended from May to their current expiration date, which is Nov. 30. … Minnick was one of 11 Democrats who joined Simpson and 141 other Republicans in opposing the extension/Brad Iverson-Long, Idaho Reporter. More here.

  • Also: Latest jobless figures shows Kootenai County jobless rate now 10.8%

Question: Did the Idaho representatives vote on this issue the way you wanted them to?

Extension Could Help 10,000 Idahoans

Item: Unemployment extension could benefit 10,000 jobless Idahoans/Brad Iverson-Long, Idaho Reporter

More Info: Congress is on the verge of extending federal unemployment payments to out-of-work Americans, which could benefit up to 10,000 Idahoans whose benefits have expired in the past six weeks.  The extended federal benefits ran out at the end of May, and the Idaho Department of Labor’s Bob Fick said those people could see payments from those past six weeks within the next month, if they still haven’t found work.

Question: Do you know anyone who is on the verge of running out of unemployment benefits?