There's a huge debate going on with the government about extending unemployment benefits. If you have not been following up on what's happening, here is a quick snapshot:
- Right now, there's too much squabbling in Congress on whether to reauthorize the unemployment checks and how they should fund it. It's pretty much a waiting game to see how lawmakers will react.
- If the benefits expire, almost two million people will see their unemployment checks run out by Christmas as they have been collecting the benefits for 99 weeks (or about two years) which is the maximum time allotted for these checks.
- The time limit used to run up to 26 weeks, but have been extended about eight times since the recession.
- Some experts are saying that cutting off benefits will be bad for our economy, because it will reduce consumer spending, which will lead to less jobs.
- Others say that extending it will provide less incentive for people to find jobs.
- An average employment check per week costs $290, says the National Employment Law Project.
- The national unemployment rate was 9.6 percent in October, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
- 8.5 million Americans currently get benefits.
- To extend the benefits for another year would cost the government $60 billion.
Many of you have been there before. We've asked you in the past what's the longest you've been unemployed, and received an overwhelming number of responses. We've talked a lot about this issue and have given tips on how to file for unemployment and what you should do if you've been laid off. I want to hear from you now — do you think Congress should extend the benefits?