On Sunday, almost 1.3 million Americans will lose their unemployment benefits when the Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) program expires.
Normally, jobless benefits last up to 26 weeks, but Congress passed the EUC program after the great recession to allow states to extend them for up to 73 weeks, although the exact length varied by state. Now that law is expiring.
The long-term unemployed – those out of work for more than 26 weeks – have a particularly difficult time finding a job. Studies have shown that employers often do not even consider long-term unemployed applicants for a position. These benefits help keep the long-term unemployed out of poverty while they search for work.
Republicans have shown little interest in extending the EUC program for an additional year, which would cost $US25.1 billion, despite the fact that the recovery is still slow and there are still 4.1 million people who are long-term unemployed. Democrats are expected to push for an extension after New Years.
From the Pew Charitable Trusts, here’s how the expiration of the EUC program affects each state: