Stimulus Unemployment Benefits Update: TX, FL, AL, LA, Miss, SC, VA…

Updates on stimulus unemployment benefits…to get an idea how widely the amounts vary from state to state this line in an AP piece jumped out at me:  The highest weekly unemployment compensation is $584 in New Jersey, $362 in Michigan and $240 in Arizona…(It’s a crap shoot, and God willing your cost of living will match up with your benefit amount)

The $25.00 a week unemployment boost is available to EVERYONE, Congress mandated it, but it is temporary and when funding runs out, it is gone. The only variant on that benefit is how quickly states get the funds out..

TX: (

Congress made sure some money is directly available for citizens without waiting for governmental decisions. Among other things:

• • Most Texans’ paychecks will be a little fatter starting this month as the Making Work Pay tax credit kicks in and employers reduce their payroll tax withholdings by about $13 a week.

• • Texas’ jobless are now receiving an extra $25 a week in their benefits as mandated by Congress, according to the Texas Workforce Commission.

• • Food stamp recipients soon will get about $38 a month more to spend on necessities, according to the Texas Health and Human Services Commission.

Update on the expansion of unemployment benefits which would require changes to state law:

FL: (Sun-Sentinel):

For Florida’s jobless residents, unemployment compensation is a lifesaver. But if the state doesn’t act soon, unemployed residents who exhaust their jobless benefits may be out of luck.  Florida is eligible to receive $777 million in federal money that would provide 20 more weeks of jobless benefits, in addition to the 59-week maximum now allowed. Those who have exhausted their benefits but have not yet found a job would qualify, as well as those just recently laid off…

…”We’re waiting to see what the federal government is going to do,” said Sen. Rudy Garcia, R-Hialeah, whose commerce committee has proposed a general bill addressing unemployment compensation.

There are a handful of other bills, but none extends benefits for Florida’s unemployed who have exhausted benefits and still don’t have a new job….

…Unemployed workers who receive 26 weeks of regular benefits are entitled to 33 weeks of emergency benefits under Obama’s stimulus package, a cash infusion geared to jump-start the U.S. economy….The maximum weekly jobless check is $275 plus $25 extra as part of the stimulus….

FL-Orlando Sentinel advises the legislature NOT take the money, follow linky for the number on what it will cost the state to expand benefits:

….House GOP leaders are happy for Florida to accept nearly $2.2 billion from Washington to cover the temporary cost of boosting weekly jobless benefits by $25 and adding as many as 20 weeks to the normal 26 weeks workers can collect them.

But they’re justifiably balking at taking another $443 million — about two months worth of payments from Florida’s unemployment-compensation trust fund — in return for permanently changing the way the state calculates benefits and permanently expanding eligibility….

NY: A commenter asks about NYS, NY has a very high benefit level, go to their site HERE for more info…

ME: (Mainebiz):

The governor is pushing a bill that would change the way Maine triggers its extended unemployment benefits, a measure that could bring as much as $38 million in federal funds to pay for up to 13 weeks of additional benefits for jobless Mainers.

The bill requires the creation of a fund of about $500,000 to pay for unemployment benefits of public and tribal employees, people who are prohibited from receiving benefit extensions via the federal economic recovery act. Creating that fund triggers federal stimulus money that would be directed to private sector employees who lost their jobs, according to Capital News Service.

VA: (

–Tomorrow,(4/8) the General Assembly will vote whether to let Virginia accept an additional $125 million for unemployment insurance benefits from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Gov. Kaine proposed two amendments that improve our unemployment insurance system and allow the commonwealth to receive its share of the federal stimulus dollars. He’s asked the General Assembly to 1) expand unemployment eligibility to those seeking part-time work and 2) extend unemployment benefits an additional 26 weeks for workers in job-training programs.

Alabama – Gov. Bob Riley has turned down $99 million in stimulus money to expand unemployment benefits, saying it would lead to a $17 million tax increase when the federal dollars stop coming. State lawmakers have moved to pass a resolution that could help them accept the funds, The Birmingham News .

Louisiana – Jindal has said he will reject $98 million in federal funds to expand unemployment benefits besides  $9.5 million for health insurance coverage for people leaving welfare and $58 million for the hospital system. “We will continue to examine fund-specific requirements to ensure that we are not growing government in an unsustainable way,” he wrote in his certification letter to the White House.

Mississippi – Gov. Haley Barbour (R) has said he will refuse $56 million in stimulus money for expanding unemployment benefits because it would cost business owners an additional $16 million each year once the federal government’s money is spent. The state House has passed a resolution to get the money, but the Senate has not.
South Carolina – The White House in a March 31 letter said that only the governor — not the Legislature — can apply for the $700 million from the state “fiscal stabilization fund” that is specifically to help South Carolina avoid cuts in education and public services. Even if Sanford doesn’t apply, Education Secretary Arne Duncan said he would work with Congress to find another way to get the money into South Carolina schools, The Greenville News reported.

– Gov. Rick Perry (R) rejected $555 million in federal stimulus money that would expand state jobless benefits to part-time workers. While Perry will accept other funds from the stimulus, he is opposed to using these funds to expand existing government programs, “burdening the state with ongoing expenditures long after the funding has dried up,” he wrote in his letter to the White House. Perry’s decision has come under fire from U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson who is expected to challenge Perry for the GOP nomination for governor in 2010.
Next stimulus funding debate will be over the education funds:

But the battles over taking stimulus money may not be over. The next battleground may focus on the U.S. Department of Education’s new rules for states to qualify for the second round of money from the “state fiscal stabilization fund.” That’s the same pot of money that holds $700 million for South Carolina.
To get the education funds later this year, governors will have to provide the administration with proof that they are working to boost academic standards and improve teacher performance, according to an April 1 letter Duncan sent to the 50 governors. The question will be whether any governor thinks the requirements are too onerous, or potentially too embarrassing, if the data the state collects show their students are woefully behind.

April 7, 2009. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , . Economy, Politics, Taxes, Uncategorized, Unemployment Statistics.

One Comment

  1. yvonne replied:

    please pass the unemployment compensation for exhausted receiptants i need my rent money


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