Although Congress has extended the deadline for the unemployed to file for extended jobless benefits four times this past year, the House did not pass another extension, according to CNN. The proposed deadline would have been Feb. 28, giving the 4 million unemployed people more time by pushing the current Nov. 30 deadline back three months.
The proposed three-month extension was a compromise for the Democrats, who had full faith that they could logistically acquire another year extension. In order to make the bill pass more easily in the House, they lessened the bill to a three-month, $12.5 million extension.
To pass, the bill needed two-thirds of the House to vote in favor, but unfortunately this bill fell short. Though this is not the end of the debate, it is evident that lawmakers will not make the Nov. 30 deadline, leaving the millions without benefits until the resolution.
Personally, I had just applied for unemployment benefits after the restaurant I was employed by since January of 2008 closed unexpectedly in August of this year. I was granted the benefits bu,t after a mere 10 weeks, they were exhausted. And then I was denied for an extension.
The denial came as a hard hit for me because, due to my school schedule (I am a senior in college), jobs are not understanding or accepting of my availability. Although I am willing to work all of the hours I am not in school or at my unpaid internship, no employers seem to be as welcoming to hiring a college student as my closed company had been.
I had been using my benefits to pay the tuition for my last year in college, as I had used my paychecks from my previous job. Without income, I will be unable to pay my way through college without turning to costly loans.
While I am currently appealing my state’s decision, I have been living without any source of income, and a tuition deadline is quickly approaching. The monetary stress the House’s decision will put on me will take my focus away from my studies; I have held outstanding grades the past three years while both attending school and working full time.
The state and federal benefits are supposed to help those who are out of work and struggling with finding a new source of income, but it does not seem the politicians have the public’s best interest in mind. If an extension is not the answer, then the representatives of the people need to think of an alternative to relieve and assist the jobless. In the meantime, the unemployment extension deadline should be extended.