EUC benefits expiring in two weeks

Extended Unemployment Compensation (EUC) benefits are slated to expire at the end of 2013. An extension is not part of the budget deal recently announced by Congress, despite much press coverage about the need for continuing EUC benefits (see below):

Folks,

We wanted to share this excellent  Washington Post piece on the massive state press coverage placing pressure on Congress to reauthorize federal jobless benefits.

Of special note to state advocates, check out the excellent graphic that the Dems on the Ways and Means Committee produced documenting the front page press coverage around the states and the interactive state map they developed with lots of helpful state facts and figures.

Best,
Maurice

Maurice Emsellem, Director
Access and Opportunity Program
National Employment Law Project

Wisconsin’s DWD recently updated its EUC information page with this information:

**Update 12/13/2013**

Under federal law, EUC benefits are set to expire on December 28, 2013. After that date, EUC benefits will no longer be available.

Claimants who remain unemployed are not prohibited from continuing to file weekly UI claims and will be notified if Congress passes a new extension of benefits.

Claimants receiving Regular Unemployment Insurance (UI) may continue receiving regular state unemployment benefits until their eligibility for those benefits ends. Claimants exhausting their regular UI benefits after December 21, 2013 will not be eligible for federal benefit extensions, under current federal law.

In early January, many in Congress hope to take up the issue of continuing EUC benefits. Accordingly, if you are currently receiving EUC benefits and want to continue receiving those benefits in 2014, keep filing weekly claims even after EUC benefits have expired. If Congress does renew the program, then that weekly filing will mean all EUC benefits due you will be restored. And, even if your regular unemployment benefits run out in January, keep filing weekly claims so that you can receive EUC benefits if Congress does renew the program.

By the end of January 2014, we should know whether Congress will take action on EUC benefits or not.

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Madison makes discrimination against the unemployed illegal

News today from the Wisconsin State Journal is that the City Council has approved making the unemployed a protected class during the hiring processes. Details and the actual text are here.

That means that an employer who refuses to consider an applicant to a job because of that applicant’s unemployment status will now be actionable. A job applicant can bring a claim with the Madison Equal Opportunity Commission for discrimination and possible back pay from the potential date of hire.

Proving that this kind of discrimination has occurred is not easy. But, at least when it does occur, the unemployed in Madison have some recourse against unfair treatment.

Claimants’ Handbook — online only now

DWD’s Handbook for Claimants is now an online only publication. When new unemployment claims are filed, DWD is no longer sending printed copies of the handbook to claimants. Instead, the following notice is sent, directing claimants to look up the handbook online and declaring that claimants are responsible for knowing ALL the information contained in the handbook that they need to look up. While the notice is dated May 2013, this change was made sometime in October or November of this year.

For comparison, the Handbook for Employers — a lengthy publication — has been an online publication only for several years now.

Looming end to EUC benefits will have big impact in Wisconsin

Extended Unemployment Compensation (EUC) benefits are scheduled to expire at the end of this month. The abrupt end of this program will leave a large hole in household budgets.

Nationally, around 1.3 million workers currently receiving federal EUC benefits who will be abruptly cut off in the week between Christmas and New Year’s, and an additional 850,000 workers will run out of state unemployment insurance in the first three months of 2014. The National Employment Law Project has a report with the relevant details.

In Wisconsin, 23,700 individuals are slated to lose their EUC benefits at the end of December according to this House report. That’s about one out of every 242 residents having their income slashed just before the New Year.

In comparison, only 8,500 residents in Minnesota are slated to lose their EUC benefits, nearly three times less than in Wisconsin. Both Illinois and Michigan will experience a similar impact to what will happen in Wisconsin in regards to the lose of EUC benefits. Relative to their populations, the ratio of individuals affected by the end of EUC benefits is one out of every 200 in Illinois and one out of every 226 in Michigan. Indiana presents better numbers, as one out of every 340 of its residents will lose EUC benefits at the end of December if the program is not renewd by Congress.

In other words, a great many residents in Wisconsin (and Illinois and Michigan) still need EUC benefits.