State Labor Officials Plead their Case for Benefits Extension
Missouri Labor Department Director, Larry Rebman, was among labor commissioners from 18 states who urged the U.S. Senate to act immediately to extend unemployment benefits for the 300,000 people nationwide who soon will exhaust their eligibility.
The group urged the Senate to follow the House’s lead and agree to give the jobless in states with unemployment rates exceeding 8.5 percent an additional 13 weeks of benefits. If the extension is allowed, it is estimated that through the end of the year, more than 1 million people would be protected. Missouri’s unemployment rate is currently 9.5 percent.
“In Missouri, we are beginning to see individuals exhaust their benefit eligibility,” said Larry Rebman, Labor Department Director. “Without the additional help, some families and their children are going to be terribly impacted.”
The labor officials were in Niagara Falls, N.Y., for the annual meeting of the National Association of State Workforce Agencies (NASWA), whose leadership passed a resolution seeking even broader extensions of benefits as a way to keep the unemployed off welfare.
The resolution asks Congress to eventually expand the 13-week benefits extension to all states and provide a 20-week extension for high-unemployment states. It also would preserve through 2010, the $25 that was added to individuals’ weekly unemployment payments by the stimulus act passed last February.
The national unemployment rate is currently 9.7 percent; economists predict it will top 10 percent next year.
To view a listing of new NASWA resolutions passed during the Business Session of the 2009 NASWA Annual Conference, please click on the following link: