The other day, while listening to an online business show hosted by a financial expert, I heard the following comment about the recently enacted 13-month unemployment extension “They were increasing unemployment where, I think, you were going to get 3 years of unemployment benefits. And you know, when the third year comes due at the end of 2011, with the 2012 election cycle, you know that third year is going to be turned into a fourth year.” The person he was interviewing didn’t correct him, so it was likely taken as fact by the thousands of listeners that day.

Even members of Congress have a difficult time understanding the legislation they eventually passed, as this Arthur Delaney piece from December illustrates:

Wyoming Republican Sen. John Barrasso blocked a request to reauthorize extended unemployment benefits on Thursday, saying a better way to help the unemployed would be to improve the economy by giving “certainty” to businesses on taxes.

“This is about people who have been collecting unemployment benefits for 99 weeks,” said Barrasso, describing the bill he just blocked.

The public didn’t understand the unemployment legislation as a commenter at put it this way:

If this Tax-Bill passes as is, they’ll be receiving unemployment for the next three years, which means no getting up early, no commuting, no searching for parking, no parking tickets when you find the wrong spot, no unexpected car repairs for driving so much, no buying new clothes for work, no deadlines to meet, no dealing with stupid coworkers and “Evil” Bosses, and no reason to get a haircut or to shave again. It’s like going back to college again!!

In December, the Answer Bag had a question about three years of unemployment benefits:

The new plan is to allow people three years of unemployment payments. Another example of federal Government not caring about the future?

What do all these responses have in common? They are all wrong. 99ers – unemployed who have exhausted benefits – are not included in the 13-month unemployment extension.

Financial experts, politicians and the public are all misinformed about the 13-month extension of unemployment benefits. Why is this simple extension so confusing to so many? It’s a complete failure to communicate the message. Do politicians want the public to think that 99ers are covered under this new extension? Possibly, since that would take the heat off of Congress for not actually helping millions of financially desperate Americans.

Alison Doyle at did a great job of explaining the 13-month unemployment extension:

Under this unemployment extension legislation, unemployed workers collecting one of four tiers of benefits (ranging from 34 to 53 weeks) under the Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) will be able to move to the next tier. Workers collecting benefits under the Extended Benefits (EB) program which provides 13 to 20 weeks of additional benefits to workers living in high unemployment states will also continue to receive benefits.

In addition, unemployed workers who are currently collecting 26 weeks of state unemployment benefits will be able to move into the federal unemployment compensation program once they have exhausted state benefits.

The agreement does not include a tier 5 of unemployment for workers (99ers)who have exhausted all state and federal unemployment benefits.

Additionally, the maximum number of weeks that someone can collect unemployment benefits remains at 99 weeks. Currently only 24 states have a 99 week maximum.

Millions more 99ers are in the benefit exhaustion pipeline. Unless politicians, financial experts and the public are made aware often that 99ers are not covered under this extension, Congress will continue to deem the issue settled and millions of Americans will be left with nothing; holding the bag while the elite and powerful enjoy the fruits of an improving stock market and unfunded tax breaks.

Don’t let misinformation take control of the issue. Tell friends, family, the media, your representatives and anyone who will listen that 99ers are not part of the unemployment extension. The unemployed who have exhausted benefits need assistance, since the job market is not creating jobs nearly fast enough.

Repeat after me: The 13-month unemployment extension does not extend benefits past 99 weeks.


The unemployment system is dysfunctional at best. It offers people a chance to receive some much needed funds for a certain period of time, but it fails to address many factors such as long term unemployment, job retraining, and the social consequences of unemployment. Professor Richard D. Wolff offers some observations about this dysfunction system in the following video.

Richard D. Wolff, Professor of Economics Emeritus, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, speaks on how unemployment and its far-reaching effects in society. More information and other insightful thoughts can be found on his website, at

You can read additional posts on unemployment at Rochester Unemployment Examiner.

Bruce Beattie

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17 Comments to “Repeat after me: The 13-month unemployment extension does not extend benefits past 99 weeks”

  1. […] the original: Repeat after me: The 13-month unemployment extension does not … Share and […]

  2. venise woody says:

    I would like to say that I have personally experienced the discrimination getting back into the work field. Being as thou i have a 10 year old felony. So who is listening to the unemployed ex offenders. Who have exhausted benefits due to continued job discrimination.

  3. venise woody says:

    The Senate says their arent enough funds to extend a tier 5. However, if all the 999ers applied for welfare,ssi,foodstamps and all other resources. It will topel the cost of a tier 5 twice. So 99ers start flooding the welfare offices and any other entities our tax dollars helped support. Maybe the senate will see either way the monies will be spent.

  4. venise woody says:

    If you are a 99er with a felony having a hard time getting a job. Send me a email at leave a contact number and email…..

  5. misinformed 99er says:

    The misinformation extends beyond the public , I received a letter from the state of Florida stating I was eligible for more benefits , 20 more weeks , and that another form would follow. Of course nothing ever came and when i called they explained the extension was not really an extension but hd no explanation for the mail that was sent.
    Also among the commentators saying the extension would give the unemployed 3 years of benefits was Rush Limbaugh , this was likely intentional to bolster resistance to the original plan.
    Your cartoon explains the employment situation perfectly as I know many employed people who have had their hours reduced to as little as 6 hours a week while more have asked for prayers in their support when applying for jobs that offered only 12 hours a week.

  6. adria says:

    as an american i have worked for 40yrs.i was born in florida,and in 2008 i lost my job,and my apt. everything i had.6 months later i found temporary jobs until oct.2009. i had to re-claim unemployment benefit. until dec.2010.i have no job no money and as an american. is uncrediable that we work so hard so people whom do not and shouldn’t have jobs are working.and speaking badly about my country.we is our government that we pay tax.the president should understand and the senate whom pay the can usa help other people but not there on. start with us american. thank you adria

  7. Angelo says:

    No help for the 99ers?Unemployment high,food prices,houseing,oil cost of living all up.Less good paying jobs.Egypt or the U.S.This mess started maney,maney years ago.And our goverment let it happen.Signing law that hlep big greedy companies and big banks,letting wall street run wild.Thank about this,if they don’t put america and its people first,and nothing changes loss of jobs to China,India,ect.The people who have a job today,will become a 99er.THANK ABOUT THAT.

  8. peggy says:

    I have been looking for a job since June 2009 benefits ran out 60 years old and have nothing coming in what does the government want the american people to do . I can not believe our country has gone down so far that they are giving grants to non citizen and funding a war has not changed anything crime is up people on the street no food car repossion all over dealing with rude creditors no medical they should fire our goverment let them collect up 99 weeks see how it feels where do we go who do we turn to the presidentn talk a good talk but thats all he does
    We need help

  9. liz says:

    Maybe our great congress should only get minimum wage with no benefits,try to raise kids,companies are not hiring older people who have a better work ethic,and take pride in there work,then let them try to collect unemployment,maybe they might see how the 99er’s are struggling to survive,they took a vacation on our tax dollars,if we the american people took a vacation,and our work was not done we would be fired.They all need to be booted out of washington,with no unemployment benefitis

  10. Sandy says:

    I have been looking for a job for the past two years also. Mostly it seems as if when you are 60 years old no one wants to hire you. They say it is illegal to ask an applicant their age but they get around it by asking for dates of schools, or they know your age by asking you to sign and date and provide your birthdate for the background check which they claim will not be used for age discrimination. I don’t think they have any right to ask you for that but they all do and if you don’t you look like you are being uncooperative.

    Also having gotten out of high school way back in the 1960 I did not go to a 4 year college therefore I do not have a degree. What about all the people who are passed over even on the internet just because they do not have a degree. Nowdays everyone goes to college so I realize everyone has a degree so not having one makes you look like you are not smart enough.

    Also add that to if someone has a slight handicap such as a limp, or missing teeth, or is not attractive. In other words at 60 people might have gained weight through medical problems or just eating cheap food after being out of work for two years.

    I haven’t had a lot of interviews but I can tell you now that jobs I was perfectly qualified and had 20 years experience when the 20 year old who was the manager came out to interview me I didn’t stand a chance. Some of them even tried to pacify me and tell me how nice I was that I reminded them of their mother. I don’t even have kids. I just keep going but there is a lot more to getting a job than being qualified.

    I blame my self in some ways because my skills have slipped over the years because I too have taken any job that was offered me making minimum wage, and not when I go to a half way decent job one paying maybe $15.00 an hour which a lot people think is below them, or even a job for $12.00 or $13.00 and I have to put down I only made x number of dollars I look like a fool.

    Don’t forget the fabulous telephone interviews. I know they are meant to screen people out but 98% of the people who made me sit by that phone waiting for their call never even called. That is why every time I hear phone interview I could cringe.

    Don’t forget they won’t even tell you now days why you were not chosen they just say they are pursuing other candidates. One company I had over 3 years experience in call center, applied their multiple times and still could not get hired. The day I interviewed there a lady over 50 came out of the interview actually crying. I have been stuck unemployed forever so I don’t take it quite so personal all the games the employers seem to play nowdays.

    Yes i was at a call center that paid minimum wage for over 2 years, who closed the whole place down almost two years ago, I spent almost 50 to 60 dollars on gas to get there.

    And when people don’t think the people looking for a job have expenses guess again. Sometimes I have gone through 80 dollars a week on gas going to different libraries , the unemployment office, and when I use to get more interviews. Then don’t forget your hair better be perfect, your clothes perfect, don’t let your gray show.

    Why is there soo much discrimination against people over 50. As long as they can do the job, have a good work ethic, good personality and show up for work every day. I worked with 20 year olds at my last job , they called in every week, talked to their boyfriends 8-12 times a day and spent the day on the internet. Older workers don’t usually spend all that time goofing around because they are happy to have a job.

  11. Boljack says:

    I know what you mean being old not for hire anymore. Because the company think you can not move quikly as a young person and they don’t want liability.

  12. sammy says:

    I know this whole thing is really hard to take in. The companies all want a college degree its the only job that pays good. I still apply for them anyway cause I feel like I have a chance but no one calls back. What happen to the good old days when hands on training was the best training and a degree wont show me how the real world is or to be street smart.. I learned that from experience and that beats any degree.

  13. employeednow says:

    I was unemployed for two years I submitted for jobs almost everyday and even tried getting jobs I was well overqualified for. I have a lot of experience and technical background but most of the jobs are all overseas now. The terrible thing is there is discrimination but it’s discrimination against the unemployeed period! I had to lie about working those two years before somebody would hire me…I don’t like to lie but I hate to starve.

  14. Cheryl says:

    I was laid off from my job in September of 2009. Living in a “Seasonal” County, it is very hard finding a job during the off season. I have been struggling for over 2 years trying to pay our bills, keep food on the table for our household of 7. During that time, my husband suffered a back injury and was out of work for a couple of months and then returned on limited duty for just about another year. Gas prices are up and it got to a point that moving the car was a planned day trip of everything that had to get done. Grocery shopping, post office trip, filling out applications & trying to stretch the gas. Started filling out online applications and emailing resumes to companies offering employment. Unemployment has been exhausted and I’ve either heard, I’m over qualified, we already hired up, or we’ll call you if we’re interested. I’ve even put to work the grave yard shifts to no avail. Then I hear people don’t want to hire someone who has not worked in such a long time span. I’m not being lazy! I’ve been looking forever to no avail. So now, there is no relief in sight, possibly losing our home now. Got to love this programs to help people having difficulty paying your mortgages…maybe I haven’t found the right one…I mean how can you not qualify??? They send you a letter and say you can see your home under a “short sale”. I don’t want to sell my home America, I want to save it, live here with my husband and children because for one, if I lose it I won’t be able to get a mortgage for another home and no one will want to rent to us if we just lost our home…..Where is the help?

  15. Krissy says:

    I was laid off October of 2009. Woke up to a normal day for work (as I have done eachday for the past 12yrs). I’m 37yrs old, I worked for a total of 20yrs straight, 8 years @ a former Company, then 8yrs @ another Company.. ( A Brokerage Firm,CT) I was the type of Employee who never called in sick, hardly ever made mistakes, worked hard everysingle day, I was liked and very pleasant to be around and work with, some of my co-workers I saw more than my family. In a way I looked at my job as not a job I had to get up for and sit in traffic for hours, sometimes longer..but as a 2nd family. I enjoyed my job very much and that was shown in my work, my hard work for 12yrs. Then one Friday morning that all changed. The “New” Manager of the Company” was there for maybe a year. I Walked in the door, then that dreaded feeling of , “Can I talk to you in my office”. I knew, that overwhelming sick, heart in the throat feeling, im sure many will know what I’m talking about. Before I knew it, the people I trusted for so many years and a new Manager sitting across from me, handing me a folder with my name on it, as the folder was handed to me, I was then hit with another blow, he didn’t even know my correct name, all I thought..this one person..who doesn’t know me, my work, my life or what I’ve contributed, has just ruined my life, and didn’t even pronounce my name Correctly, wow ! Since I’ve applied for countless, countless jobs..from stores,Companies,Banks,Animal stores, ect…..Anything…Anything ! I had perfect credit, like I said I worked hard for 20yrs and now, my credit is gone..I cant even get an apartment or a used car, nothing ! Somethings as basic as a cell phone, Car Insurance, the UI to charge this laptop battery, food,clothes,Gas money. Eventhings I never thought twice about, like a haircut,my hair is so long so I cut it myself. Even the small “stupid” items like makeup, I mean you cant show up for a interview looking not so “Refreshed”, right ??!? I could sit here and name a thousands things, but all I want is work, I want to get up like I did for those 20yrs and work, be a apart of society, workforce, to feel selfworth once again, confidence..and most of all I just want to pay my bills and establish credit once again, so I can afford an apartment, car, basic things..If your credit is affected, it becomes a domino affect. Sincerley “Me” (AKA one of the 99ers) .

  16. Mike says:

    I’ve sat here and read every single post you guys have put out there. Its truly heart breaking and a little overwhelming to see good people in a bad way. I too am in this perverbial sinking ship. I started working in retail 12 years ago as a favor to my sister while I was in college. It was a part time gig, and shortly after Christmas I was promoted to full time, and then I climbed the corporate ladder so quick after that. I gave up on college and started making over 50k a year within the first year I was there. I was givent store after store, after store, fixing train wrecks for my boss with no recognition, until I was awarded breakout manager of the year back in 2003. Me, out of 1,500 store managers and I was running one of the biggest stores in the country for my company, until that one day I was let go because I was a budget cut on a piece of paper. I was a great employee that believed in servant leadership, brought every single store out of the hole they sent me to, won numerous awards, never had an employee EVER quit on me, because I was such a great boss and then BAM! My entire career was summed up on a piece of paper saying I made to much money. This was my life and I sacrificed me engagement, never having kids, never devoting my life to anything besides my job to a budget cut. That’s how the ball fell in my court.

    From there on out I have had 3 more positions in management, and again I was dragging stores out of the mud into positive numbers, but again and again I’m looked at as a budget cut on a piece of paper. My last position my store was closed down and instead of relocating me I was replaced by someone who was willing to take half of what I was making to take over the only management position left in the area. Its been almost 99 weeks since I last worked, and being I’m a single in shape tall attractive white male with a lot of confidence, I can’t seem to get a position anywhere. I’ve been told I am over qualified, don’t have a degree (to sell cell phones) I mean really? Do I really need a degree to sell a cell phone? Let’s see I’ve got 12 years of selling luxury items to people, and I can’t sell a cell phone, because I don’t have a degree? I look for a job every single day with no luck, and it takes most of the day to do this task, because so many companies aren’t legit, or are looking for that elusive degree to do a task a child could do, and yet I’m not qualified.

    I’m a single home owner who built my house with my own to hands, because I was raised by a contractor and was taught what hard work was as a child, and I wonder if I will be able to find a position, before the bank tries to take it away from me. I eat what I can, when I can, and I often stretch food to the last morsel, before I can figure out what bill I can put off to buy food. Food has became a luxury item to me. Something we normally take forgranted, and when my fridge is full I feel like I went on some crazy shopping spree and bought everything I ever wanted. I do know what you people are going through and the stress it puts on you guys, and I do feel for all of you good people out there suffering trying to get a job to be greeted with endless hours of filing apps that will never be read, calls that will never be sent from potential employers, and feeling let down. It sucks, because what happened to the day you could walk in and go eye to eye with someone and tell them you’re looking for a job and they can speak with you right then and there. Now its get back in your car and go home, fill out the app and leave us alone. It truly sickens me about how unprofessional we have gotten and how much technology has made the general public lazy. All I want is to go back to work and help people like us get back on there feet, and pass that help onto the next person in need. We as a nation fought for everything we have, and we were once the worlds super power, and now we are just some poor outsourced country that will still come and bail out any country that needs us. We need to help our own first, because these countries that we help out, would NEVER come to our aide if we needed them to. I could literally ramble for hours about what is wrong with our country, but I won’t, because I’m sure I would break the soap box from standing on it to long and ranting on like a sain person with actual ideas how to fix our great nation.

    I will leave you people with this, and I will be done. I put my faith in GOD, the one, the only Lord and Savior. He will give us what we need and never put to much in front of us that we can’t handle. He will be our calm in the storm, out light in the dark, and one true being we should be thankful to. I thank him everyday just for waking up, and I praise him when he gives me a beautiful sunset, a sunny day, the ground that I walk on, the family I have, and people that love him like me. God will always be there and I will never put anything or anyone in before him. God will get us through this troubled time and I can only hope you people are as blessed with as many beautiful things around as I am. I may be down, and out, a little weathered from this storm, but without God I am nothing. I will say a prayer for each and everyone of you in these early hours as I type this message in hopes it will give one of you, if not all of you the strength to get up, rise above these ashes like a phoenix and take back your life and demand to be heard. One voice can make all the difference, and millions working together can accomplish anything.

    Thank you,

  17. JB says:

    I feel it is unfair for people not to continue to get his or her emergency state unemployment pay, if the monies have been allocated and it is in your bank you should payout. Our state extended benefits was stopped as of may 12, 2012,,,NOT FAIR!!! I am 61 lost my job in 2010 because of budget cuts & politics the Lowery Finance Center was closed. I can undertand if you have 0 dollars in your cdle account but to leave folks in the wind and say 4 get you!!! not fair, I know unemployment rate is better now but it is underlined discrimination , example yu have 20 apps for a job , you have younger folks applying! who do you think the employer will hire not the 60 plus worker! WE NEED OUR MONEY!!!! LET US GET THE BALANCE IN OUR ACCOUNTS!!!!

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