President Obama has just signed the bill extending unemployment benefits into law. Now, the 300,000 jobless workers per week exhausting their 26 weeks of state unemployment insurance benefits will be allowed to move onto federally funded benefits. Workers who have not had access to the federal extension since benefits lapsed on June 2 will be reimbursed. The extension carries forward to Nov. 30.
The unemployment insurance benefits were held up in the Senate over concerns over the deficit for an unprecedented two months. Never before has Congress allowed extended benefits to lapse with the national unemployment rate over 7.2 percent. The rate is currently 9.5 percent.