Unless Congress extends Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) and federal coverage of Extended Benefits (EB), over 280,000 Pennsylvanians will exhaust their Unemployment Insurance (UI) by the end of April, 2011. 80,000 people in PA will lose their benefits in December alone, smack in the middle of the holiday season.
Why? When the recession started, Congress extended the maximum claim for UI benefits for Pennsylvanians from the usual 26 weeks to 99 weeks. The bill that extends the benefits to 99 weeks will expire at the end of November, at which point the maximum length of a UI claim in Pennsylvania would return to only 26 weeks. With no more than 26 weeks of UI, people will start exhausting their benefits in unconscionably high numbers at a time when unemployment stands at 9% in Pennsylvania and 40% of those unemployed have been out of work for more than 26 weeks. 26 week is just not enough of a safety net to help people in this dismal economy.