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Iowans might not see benefit of potential unemployment benefits extension


Tough economic times and increasing unemployment rates have forced the government to consider a measure that would allow more than a million people to receive an additional 13 weeks of unemployment benefits, CNNMoney.com reported.

The bill, which is set to be taken up by the House today, would extend benefits to those people who live in states with a jobless rate higher than 8.5 percent. Twenty-seven states plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico would qualify, but because Iowa’s unemployment rate is at 6.8 percent, according to August figures, Iowans likely would be unable to receive the additional benefits.

Workers in states that don’t qualify could qualify if their state is expected to hit 8.5 percent unemployment soon, or meets other criteria.

An estimated 400,000 people by the end of the month, and 1.4 million by the end of the year, are expected to lose their unemployment checks, according to a report by the National Employment Law Project. The jobless rate in the United States rose to 9.7 percent, leaving 14.9 million workers unemployed. See a state-by-state breakdown.

According to the group’s projections, 19,845 Iowans will exhaust their unemployment benefits by month’s end. That number would make Iowa the seventh-highest out of the states and territories for exhaustions of benefits. The projections show 30,914 Iowans will exhaust their benefits by year’s end. That would rank Iowa as 16th-highest in exhaustions in the country. See the full state-by-state breakdown.

People in most states receive 26 weeks of state-funded benefits, but the 13-week extension would supplement federally funded extensions of up to 53 weeks that Congress approved last year in the stimulus bill. More than 80 percent of those about to exhaust their benefits would receive extensions.

The bill is expected to be fast-tracked through the House, and is expected to pass easily, according to CNNMoney.com.

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