Since long-term unemployment insurance benefits expired at the end of 2013, several proposals have moved through the Senate with the hopes of renewing payments and providing crucial assistance to those who have been out of work for a long period of time.

Despite momentum, the legislation was turned away by the House of Representatives each time. However, these roadblocks haven’t deterred two proponents of long-term unemployment insurance, Sens. Jack Reed, D-R.I. and Dean Heller, R-Nev., who are once again pushing a bill in Congress.

According to CBS News, the main problem why any legislation failed in the House was because it retroactively restored benefits, a move some insisted would cause overpayments, issues with income verification and other bureaucratic problems. Now, the new bill wouldn’t include that component. Only those who lost benefits while they still were eligible will receive backed payments.

For example, Chip Unruh, a spokesman for Reed, told the media outlet that if a person was eligible for three more weeks, they would be able to collect for those three weeks. He added that while unaware of specifics, the legislation would likely be paid for in the same way as its previous iteration: through spending reductions, changes to pension laws and select fees.

Hurdles still remain for bill
While the last attempt to pass a similar bill failed in the House, this one may be able to break through thanks to the key change that would remove retroactive unemployment insurance benefits. However, hurdles still remain that could prevent approval anytime soon.

According to Politico, much of the burden falls on Heller, who needs to gain support of fellow Senate Republicans before the legislation can ever make it to the House. During the vote on the earlier bill, several senators expressed support, but those same people haven’t yet spoken in favor of the new document.

“What he’s doing is scrambling to get a few more Republicans,” Reid told Politico. “Anytime Sen. Heller makes a little progress on this we’ll bring it back. Because people are just as desperate today as they were two months ago.”

Despite these headwinds, there is still optimism for the legislation. The new changes could potentially make it easier for the states to implement benefits, removing some of the burden on local lawmakers and businesses, while providing a lifeline to the long-term unemployed.

At Corporate Cost Control, we work closely with employers across the country to better manage the nuances of unemployment insurance. Legislation changes on the state level could impact you today, and we welcome any questions or concerns you may have on a wide range of topics.


Contact CCC to see how we can save your organization time and money.
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