Unemployment in Oregon Remains High –
CLICK HERE to simplify your Job Search for Free
Even though unemployment remains high in most states, rates haven’t risen in such a way over the past two years that states can continue to meet the second condition for EB eligibility. That’s why Congress, when it reauthorized the federal benefits programs in December, included a provision allowing states to modify their laws so the EB “look back” encompasses the previous three years instead of just two.
“In general, unemployment rates three years ago were low enough to meet the look-back requirements for the EB ‘on’ indicators,” advised a December Labor Department memo to state workforce agencies. The Labor Department publishes a monthly “trigger notice report.”
Some advocates for continuing the benefits worry the problem of outdated EB “look back requirements” and “on indicators” is so abstruse that state lawmakers are either unaware or ignorant of the problem.
“Too many misguided and/or uninformed state legislators are either choosing to deny their state’s unemployed workers UI benefits they so desperately need, or are simply neglecting to deal with the issue that will come into play after they adjourn,” Judy Conti, a lobbyist for the National Employment Law Project, wrote in an email. “There is an easy legislative fix for all of this, the money has been appropriated, and it is of the utmost importance to very vulnerable citizens in their states.”
Lawmakers and governors’ offices in Wisconsin, Tennessee, and North Carolina either had no comment or did not respond to requests for comment from HuffPost.
California, Colorado, and Michigan have changed their laws to maintain eligibility for the benefits, according to the Labor Department. (Though Michigan curtailed future state benefits at the same time it changed its EB trigger.)
In Missouri, a Republican state senator who filibustered a bill that would maintain the state’s eligibility for EB relented on Tuesday, deciding to focus his anti-spending efforts on federal stimulus measures instead of federal unemployment benefits.
The National Employment Law Project expects Alaska, Alabama, Kentucky, and Virginia to trigger off EB benefits after the Labor Department releases state unemployment rates later this month.