Sunday, May 27 , 2018, 12:53 am | Fair 56º


Capps, House Vote to Extend Jobless Benefits

The legislation would continue unemployment programs through Nov. 30

Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, voted Thursday to restore and extend unemployment benefits for those looking for work on the Central and South coasts.

The bill would extend the Emergency Unemployment Compensation and Extended Benefits programs through Nov. 30. It also retroactively would restore benefits to people who may have started losing their benefits as early as the end of May, some after just 26 weeks, after Senate Republicans blocked consideration of extension legislation in late May.

“Extending unemployment benefits during times of high unemployment provide critical support to families trying make ends meet as we continue to recover from the worst recession in generations,” Capps said. “But it also provides a critical boost to local economies because the benefits are spent right away, putting money into local businesses almost immediately.”

As of last week, 386,000 Californians had lost unemployment benefits. California’s Economic Development Department is “maintaining a list of all claimants who have recently run out of their regular UI benefits or any of the four tiers of federal extension benefits and will automatically file the next tier of extension for these customers” when the extension is passed.

Extending unemployment benefits is widely acknowledged to be beneficial not just for the unemployed and their families, but for the economy as a whole. According to chief economist Mark Zandi, every dollar in unemployment benefits creates at least $1.63 in economic activity as recipients spend their benefits in neighborhood businesses.

The current lapse in extended benefits is unprecedented: Since 1959, the government has never allowed extended unemployment benefits to expire when the national unemployment rate is still above 7.2 percent. The current rate stands at 9.7 percent.

— Ashley Schapitl is the press secretary for Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara.


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