Unemployment Insurance


The federally-funded Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) program expired on December 28, 2013.  As a result, 1.3 million job-seekers had their unemployment benefits immediately cut off in late December, and thousands more have lost access to these benefits with each passing week in 2014. The Department of Labor estimates that, as of the end of September 2014, more than 3.6 million Americans had been denied extended unemployment benefits because of the termination of the EUC program.

Bipartisan legislation passed the Senate in April, 2014 that would have extended the EUC program for part of 2014, while also fully offsetting the cost of that legislation, but the Republican leadership in the House refused to allow a vote on that measure. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that extending these benefits for another year would raise employment by 200,000 jobs through increased consumer demand. Ways and Means Democrats have called on Congress to extend the federal unemployment insurance program to support continued economic recovery and to help Americans who continue to look for work.

Key facts:

  • While the economy has made major gains since the depths of the Great Recession – with the private sector adding 10 million jobs over 54 straight months of job growth – long-term unemployment remains higher than at any time on record before the Great Recession. Close to one third of the unemployed have been without work for over six months.
  • Unemployment benefits support consumer demand and therefore job growth, according to the Congressional Budget Office. 
  • UI benefits also reduce poverty and home foreclosures. Unemployment benefits kept 11 million Americans out of poverty and federal benefits prevented 1.4 million home foreclosures between 2008 and 2012.
  • Extended unemployment benefits help long-term unemployed Americans continue their work search, rather than giving up and dropping out of the workforce.
  • As of the end of September 2014, the expiration of the federal EUC program has cut off 3.6 million Americans from unemployment benefits, including roughly 350,000 veterans.

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