U.S. House Approves Bill Extending Unemployment Benefits in States with High Unemployment Rates

On September 22, 2009, the U.S. House of Representatives approved H.R. 3548, which will provide an additional 13 weeks of emergency unemployment compensation program benefits in states with a three-month average total unemployment rate of at least 8.5%. Ohio, with an average rate of 10.8%, is one of the states that will receive additional funds under this bill.

This bill will assist workers who would exhaust their benefits this month if no extension was approved, and the number of such workers is expected to increase to more than one million by the end of 2009. The bill’s costs are not expected to add to the national deficit, as any costs will be offset by two provisions:

1) the bill extends for one year a federal unemployment tax already in place, the Federal Unemployment Tax Act surtax, which imposes a $14 per worker annual tax on business, and which was scheduled to expire at the end of 2009; and

2) the bill requires that current reporting on newly hired employees must now include the date work started, in order to reduce overpayments.

The Senate now takes up the bill.


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