As I go door-to-door, I routinely meet individuals that have been given a rough shake during the recession. A good deal of these unemployed constituents would be classified as older workers that were kicked to the curb in what should be the prime of the careers and at the highest point of their earning potential. These residents are clearly visibly shaken and concerned by not knowing what is going to happen next. The inability for the U.S. Senate to extend unemployment benefits has only exacerbated this anxiety.
For full disclosure, my dad happens to be one of those many unemployed Idahoans. He, like many others, exhausted his unemployment benefits and is a situation of unimaginable desperation. I can state without hesitation that he has done everything he could to find employment since losing his job in November. Unfortunately, that hasn't been enough.
But, now, there may finally be some good news. It looks likely that the U.S. Senate will vote to extend unemployment benefits for those that are hardest hit by the recession. The bill currently before the U.S. Senate would provide retroactive payments to those unemployed individuals that became the victims of a cynical political ploy to balance the federal budget on the backs of the unemployed. Due to some logistical issues with not being permitted to submit weekly reports and the inability to file for extensions to unemployment benefits, many constituents were unsure what would occur even if the bill were to pass.
But wait there's more! According to a representative from Congress Walt Minnick's office, the retroactive component is in the legislation and can not be ignored by any state. Also, I was assured by a division manager at the Idaho Dept. of Labor that should the legislation pass that Idaho would gladly provide retroactive payments for any weeks missed due to the unfortunate political games being played in Washington, D.C. If you or anyone you know has any questions, they can contact me or the Dept. of Labor for more information.