Before Congress finished up its session this year—during which time legislators funded the budget in a compromise agreement to avoid another near-shutdown of the government—members did not address extending the ongoing emergency unemployment benefits to some 1.3 million “long-term” unemployed Americans, and therefore those benefits expired on Saturday, Dec. 28.
The emergency unemployment program for the long-term unemployed began during financial hard times in 2008 under President George W. Bush. Congress has voted to extend the program 11 times to date, without any gaps—until now, according to the Washington Post. These federal benefits are provided for those who haven’t found work and have exhausted their 26 weeks of state unemployment benefits.
According to several reports, a discussion about extending the federal benefits by three months will be addressed by the Senate in early January.
That’s going to be a long three month wait for out-of-work, long-term unemployed Americans. In Massachusetts, that translates to some 33,000 people, according to Labor Department data compiled by the House Ways and Means Committee Democrats and reported by the Pew Center.
The unfortunate irony is that losing these unemployment benefits also correlates with the loss of some 7,000 jobs in Massachusetts due to the cut in benefits, according to the White House Council of Economic Advisers.
And a further and frustrating irony is that employers tend to benefit from hiring older workers due to the workers’ business and life experience. This recent episode of The Diane Rehm Show from American University Radio, entitled The Value of Older Workers, focuses on the benefits older workers bring to the table for employers:
Are You Job Hunting?
If you or someone you know is among the long-term unemployed, you know firsthand how difficult it can be. And if you’re 50+ and searching for work, the task is that much more challenging. AARP has resources, tools and tips that can help.
Our Best Employers for Workers Over 50 guide features employers who focus on and retain older workers.
Our job-hunting and work resource center offers everything from resume preparation to interviewing tips to using social networking sites like LinkedIn to help you network with others and employers. The best place to start is our Job Hunting 101, which offers a plethora of information for those 50+ looking for work.
With regard to your resume, and since so much of job hunting in today’s market is done online, this video can show you how to create an online resume: How to Create An Online Resume Video
We also have a video to help you prepare for that big job interview: Preparing for Your Best Job Interview
And even if you’ve been unemployed for some time, these tips on taking stock of your assets and getting your head in the right frame of mind for a job search can serve as a excellent refresher:
Finally, perhaps this time in your life will find you deciding to do something you’ve truly always wanted to do, even if it means departing from your former 9-to-5 employment. To that end, our Life Reimagined resources can help you brainstorm and rethink your life and goals. Specific to work, our Work Reimagined site offers a 5-part special report on looking for work for those 50+.