Extended jobless benefits expire

2013-12-28T01:52:00Z 2013-12-30T10:05:12Z Extended jobless benefits expireCARA SPOTO cara.spoto@journaltimes.com Journal Times

RACINE COUNTY — More than 1,000 Racine County residents could awake this morning without a job and without the ability to collect an unemployment check.

A federal program that provided extended unemployment benefits to Americans who lost their jobs during the recession expires today, cutting off benefits for 1.3 million people, 25,000 of them Wisconsinites.

Established to provide unemployment benefits to out-of-work residents who exhausted state jobless benefits, the Federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation program was created on June 30, 2008.

According to data provided Friday by the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, 1,222 Racine County residents applied for benefits through the program earlier this month.

Friday marked the last day any of those residents were able to collect those benefits.

Racine resident Dave Kuiper, who was laid off from a hotel job in April, said Friday that he is not sure what he will do when his benefits expire today.

Despite 15 years of experience in the retail sector and a pharmacy technician certificate, the 54-year-old said he hasn’t been able to find full-time work.

“I have applied for 900 jobs since March, and all I get is part-time, minimum-wage jobs,” Kuiper said.

Although his wife is a teacher at Gateway Technical College, without his unemployment compensation the family, which includes two high school-age daughters, will be looking at what they can cut to make ends meet — including some of Kuiper’s medications, he said.

Democrats had pressed for legislation to continue the EUC program but Republicans in the GOP-controlled House of Representatives opposed it. The House adjourned for the year on Dec. 12 without considering an extension.

Local Democrats blasted House Republicans like Paul Ryan for not renewing the benefits during a press conference last week in Racine.

Ryan, whose 1st Congressional District includes Racine County, has defended the benefits expiration in an interview on “Fox News Sunday” on Dec. 15, saying that extending the program “would have blown a hole” in the federal deficit and prolonged unemployment.

State Rep. Cory Mason, a Racine Democrat, has said continued benefits are needed to help families in Racine where the economic “recovery has taken too long for too many.”

Since 2008, when the EUC program began, the City of Racine has been the city with the highest or second highest jobless rate in the state.

Monthly unemployment figures released by the DWD on Thursday showed the city had the highest unemployment rate in the state in November at 11.2 percent.

At its peak, between June 2008 and August 2010, the EUC program had the potential to provide up to 99 weeks of unemployment compensation to out-of-work Wisconsinites, explained Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development Communications Director John Dipko on Friday.

“That was the maximum amount of eligibility when you add all the programs together end to end,” Dipko said. “Over time, as the economy improved and the program has been modified, the number has changed.”

In 2013, the program mostly only provided an unemployment extension for up to 28 weeks, and only for those Wisconsinites who, despite looking for work, had exhausted the 26 weeks of unemployment compensation provided by the state, Dipko said.

If Congress does not vote to extend federal unemployment benefits when they return to work next month, as President Barack Obama urged Friday, anyone who runs out of their 26 weeks of state unemployment will not be able to collect any more unemployment benefits from the state or federal government.

Although that is the case, Dipko noted that the average amount of time that a Wisconsinite applies for state unemployment benefits is between 16 and 17 weeks.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

By The Numbers

November unemployment rates 2008-2013 — City of Racine

2008 — 9.7 percent

2009 — 15.5 percent

2010 — 14.3 percent

2011 — 11.8 percent

2012 — 11.4 percent

2013 — 11.2 percent

November unemployment rates 2008-2013 — Racine County

2008 — 6.1 percent

2009 — 10 percent

2010 — 9.1 percent

2011 — 8.2 percent

2012 — 7.9 percent

2013 — 7.7 percent

Source: Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development.

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(17) Comments

  1. ordmm
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    ordmm - December 30, 2013 8:57 am
    yawn...More liberal banter. Never a Dem/Lib issue. It's always "them" Republicans. Getting old granny.
  2. Newaccount
    Report Abuse
    Newaccount - December 30, 2013 5:37 am
    Yes it is about Obama! When Bush was in office, you libs tried to hang him for everything. Much was not in his control. But made no difference to you. Now we have Obama which he has proven to be ineffective as a leader. Look how Clinton lead with a congress controlled by Republicans. And look how Reagan lead when the congress was controlled by the Democrats. It takes a real leader able to compromise and work both side of the isle. Obama has none of these qualities. So can dig your head farther in the sand and keep telling yourself the republicans have taken over the Whitehouse. Or you can be honest and say Obama is just as much to blame as anyone.
  3. Timt49
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    Timt49 - December 29, 2013 12:34 pm
    Very good sportnut. If there is just one thing you are good at, it is name calling. Keep up the good work:)
  4. speaking frankly
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    speaking frankly - December 29, 2013 12:10 pm
    This is only for people who have exhausted their 26 weeks - you should be in a new benefit year if your employer has been paying in.
  5. concerned
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    concerned - December 29, 2013 8:12 am
    Employers in WI pay unemployment tax at 6.2 percent on the first $7,000 of employee earnings, then 6 percent after that. Those were 2011 rates. This is a federal tax. What I can't figure out is why the Senate Democrats want 46 million more dollars to enforce border patrol over the next 10 years.
  6. kid stuff
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    kid stuff - December 29, 2013 4:50 am
    The real story is not about President Obama, but about republicans and their need to do away with entitlements. Last I heard, unemployment benefits are taken out of a working persons checks in the event that they are laid off from their job.
  7. A Jelly Doughnut
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    A Jelly Doughnut - December 29, 2013 1:05 am
    The real story here is Barack Train Wreck Obama has had 5 years to get this economy moving, and things are looking worse than ever. The hardcore leftys will accept excuses blaming Bush, but the rest of us in the real world not so much.
  8. jtreader
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    jtreader - December 28, 2013 3:41 pm
    To Sheisme: Call unemployment and ask.
  9. tansandy
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    tansandy - December 28, 2013 2:46 pm
    "State Rep. Cory Mason, a Racine Democrat, has said continued benefits are needed to help families in Racine where the economic “recovery has taken too long for too many.” The RJT regurgitated this quote from an earlier story. Anything to make their point. I also think Mr Kuiper likes playing the "Mr Mom" thing. Sure beats working. Mr Kuiper, check out jobsinracine.com, just skimming though I see about 20 Pharmacy Technician positions in the Racine Milwaukee area. Most are full time positions. Glad I could help.
  10. Joeboy5471
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    Joeboy5471 - December 28, 2013 2:06 pm
    Some folks will really suffer when the checks stop coming, but the person who was interviewed for the story, probably is not one of them. Things are not always what they seem to be.......
  11. ggodmuls
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    ggodmuls - December 28, 2013 10:27 am
    Meanwhile Gateway President Bryan Albrecht along with his unelected Board continues to borrow money to spite the Voters who turned down his $49,000,000 referendum - which is simply added to the property tax bill of Mr. Kuiper and all others in the district.

    The latest round of borrowing for remodeling was on Dec. 5, 2013 and brings Gateway's General Obligation Debt to $54,100,000.

    Issue: General Obligation Promissory Notes, Series 2013-14C; Rating: Aaa; Sale Amount: $1,250,000; Expected Sale Date: 12-05-2013; Rating Description: General Obligation


    Since the voters turned down Bryan Albrecht's request on April 2, 2013, the unelected Board has borrowed:

    04/12/13 $1,000,000
    06/17/13 $6,800,000
    07/02/13 $1,500,000
    12/04/13 $1,300,000

    I checked Ms. Kuiper's Gateway salary/benefits using the Post/Crescent's database which reported a base salary for the 2011-2012 year as: $88,439 PLUS an overage for 2011-2012 at $28,179 for $116,618 PLUS an UNTAXED Benefit package at $47,261.


  12. QuickDraw
    Report Abuse
    QuickDraw - December 28, 2013 9:50 am
    The article states that Mr. Kuiper's wife is a teacher at Gateway Technical College. The Kenosha News website lists a Maryanne Kuiper with a 2012 salary of about $110,000. He says he has to cut back on his medication? He has a degree in pharmacy tech? There must be more to this story than is in this article.
  13. racinebo
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    racinebo - December 28, 2013 9:31 am
    Senator Paul Ryan also constructed a cut to military retirement benefits goes viral.
    Here is a comment regarding from a retired Air Force chief master sergeant Chuck Wooten. I hope you and your cowardly Republican ‘colleagues’ hear a message from me loud and clear, after receiving a fundraising letter from Ryan. “You will NEVER receive another cent of financial support from me. Further, if you happen to be at a Capitol Hill dinner or at a K Street cocktail party with RNC Chair Reince Priebus, Rep. Ron Barber, Sen. Jeff Flake or Sen. John McCain, I would be honored if you communicate with them that I am launching an effort to ensure NONE of you traitorous ‘representatives of the people’ ever receive another vote from a military retiree. Remove me from your contact lists.
    I did not see anything in the cost cutting budget regarding Paul Ryan cut in pay or retirement.
  14. granny grits
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    granny grits - December 28, 2013 9:02 am
    The republican majority in the house don't care about workers, but if there was a tax on the rich they could cut it would pass with blinding speed.
  15. sheisme
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    sheisme - December 28, 2013 8:28 am
    Can one of you guys answer a question for me? If you applied for unemployment last week, are they saying you won't get it??? Jt is always all over the place!
  16. sportnut
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    sportnut - December 28, 2013 7:54 am
    Yes, it is sad but "pigs" like king and others in the area will be dancing and celebrating! They have found one more way to further hurt good folks like Mr. Kuiper who have applied at over 900 employers since last spring! ! People like king only care about themselves and do not care if people are starving all around them. They are true t-bag bums!!! They deserve a wish for the worst possible luck in 2014 !!! A little starvation might help them understand that not all folks have so much hate in their hearts !!
  17. jtreader
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    jtreader - December 28, 2013 7:03 am
    Very sad. You cannot contribute and buy without money. Congress needa to extend the benefits.
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