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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 2, 2010

SCHUMER: 72,000 NY'ERS COULD LOSE CRITICAL UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS IF SENATE DOESN'T PASS EXTENSION - NEW YORK HIT THE HARDER THAN ANY OTHER STATE


Senator Bunning Blocked Extension of Unemployment Insurance As Benefits Expired Sunday Night - More Than 780,000 NY'ers Now Receive Unemployment Benefits

If Extension Isn't Passed, Estimated 6,500 NY'ers Will Lose Unemployment Benefits This Week, 25,000 Next Week and 72,000 Total By the End of the Month

Schumer: Bill Also Includes Millions in Transportation Funding, COBRA, and Other Benefits That Could Also Be Lost

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today said an estimated 72,000 New Yorkers could lose their unemployment benefits if a block isn’t lifted to allow an extension of unemployment insurance pass before thousands of New Yorkers lose their benefits. The Senate was poised to pass legislation extending unemployment insurance, COBRA health care benefits, transportation funding, and other federal programs that were set to expire on February 28th. However, Senator Jim Bunning (R-KY) blocked the legislation, preventing it from passing in time. At midnight Sunday night, these critical benefits expired. Schumer emphasized that while the unemployment benefits New Yorkers are receiving won’t immediately disappear, when New Yorkers go to renew their benefits, they will not be able to unless this legislation is passed. Over 850,000 New Yorkers now receive federal unemployment insurance, and out of those, if the extension is not passed, an estimated 6,500 will not get their benefits this week, 25,000 more next week with a total of 72,000 by the end of the month.

“I’ve gone around the state and met with New Yorkers who had the same job for years and years, but have lost it and can’t find work no matter how hard they look. It is unfair and almost inhumane to cut these fine people off from their benefits. Senator Bunning should relent. “

Last week, the Senate tried unsuccessfully to pass a 30-day extension of a number of laws that expire on Sunday, February 28. These include an extension of unemployment insurance, COBRA health insurance subsidies, satellite home viewer act, flood insurance, SBA loan provisions, highway trust fund provisions, and flood insurance. The total cost of the package is approximately $10 billion,” said U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer

It is estimated that about 1.2 million people nationally and 72,000 people in New York will become ineligible for federal benefits sometime in March unless Congress passes an extension. This doesn’t mean they will lose their benefits immediately; it means that when the tier of benefits they are currently in runs out, they will no longer receive anything. According to the NYS Department of Labor, about 6,500 people in NYS will actually lose benefits after next week, and about 25,000 the week after, if Congress doesn’t pass anything. The numbers will climb each week.

Also included in the legislation is extension of federal highway and transit programs. As a result, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) cannot provide reimbursement to New York State for projects currently underway. Depending on how long it takes Congress to rectify this situation, payments to contractors may be delayed.

The numbers in this release are revised estimates from the New York State Department of Labor. There are borough by borough numbers available upon request.

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