CALIFORNIA - OBAMA SUPPORTERS IN THE GOLDEN STATE IN FOR A RUDE 'OBAMA MOMENT"
Unemployment benefits abruptly cut for 100k Californians
About 93,000 Californians are scheduled to have their extended federal unemployment benefits cut off Saturday because the state is no longer eligible for the long-term aid.
A drop in the state’s unemployment rate to 11 percent — its lowest mark in three years — is triggering the federal cutoff.
Under federal law, the rate of unemployment must be 10 percent higher for the same three-month period over the past three years for the extended benefits to remain in each state. California's unemployment rate, the third highest in the nation, is now only 8 percent for those time periods.
That means the state is no longer eligible for the Federal-State Extended Duration Program, or FED-ED. The program, which began in March 2009, allowed unemployed persons to receive benefits for up to 99 weeks. The maximum without FED-ED is 79 weeks. The average unemployment check is $292 per week.
"If that’s the criteria, I question it because we were in a really bad spot and even though we’re up somewhat from that, the rate is still pretty high," said Alan Gin, a professor of economics at the University of San Diego. "So that’s kind of a flaw I think in the system."
California is one of eight states to lose the FED-ED program on Saturday, according to The Associated Press. Fifteen other states lost the benefit in April.
The state EDD sent out notices to those affected over the last three weeks.
Bill Feit, 63, of Oceanside, said he received his on Saturday. Feit said he's been unemployed for 88 weeks after leaving a contract job that paid $33 per hour. He said he's been applying to many jobs, including those at Home Depot and Costco, but still having no luck.
"I've applied for three to five jobs a week for two years, now I don’t even get any calls anymore," said Feit, who gets $450 a week in unemployment. "That thing about being long-term unemployed, it's true. The gates are closed, that’s how I feel."
Donna Sanders, 73, of Ramona, said she was laid off as a business manager in October 2010, and has had little success even landing an interview.
"Unless I find a job really quickly, things are just going to go in the dumpster," said Sanders, who receives $450 a week in unemployment. "I won't be able to pay any of my bills and I'll probably have to file for bankruptcy."
The state could get back on the FED-ED three months from May 12, should the unemployment rate fall back below the threshold.