The American 99ers Union is a coalition of individuals and groups advocating for 99ers – those who have exhausted all unemployment insurance without having yet found a job. The current total number of 99ers ranges from 3-5 million and is growing at a rate of 91,000 or more per week. The 99er situation is an American tragedy that demands immediate action from Congress. With the mid-term election fast approaching, the American 99ers Union has decided to support the Democratic Party, since the Democrats appear to be the only viable party willing to address 99er issues. What follows is a release from American 99ers Union that addresses their reason for supporting Democrats and explains the 99er situation as it stands currently.
WILL YOU BECOME A 99er BEFORE CHRISTMAS?
Vote for Jobs * Vote for Tier V * Vote Democratic * Protect Yourself
Anyone collecting unemployment insurance will become a 99er after November 30thunless Congress votes for an extension. This will be a huge fight, just like last July. Currently, however, there is a stand alone bill, S.3706 that would create a Tier V, 20 additional weeks, for ALL who have exhausted their unemployment insurance (UI), both the “old” 99ers, and the “new” 99ers who will begin to lose UI after Nov. 30th. The bill is supported by the Democrats, not the Republicans. The Democratic Party has supported job creation, the unemployed and fought for extensions of Tiers and dates. This is the party that needs to remain the majority in Congress if any of us are to receive any help. We already know that the GOP is not a party for the people. At every turn, Republicans have chosen to support banks, the wealthy and corporations instead of supporting the needs of struggling Americans. Current 99ers cannot wait any longer for financial assistance. We have fought long and hard for over 8 months now, and we need the support of ALL future 99ers to join the fight. Whether or not you are receiving UI, all unemployed, underemployed, those who fear they may be laid-off soon, and their families, must not simply wait and hope for job creation and extended UI. Millions of unemployed will be 99ers after November 30. If Republicans take control of the House of Representatives and/or the Senate, many can expect to remain a 99er for a very long time.
If you are not a 99er, how will theupcoming expiration date of November 30th affect your UI? The bottom line is this:
If you are currently collecting your first 26 weeks, after Nov. 30th, you WILL NOT be allowed to move into a Tier. All you will receive in TOTAL UI is 26 weeks. When you finish your 26 weeks, you will become a 99er.
- Example:You first filed for UI in August, 2010. Your 26 weeks is finished in January. You will become a 99er in January, 2011.
If your state/state you are collecting from qualifies for the Tier, and you begin a new Tier before November 30th,you will be able to complete the weeks for that Tier. You WILL NOT be allowed to move the next Tier and, when your current Tier ends, you will become a 99er.
- Example:Assuming your state/state you are collecting from qualifies, you began Tier 1, 20 weeks, in August, 2010. You will become a 99er in January, 2011.
If you began collecting your 20 weeks of Extended Benefits (EB), before the Nov. 30th deadline, you WILL NOT collect EB after December 5th. No EB will be paid out, regardless of how many weeks you have left. On Dec, 5th, you will become a 99er.
- Example:You began collecting EB in August, 2010 and you think you have until Jan, 2011. You will be cut-off and become a 99er on Dec.5, 2010.
Usually, a laid-off person receives 26 weeks of unemployment insurance (UI). In a normal economy, 26 weeks is often enough time to find a job. Money for the first 26 weeks comes from your State. Because of the economic crisis, some states also have Extended Benefits (EB), and the Federal government pays for extra weeks through a series of steps, called Tiers.
Currently, there are four Tiers of Federally funded benefits (in addition to the original 26 weeks of state benefits and 20 weeks of EB, which is jointly funded). With each new Tier, new individual and state eligibility rules and expiration dates are added. For example, new money for ALL Tiers expires on November 30th of this year. It is extremely important that you understand what Tier you are in and how the expiration dates and rules apply to you. The two most important things are: the original date you filed for UI, and the state you live in or are collecting from.
The original 26 weeks, plus the current Tiers and EB, add up to 99 weeks. The term “99er”, originally adopted by those who have exhausted all 99 weeks, now refers to anyone who has exhaustedall of their unemployment benefits. This does not mean that everyone has, or will, receive 99 weeks of UI. Some think they will automatically move from Tier to Tier and collect all 99 weeks. NO!! The start date when you file your original claim determines which Tiers you are eligible for. In addition, not all states are entitled to 99 weeks; it depends on your states’ individual unemployment rate (or that of the state you are collecting from). Each state is different; please be sure to check with the State Department of Labor to determine which Tier you are in, which Tiers you are eligible for and how many weeks your state might be eligible for. DO NOT assume you know; check for yourself. You can find your state/collecting state office here: http://www.servicelocator.org/OWSLinks.asp
BE PRO-ACTIVE. DON’T WAIT UNTIL YOU LOSE YOUR UI AFTER NOV 30TH!!
All unemployed are 99ers.
We take the name ‘99ers’ as a show of solidarity because we are all in the same boat unless law-makers take action soon.
We ask all unemployed to vote as 99ers on November 2.
VOTEfor job creation, VOTE for Tier 5, VOTE for extended UI, VOTE for Democrats!!
The election in many locations will be close and your vote can make the difference on who wins or loses. Voting is your chance to make your voice heard. Sometimes the choice seems to be one between those who have promised and not yet delivered or and those who could care less about the unemployed. Vote wisely and with regard to whom will best be able to help with job creation, extended unemployment benefits and Tier 5. The American 99ers Union believes that Democrats still offer 99ers the most hope.