Checks will be coming

Jobless benefits are renewed for millions

By ANDREW TAYLOR – Associated Press

WASHINGTON

Federal checks could begin flowing again as early as next week to millions of jobless people who lost up to seven weeks of unemployment benefits in a congressional standoff.

The White House said President Barack Obama would quickly sign the legislation Congress approved Thursday to restore benefits to people who have been out of work for six months or more, ending an interruption that cut off payments averaging about $300 a week to 2 1/2 million people who have been unable to find work in the aftermath of the nation’s long and deep recession.

At stake are up to 73 weeks of federally financed benefits for people who have exhausted their 26 weeks of state jobless benefits. About half of the approximately 5 million people in the program have had their benefits cut off since its authorization expired June 2.

They are eligible for lump-sum retroactive payments that are typically delivered directly to their bank accounts or credited to state-issued debit cards. Many states have encouraged beneficiaries to keep updating their paperwork in hopes of speeding payments once the program was restored.

In states like Pennsylvania and New York, the back payments should go out next week, officials said. In others, like Nevada and North Carolina, it may take a few weeks for all of those eligible to receive benefits.

The 272-152 House vote Thursday will send the measure to the White House, where Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Obama would sign it as soon as it arrived. The House vote came less than 24 hours after a mostly party-line Senate vote Wednesday on the measure, which is just one piece of a larger Democratic jobs agenda that has otherwise mostly collapsed after months of battles with Republicans.

“Americans who are working day and night to get back on their feet and support their families in these tough economic times deserve more than obstruction and partisan game-playing,” Obama said Wednesday night.

Read more: http://www.sunherald.com/2010/07/22/2351744/checks-will-be-coming.html#ixzz0uVUdLCXS

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