The politicians in Washington are still dickering back and forth about whether to further extend unemployment benefits in 2014. More than 2 million Americans lost their benefits at the end of 2013 and have gone without government assistance for the first two months of this year. Every month that goes by it is estimated that about 70,000 more people lose their benefits as they run out.
Long term unemployment is a colossal problem in this country as the economy tightens and jobs are lost across the board. This makes it extremely hard for people who have been out of work for a long time to get hired as employers are more apt to hire workers who have short periods of time without a job. It is often thought that the long term unemployed are lazy, not really looking for a job, and would actually rather get unemployment payouts than find work. While this may be true in some instances, for those that are genuinely hoping to find a job the situation has become dire.
The Senate is expected to revisit the unemployment extension situation in early March and possibly have another vote. Democrats are furiously trying to convince several Republican members who come from states with high unemployment that voting to further extend benefits is the right thing to do. If new unemployment benefit extensions are passed this month or any month after, they likely will include retroactive benefits back to the January 2014.