Close to 200,000 veterans are among the 2 million unemployed workers who’ve lost access to federal jobless benefits since Congress allowed Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) to expire at the end of last year, CBPP estimates.
EUC provided additional weeks of unemployment benefits to people who were unable to find a new job before exhausting their regular state benefits, which run for up to 26 weeks in most states. About 1.3 million workers were cut off from EUC when the program expired on December 28, the Labor Department estimates, and another 1.9 million (over 70,000 a week) will exhaust their regular state benefits in the first six months of this year.
We estimate that about 1 in 10 of EUC recipients were veterans (based on the Census Bureau’s March Current Population Survey, which shows that over the last three years, 9.7 percent of unemployment insurance recipients who were looking for work for between 27 and 73 weeks were veterans). That means about 130,000 veterans were cut off when the program expired December 28 and roughly 7,000 more each week are exhausting their regular benefits and not receiving EUC. That’s a total of nearly 200,000 veterans by March 1.
Congress should act quickly to reauthorize EUC retroactively. That would restore benefits to those 200,000 and keep the total number of vets — and other long-term unemployed workers — denied emergency jobless benefits from continuing to grow.