The number of jobless veterans who’ve lost access to federal jobless benefits since Congress allowed Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) to expire at the end of last year — which we estimated at the end of February was close to 200,000 and counting — will reach an estimated 285,000 by the end of this month.
EUC provided additional weeks of unemployment benefits to people who could not 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, according to the most recent Labor Department estimates, and another 1.6 million have exhausted their regular state benefits in the first six months of this year.
We estimate that about 1 in 10 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). Applying that percentage to the Labor Department totals, about 285,000 veterans have been cut off from EUC — about 130,000 when the program expired December 28 and even more since then who have exhausted their regular benefits and not received any EUC.
In February, we urged Congress to act quickly to reauthorize EUC retroactively to restore benefits to those who’d already lost them and keep the total number of vets — and other long-term unemployed workers — denied emergency jobless benefits from continuing to grow.
Congress hasn’t acted yet — and the numbers keep growing.