Our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy have changed.

By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to the new Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

Jobless benefits restored for millions

By Tami Luhby, senior writer


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Millions of jobless Americans are getting their unemployment benefits back.

Hours after the House voted Thursday to push back the deadline to file for extended unemployment benefits until the end of November, President Obama signed the measure into law.

The approval came a day after the Senate voted 59 to 39 to restore the payments, ending a seven-week stalemate.

Some 2.9 million people were scheduled to run out of benefits by the end of the week. The jobless stopped getting their checks in early June, after Congress failed to extend the deadline to apply for unemployment insurance.

Senate Republicans, as well as Nebraska Democrat Ben Nelson, prevented the legislation's passage, saying it should be paid for first. They suggested covering the $34 billion tab with unused stimulus money, a step the Senate Democratic leadership rejected.

Federal unemployment payments, which last up to 73 weeks, kick in after the state-funded 26 weeks of coverage expire. These federal benefits are divided into tiers, and the jobless must apply each time they move into a new tier.

The payments will be retroactive to the previous deadline of June 2. But it could take up to a month for states to start sending the checks again, experts said.

Lynda Kahn of Coral Springs, Fla., can't wait to get that check. She stopped getting benefits last week and applied for Medicaid, only to be turned down because she doesn't have dependent children. But she did get a supermarket gift card from a local charity to supplement her $200 a month food stamp allotment.

Kahn depends on her unemployment check, which was $275 a week plus a $25 stimulus-funded supplement that will be discontinued for those newly unemployed. She lost her job as a manager for a doctor's office last August.

"It covers my mortgage payment," she said. To top of page

Index Last Change % Change
Dow 16,374.76 23.38 0.14%
Nasdaq 4,733.50 -16.48 -0.35%
S&P 500 1,951.13 2.27 0.12%
Treasuries 2.17 -0.02 -1.14%
Data as of 7:09am ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 15.94 0.09 0.57%
Apple Inc 110.37 -1.97 -1.75%
Freeport-McMoRan Inc... 10.13 0.23 2.32%
Intel Corp 29.08 0.48 1.68%
Frontier Communicati... 5.52 0.31 5.95%
Data as of Sep 3
Sponsors

Sections

The Force wasn't the only thing to awaken just after midnight on September 4. Cash registers sprang into life as fans flocked to buy new products tied to the latest Star Wars move. More

The Labor Department releases its August jobs report on Friday, and it will have big implications for the Federal Reserve. More

The BauBax travel jacket, with 15 built-in features, needed $20,000 on Kickstarter, but got $9 million. More

Pimco's famous fund once managed by star manager Bill Gross has less than $100 billion in management for the first time since 2007. More