Unemployed? What’s in the Obama Stimulus Package for You

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With the passage of the Stimulus Bill, the most expensive piece of legislation ever attempted is now law. But will it help you? In this two-part series, money reporter Stacy Johnson sifts through the bill to explain how it will affect both those with jobs and those without.

Our nation’s leaders have finally passed a bill designed to get our ailing economy back on it’s feet. What’s certain is the cost: nearly 800 billion dollars. What’s not so certain is whether it shorten the recession, and how soon it will help.

But love it or hate it, if you’re unemployed, you’re almost certainly going to gain from it. Especially if you’re low income, and looking for work.

First, your unemployment checks will be last 20 weeks longer…33 if you live in a state with high unemployment. It also raises benefits by $25/week,

2nd: If you’re unemployed, if you qualify to use your former employer’s insurance: called COBRA…you’ll get help with the cost. For up to 9 months, Uncle Sam will pay 60% of the cost.

Third, the food stamp benefits are being increased by over 13%… so those on the program can keep up with the rising cost of food. States are also getting major additional funding for Medicare.

And last but definitely not least: you might find a job. More than 3 million are supposed to be created. Many will be in construction: 40 billion dollars is supposed to be used for infrastructure: billions more for school construction.

But high tech jobs will also get a boost. The bill also provides billions to do things like computerize medical records, modernize our power grid, expand high speed internet, and promote and expand green technologies.

Bottom line? If you’re looking for work, the stimulus bill could help. Some will argue that it’s too little, too late. But if you’re one of the millions of unemployed, you’ll find it’s a whole lot better than nothing.

Stacy Johnson

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