Federal Unemployment, Cobra Subsidy in Danger of Expiring

Federal Unemployment, Cobra Subsidy in Danger of Expiring Photo (cc) by Franco Folini

Unless Congress acts within the week, more than a million Americans now depending on federal extended unemployment benefits and the 65% COBRA health insurance subsidy may soon be without help.

Congress has been working on a bill that would, among other things, extend federal benefits to May 31st. With nothing yet passed, however, they’re now considering buying time with a 15-day extension. But without some sort of action, 1.4 million Americans now receiving extended federal benefits will start getting cut off at the end of February.

Here’s a news story I did about what to do when your unemployment ends. It doesn’t have any magic bullets, but it does feature some help and some hope. Check it out, then meet me on the other side for more.

Whether you’re on your first week of unemployment or your last, remember that the worst thing you can do is sit at home. So get out there, meet some folks, shake some hands, and attend meetings and workshops. As Lisa, the woman I interviewed for this story, reminded me off-camera, “When you got the job you have now, did you get it in person or by surfing the web?” She’s right. You might look online or in the paper, but the more people you can look in the eye, the better your odds. Plus, when you’re physically around people in a situation similar to yours, you’ll stay motivated and hopeful.

So if you’re one of the ones who could be affected by the potential lapse in federal assistance, keep one eye on the news for congressional action and the other on the mailbox for notices from your state’s unemployment department. And when you take a break, here’s another story that might be of interest: Four Places to Get Free Job Training.

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