Those who have exhausted all the available unemployment benefits - 99 weeks of combined state and federally-subsidized payments - are petitioning Congress to add another tier of benefits to the unemployment extension system currently in place. At the moment there are 4 tiers of additional unemployment benefits that the unemployed can claim as they try to get back into the workforce.
Over at Change.org is a petition calling for the "99ers" - those who have exhausted the 99 weeks of unemployment benefits - to sign the appeal for Congress to add a Tier V to the unemployment extensions.
From the petition:
"You should be ashamed of yourself, and here's why:
You have decided to ignore the people you reduced to poverty.Â The longest unemployed workers did not create this depression, you did.Â You did this with your failure to regulate the banks, health industry, and corporations. People who were fully employed, paying taxes, and raising families are now paying the price for your negligence.Â They trusted you to keep something like this from happening. You failed them.
Now you are deliberately failing them again.Â This may be a recession for you, but it's a depression for them. You know this depression will last longer than until March, yet you have no plans to add additional unemployment tiers to keep these people from becoming increasingly destitute.Â Tens of thousands will begin to lose all financial support on March 14. You know with full clarity that these benefits are the only money keeping food on their tables. You know that their benefits run out in March, and that these American families will be on the path to shelters and soup kitchens.
Please make sure that the only choice for Americans who want to work is either a job or unemployment benefits.Â Don't end benefits until there are jobs for them. As of now, there is only 1 job for every 6 unemployed workers. Take care of these victims."
And this is happening while Congress takes a two-week Easter recess, secure in the knowledge that they have jobs to return to (at least until the next election).
Do we need another tier of unemployment benefits extensions?