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AARP Urges Congress to Extend Unemployment Insurance Benefits

House, Senate Bills (HR 3346, S.1804) Provide Relief for Millions of Long-Term Jobless

November 30, 2011

AARP Media Relations


House, Senate Bills (HR 3346, S.1804) Provide Relief for Millions of Long-Term Jobless

Washington, DC – AARP Executive Vice President Nancy LeaMond offered the following statement today in strong support of companion Senate and House legislation – the “Emergency Unemployment Compensation Act of 2011” – to continue extended unemployment insurance (UI) benefits for millions of workers facing prolonged joblessness.

“AARP calls on Congress to extend unemployment insurance benefits for the millions of workers who are still struggling to find work in a difficult job market. Right now, federally-financed extended unemployment benefits provide relief for about 3.5 million Americans who have been searching for a job for longer than 26 weeks. Those benefits will expire at the end of the year unless they are renewed.

“These extended benefits are especially important to workers age 55 and older who, whether due to age discrimination or other reasons, tend to experience much longer periods of unemployment than younger workers. Currently, there are 2.2 million older unemployed workers, and the average duration of unemployment for those older job-seekers is a staggering 52.9 weeks, compared to 37.3 weeks for younger workers. According to AARP calculations, nearly four in 10 (38 percent) of the unemployed workers who would be helped by continuing extended UI benefits (between 27 and 99 weeks) are older workers.

“In addition to helping those unemployed workers while they look for a new job, UI is among the most effective measures for boosting the economy and saving jobs. This legislation also will provide some relief to cash-strapped states which were supposed to begin repaying their federal UI loans. AARP urges Congress to pass the emergency unemployment extension legislation before the end of the year.”

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AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization with a membership that helps people 50+ have independence, choice and control in ways that are beneficial and affordable to them and society as a whole. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to either political campaigns or candidates. We produce AARP The Magazine, the definitive voice for 50+ Americans and the world's largest-circulation magazine with over 35.1 million readers; AARP Bulletin, the go-to news source for AARP's millions of members and Americans 50+; AARP VIVA, the only bilingual U.S. publication dedicated exclusively to the 50+ Hispanic community; and our website, AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity that provides security, protection, and empowerment to older persons in need with support from thousands of volunteers, donors, and sponsors. We have staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

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