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Unemployment benefits need tighter controls

Posted: January 2, 2014 - 2:47pm  |  Updated: January 3, 2014 - 10:19am

Sunday’s Clarion ran a front page story entitled, “6,500 losing federal benefits.” The article highlighted a personal story of a woman who quit her job so that she could take care of her aging grandmother and with the loss of her long term unemployment, she feared that she might lose her apartment. While her intentions to take care of her aging grandmother are admirable, she really isn’t qualified for unemployment insurance benefits; after all, she doesn’t seek or want a job because she would rather take care of her grandmother. I thought the whole point of unemployment benefits was to tide you over until you found another job. I am afraid that too many people now look upon unemployment benefits as a stipend while you pursue something other than work.  

I will admit to being on unemployment a couple of times in my life. In both cases, I quit my current job knowing full well that I could still get unemployment benefits after a 6 week penalty. I looked forward to the idea of being paid to take a break from work, which at the time was good for my mental health, however, had I known that I wouldn’t qualify for unemployment benefits, I would have thought twice before quitting.

There should be money available to care for the eligible elderly by family members. It is usually better care and cheaper than a nursing home, however, it should not be unemployment benefits. I am afraid that if we continue to relax the rules and blurry the lines of unemployment benefits, it will no longer have any meaning. Just like the so-called unemployment rate. It means nothing. Does anyone really think that only 7 percent of the population is unemployed? Please encourage your congressmen and women to tailor legislation that encourages people to work, not take a break on somebody else’s dime.

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