At the end of last year, the amount of time the unemployed could collect benefits in Connecticut fell from a year and 11 weeks to half a year.
The U.S. Senate passed a bill this week that would retroactively pay long-term unemployed from January through through the end of May, or until the point they found jobs.
Both of Connecticut’s senators and two of the five House members held a press conference Friday protesting opposition to the bill by House Speaker John Boehner.
Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., said although six Republican senators joined 53 Democratic senators, “the bill is now stalled because the Speaker of the House, John Boehner, refuses to bring it up for a vote. This is an absolute moral outrage.”
Murphy’s office invited several job seekers to speak about why a renewal of long-term benefits matters to them. Milva McGhee, 50, of Manchester, lost her job as a college administrator in June, and her benefits ended in February, she said.
Even though McGhee has found a little freelance work, and has a husband with a job, she said the end of her benefits has affected her family dramatically . “I’ve been dismantling the IRA,” she said.
Shari Cousin, of West Hartford, is receiving benefits since she lost her program director job at a nonprofit in December. Even with that support, and her husband’s salary, she said, “I also have had to tap into my retirement fund.” She said she only has nine weeks of checks left, and after the retirement plan is exhausted, “I’m concerned we could be homeless.”
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