I know times are tough. Joblessness is a real heart-wrencher. But something occurred to me the other day, while sitting on my porch, drinking coffee, enjoying a perfect 70-degree day of unemployment in Florida:
Really, this is the best time to be unemployed. My evidence: The stimulus package passed last month.
In case you haven’t heard, President Barack Obama’s first success (depending on how you define it) has gobs and gobs of greenbacks for a slew of industries, homeowners and, us, the non-working people.
Of course, our bailout isn’t of banking industry quality, or even GM, but we do get a piece of the action. Specifically, about $25 a week.
That’s an extra $100 a month, baby. In addition, many people won’t be taxed for the first $2,400 in benefits they claim. That’s good news for those of us who didn’t have taxes taken out of their unemployment checks. (By the way, this is only for unemployment since the stimulus passed, not the money you’ve received before this.)
But the most beneficial aspect of the plan, especially in this economy, is an extension of benefits. Last year, Congress already approved up to 33 weeks of extended benefits for those workers who exhaust the regular 26 weeks of benefits. That deal was set to expire, but under the stimulus package, laid-off workers can still claim those extra weeks in 2009.
But it gets better: Under the stimulus package, workers in some high unemployment states can claim an extra 13-20 weeks of benefits. Are you keeping track? That’s an estimated 18 months — a year and six months! — of benefits. And, under some economists projections, we should be out of the recession by then.
So, honestly, my fellow men and women on the dole: It could be worse. You could only have 26 weeks to find another shitty job.