The Long-Term Jobless

The Long-Term Jobless

The Senate is poised to vote next week on a bill that would  provide retroactive unemployment benefits for more than 2 million Americans who have been out of work the longest. The benefit checks were cut off last Dec. 28 when the federal program expired. “It’s a moral issue and it’s an economic issue,” Sen. Bernie Sanders told radio host Ed Schultz on Wednesday. States provide unemployment benefits  for 26 weeks. In the past, emergency federal benefits -- $287 a week on average -- have kicked in for up to 47 additional weeks. When the emergency program lapsed late last year, 1.3 million people lost those benefits. Since then, about 72,000 people a week have had benefits cut off.