The bill passed by both houses of Congress to extend the payroll tax cut will do more than put an extra few bucks per week in the average American’s pocket.
The bill, which President Obama has indicated he would sign, also expands a worksharing program that allows workers whose hours have been reduced to apply for unemployment benefits to make up for those reduced hours. Since the previous system favored layoffs, this provision is expected to keep more people on the job.
The bill will also allow states to set up unemployment insurance programs for freelancers and give more money to training programs.
It also extends, sort of, the length someone can be on unemployment, to between 40 and 73 weeks.
As Forbes blogger Kelly Phillips Erb says, “under the old old law, benefits were extended to as much as 99 weeks. Under the old new law, benefits were not extended. Now, under the new new law, they are extended with stipulations.” States with higher unemployment rates can extend unemployment benefits longer.