Which Mainers will lose unemployment coverage

At least 3,300 in Maine set to lose coverage statewide by end of the month
Wed, 12/18/2013 - 4:00pm

    Congresswoman Chellie Pingree released a new county-by-county breakdown of the number of people who would immediately lose all of their unemployment insurance on Sunday, Dec. 28 if Congress fails to extend the Emergency Unemployment Compensation program.

    Republicans last week blocked an effort by House Democrats to extend the program into 2014. The county-by-county breakdown, an estimate of the minimum number of people who will lose benefits, is below. The information was provided by the Maine Bureau of Unemployment Compensation.

    County by county: Androscoggin, 309; Aroostook, 205; Cumberland, 551; Franklin, 73; Hancock, 143; Kennebec, 279; Knox, 66; Lincoln, 70; Oxford, 143; Penobscot, 377; Piscataquis, 50; Sagadahoc, 57; Somerset, 174; Waldo, 112; Washington, 91; York, 417; out of state, 183.

    “If unemployment insurance runs out for these people, there will be thousands of families across the state who are suddenly going to find it much harder to pay for basic necessities like food and heat,” Pingree said. “There is never a good time for something like this, but the middle of a cold winter is about the worst possible time to do this to these people.”

    Overall, at least 3,300 people in Maine are set to lose their insurance coverage immediately on Sunday, Dec. 28. An additional 8,900 people in Maine will lose their coverage in the first six months of 2014 if Republicans continue to block an extension of the program.

    Emergency unemployment insurance took effect in 2008 and has been reauthorized several times as Americans continue to recover from the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. Despite the real progress the economy has made since its near collapse in 2008, there are still 1.3 million fewer jobs than there were before the recession began and long-term unemployment as a percentage of the unemployed is 37 percent, near historic highs.

    Failure to extend federal unemployment insurance would also hurt job growth throughout the nation, costing the economy 240,000 jobs, according to the White House Council of Economic Advisers (CEA). The CEA estimates that in Maine alone, failing to extend the program will cost 675 jobs.