On March 3rd, President Obama signed the Temporary Extension Act of 2010 HR4691 after it was passed by Senate with a resounding 78-19 vote. This bill only creates extensions for one month – until the end of March but it will provide much needed relief for many unemployed Americans.
There were two main sections of this bill which affect many Americans
COBRA extension 2010
COBRA is a medical health care plan for unemployed people which had been 65% subsidized by the government as part of the Stimulus effort of last year. The unemployed person pays 35% of the COBRA premium and the government pays the other 65% for up to 15 months.
This subsidy had been scheduled to run out for people getting laid off after February 28. Given the very high national unemployment rate (10.6%) it only makes sense that this program extension is quite necessary.
To qualify for this extension you must have been laid off between September of 2008 and March 31, 2010.
Unemployment Benefits Extension 2010
There have been numerous unemployment benefit extensions as a result of the stimulus package from last year and subsequent extensions as well. Further extensions would be provided as part of this bill.
Passing of this Bill was delayed by Republican senator Jim Bunning of Kentucky who single-handedly held up the bill because of deficit concerns.