Congress is coming up against a hard, fixed deadline of Dec. 31 to make a decision on whether to extend the unemployment insurance benefit. If they don’t, some 5 million people will be without federal assistance in 2012. If they do, it will cost $44 billion to keep what is a lifeline to many in place.
When it comes to our veterans, we know that they traditionally experience higher unemployment compared to their civilian counterparts – just look at the 18- to 24-year-old veteran: That age group is roughly at a 20 percent plus unemployment rate, compared to the 9 percent civilian rate in the same age group.
Will a non-pass lead to higher veteran unemployment, homelessness and perhaps even suicides?
Or, will the decision to revert to the traditional 26 weeks of state assistance and 53 weeks of federal assistance encourage innovation and creativity among those who are unemployed? There is a Chinese proverb that goes something like, “when the backbone and the stomach meet, one will find work.” True?
Sound off – we want to know what you think!
Michael Schindler, Navy veteran, and president of Edmonds-based Operation Military Family, is a guest writer for several national publications, author of the book “Operation Military Family” and “The Military Wire” blog. He is also a popular keynote and workshop speaker who reaches thousands of service members and their families every year through workshops and seminars that include “How to Battle-Ready Your Relationship” or “What Your Mother-in-Law Didn’t Tell You.” He received the 2010 Outstanding Patriotic Service Award from the Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs.