WASHINGTON – The tax-cut bill President Barack Obama is expected to sign Friday renews unemployment benefits for millions of unemployed people. But it does nothing for hundreds of thousands who have been unemployed so long they've used up all benefits available to them.
In the 25 states with unemployment of at least 8.5 percent, people can receive up to 99 weeks in aid. In other states, the unemployed get less than 99 weeks — in some cases just 60 weeks, according to the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities.
Those who have exhausted all benefits are sometimes known as "99ers," even though the duration of their benefits varies by state.
The legislation renews federal programs that extend benefits beyond the 26 weeks states always provide. The extended benefits expired Nov. 30.