Legislation to extend unemployment benefits stalls in the United States Senate. The original plan passed by House Republicans and Democrats made its way to the Senate with optimism that it would be passed as outlined. However, Majority Leader Harry Reid proposed changes to the legislation that House Republicans, at this time, do not support. The original legislation extended unemployment benefits for an additional three months and were fully paid for. Under the latest Democratic initiative, unemployment benefits would be extended ten months and most of the $18 billion cost would have been offset by extending automatic spending cuts, known as “sequestration.” Another vote on this issue is expected next week.
This battle comes amidst recent legislation introduced in June 2013 aiming to reduce overlapping benefits and protect the integrity of the Social Security Disability Insurance and Unemployment Insurance programs. United States Senators Tom Coburn (R-OK), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Angus King (I-ME), and Joe Manchin (D-WV) introduced the Reducing Overlapping Payments Act on June 6, 2013. The bill requires the Social Security Administration to suspend Disability Insurance benefits during any month in which a recipient also collects Unemployment Insurance benefits. The bill also ensures the Social Security Administration has the necessary information to identify overlapping payments. According to the Government Accountability Office, in fiscal year 2010 over 117,000 individuals received more than $850 million in overlapping payments.
The Social Security Disability Insurance and Unemployment Benefits Double Dip Elimination Act of 2013 (H.R. 1502) has not had any movement since its introduction.