Unemployment benefits delayed for millions


With 15 million Americans unemployed, state unemployment systems are overwhelmed and millions of people have had to wait weeks to get their benefits, according to a report in today's New York Times. Of the 12.8 million eligibility reviews that have occurred during the recession, 4.6 million took more than three weeks -- that's 2.1 million more than federal rules allow.

About 80 percent of the unemployed workers get payments within three weeks, but cases that require review can take months. Thirty-eight states have failed to make decisions within the federal deadline. In the last year, states processed 61 percent of cases where eligibility was questioned by an employer within three weeks -- well below the 80 percent required by federal rules. More than a half million cases took more than eight weeks and 350,000 took more than 10 weeks.