Morning Brief: Unemployment Benefits Hard To Get

Carrie Kenworthy of Manassas was laid off from her $80,000-a-year job as a mortgage loan officer in 2007. Then she tried to file for an extension in unemployment benefits in July. The Virginia Employment Commission denied her claim three times. Her appeals took more than two months because of a state backlog in cases.

Thousands of people in the Washington area and hundreds of thousands more across the country are waiting longer than they should for unemployment benefits at a time when they need the money the most because rising joblessness is overwhelming claims offices, records show. Staff writer Chris L. Jenkins has the full story here.

The problem is compounded by a simultaneous decrease in federal funding, which has reduced staffing at some local government offices. The result is that the District and many states, including Maryland and Virginia, are failing to meet federal guidelines that require timely processing of unemployment claims, appeals and benefit payments, the records show.

In other news, General Motors' new plug-in electric car, the Chevrolet Volt, will go on sale in Washington and San Francisco first, the automaker announced this week, as it began laying plans to work with area government and power companies to ease the car's introduction.

Ed Peper, GM's North America vice president, made the announcement Tuesday at the Washington Auto Show. He said the cars should begin arriving in the two metropolitan areas in late 2010. In the meantime, the company is seeking policies and infrastructure, such as carpool lane access for Volt drivers and charging stations at work, to make the buyers' transition from gas to electric easier.

By Alejandro Lazo  |  February 5, 2009; 8:37 AM ET  | Category:  Economy , Economy Watch , Morning Brief
Previous: Washington Unemployment Rises to 4.7 Percent | Next: Morning Brief: Madoff Lists Includes Local Names


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