Saturday, February 14, 2009

Federal Stimulus package is good for the unemployed.

Yesterday's Boston Globe had a good article on the Federal stimulus package (which passed! hooray!). There are helpful things in the package for everyone. There are a few items that are of especial interest to those of us in the unemployed party:

1. An increase of $25 per week. Minus taxes, I'm guessing that's about $80.00 a month. That may sound small, but it *does* help. We, the unemployed, are not likely to be able to save money -- we will spend what we get. And spending helps our consumer-based economy.

2. A 9 month subsidy of Cobra premiums. This is HUGE! I was checking out individual health plans (I WILL NOT live without health insurance) and discovered that the costs of getting a plan with equivalent coverage to what I'll get under Cobra was equal to or MORE than the Cobra premiums. My former employer is covering part of my Cobra premium for 2 months. The Feds will subsidize the premium for9 months. So, close to a year of subsidized payments. That's a gain for me of about $400 per month. So, add item 1 and 2 together, and I get 480 a month that I don't have to take from my emergency fund.

3. Extension of benefits to 46 weeks. Sadly enough, this is needed. Until employers start adding jobs instead of shedding them, the job hunt, especially for the former, highly-compensated folks like me, can take a long time.

According to the Globe article, these benefits go into effect within a few weeks of the Bill's passing. And it did pass. Just saw the headlines in today's paper.

At the networking meeting I went to the other day, there was some talk that recruiters are saying they expect jobs to start opening up in the spring. There is a job I'm very interested in that's on hold. I'm wondering if this news will break the freeze on that job and I can at least get an interview there.

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