Many complain that the unemployed get a free ride and have little incentive to seek employment. In the lame-duck session, Congress passed a 13-week extension of unemployment benefits.
Some economists like the idea of extending benefits. They say it will put money into the hands of people who will spend it.
But the Democrat running in the 8th district House of Delegates wants to require benefit recipients to perform volunteer work in return for receiving unemployment benefits. “This program will allow people who are unemployed to volunteer and help their communities while they collect benefits and look for new work,” said Ginger Mumpower in a press release. “This volunteer work will also allow them to build new skill-sets and establish new contacts for finding a job,”.
Unemployed workers would add their non-profit weekly work hours to the forms they already submit to the unemployment office to receive their check.
Republican governor-elect Rick Scott of Florida has proposed the same concept for the unemployed in his state. Scott’s transition team suggests that after 12 weeks, the unemployed must start community service before they can get a check. Scott would start requiring those applying for unemployment benefits to prove they’ve been looking for jobs and stop benefits to those who aren’t. The idea has received mixed reactions in Florida.
Some agree that the unemployed should work for their benefit. Others claim it cuts into their job-hunting time. Mumpower sees it as an opportunity for the unemployed to network, develop new skills while providing social interaction to keep a positive outlook.
In Florida the governor-elect sees it as a way to lower taxes on businesses. If the unemployed face circumstances that prevent them from volunteering, the number of people receiving unemployment checks would shrink.
Mumpower proposes legislation that will call for persons receiving state unemployment benefits to continue their benefits by volunteering at local non-profit organizations. Mumpower believes that “non-profits can use free labor now more than ever to keep their much needed programs alive and train a new generation of people to give back to the community.”
In Mumpower’s press release: “So many concerned citizens complain that we give free services, without requiring people to give back. This legislation addresses those concerns. Our society cannot work without people helping each other. This is a favorable situation for both entities and will help people get back to work and become functioning members of society instead of falling into the poverty trap.”