Debate Stirring Over Extending Unemployment Benefits

"It may not equal out to the $3,500 that they would net from a $5,000-a-month position, but clearly it will come pretty close," Dinse said.

Some Effect

Justin Wolfers, an economist and professor at the Wharton School of Business, said extended unemployment benefits may be affecting the unemployment rate, but in a small way. He said that by no way are the majority of the unemployed choosing jobless benefits over finding work.

"The best estimates suggest that the fact that we've extended the duration of unemployment insurance may have raised the unemployment rate by one half to maybe one percentage point," Wolfers said.

Far too common are stories like that of Veasley Fields. She is a former charter school administrator who can't find work.

"We're not trying to be lazy," Fields said. "Who wants to live off of $300 to $400 a week?"

Fields said that she couldn't even find work at McDonald's because there are no openings.

"We are dying now, we are losing everything we have," Fields said. "I bought my home because I wanted my grandchildren to be in my home and now I may lose my home because I have no money."

Stephanie Smith and Arlette Saenz contributed to this report.

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