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Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Last week I wrote a post on the increase in food stamp benefits slated for April 1, and the likely impact on our state’s economy. Two other important components of the federal recovery package are also kicking in today, the Making Work Pay Credit and an increase in unemployment benefits for eligible workers.

The Making Work Pay Credit
This is a tax credit worth up to $400 for a worker and $800 for a married couple. In most cases, the credit will be administered by employers and will reduce the amount withheld from an employees’ paycheck, increasing their take-home pay. It is available to all workers earning up to $95,000 and all married couples earning up to $190,000. In Washington State, an estimated 2,360,000 workers are eligible for the credit.

Increase in Unemployment Benefits
The economic recovery package also gives unemployed workers an extra $25 a week and extends the number of weeks they can receive jobless benefits. The National Employment Law Project estimates that more than 400,000 unemployed workers in Washington will receive the increase in benefits.

Much like food stamps, unemployment benefits are a proven form of economic stimulus. According to the U.S. Labor Department, one dollar in unemployment benefits generates $2.15 in economic activity.

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