Policy Position Paper

Extension of Temporary Extended Unemployment Compensation
(TEUC) Program


The ELCA supports the resumption of the Temporary Extended Unemployment Compensation (TEUC) program.  The ELCA calls upon Congress to extend TEUC, providing federally funded unemployment benefits to unemployed workers throughout the country who have exhausted all of their regular state unemployment benefits.

Reasons for position:

The need for assistance is great: Because Congress refused to extend TEUC in December 2003, by the end of February 2004 an estimated 760,000 workers exhausted their regular unemployment benefits and are currently receiving no federal assistance.


The need is growing: 350,000 workers—more than any other time on record—exhausted their regular benefits in January 2004 and received no further assistance.


Jobs are not available for all who seek them: The labor market has not sufficiently recovered from the recession to close the jobs deficit.  Long-term unemployment remains pervasive: In December 2003 there were still 2.4 million fewer jobs than in February 2001.


ELCA Policy Base:


(All policy positions taken by the ELCA are based on the Social Statements previously passed by the voting members of the Churchwide Assembly or other governing documents of the ELCA.)


The “Sufficient, Sustainable Livelihood for All” social statement (adopted by more than two-thirds majority vote—872-124 in 1999) states:


         • “We are called to be stewards of what God has given for the sake of all.”

• “As stewards of what God has entrusted to us, we should use available resources to generate jobs for the livelihood of more people, as well as to create capital for the growth needed to meet basic needs.  Wealth should serve or benefit others so that they also might live productively.”

 • “Government is intended to serve God’s purposes by limiting or countering narrow economic interests and promoting the common good.”


• “God’s lavish, justifying grace frees us from self-serving preoccupations and calls us to a life of mutual generosity as we relate to all who are our neighbors.”


The “Sufficient, Sustainable Livelihood for All” social statement calls for

• “Public policies that ensure adequate social security, unemployment insurance, and health care coverage;

• “Government to provide adequate income assistance and related services for citizens, documented immigrants, and refugees who are unable to provide for their livelihood through employment;


To see the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities' analysis of the program, see: http://www.cbpp.org/2-25-04ui-pr.htm

To read a copy of a letter sent to every member of Congress by the Coalition on Human Needs, and signed by 65 organizations (including the Lutheran Office for Governmental Affairs/ELCA), see: http://www.chn.org/pdf/unemploymentinsurance.pdf

 For further information contact: Kay Bengston  (kay_bengston@elca.org), or call (202) 626-7942.


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