Congress Ponders Adding GED Requirement to Unemployment Benefits

From The Daily Beast:

We can all agree that it’d be great if every adult in America possessed a high-school degree or at least a GED equivalent.

But to deny unemployment benefits to those who didn’t finish high school?

It seems a crazy idea, yet that’s precisely what might happen, depending on negotiations between the House and Senate as the two sides work to decide, by month’s end, whether to extend both unemployment insurance to cover people out of work for up to 99 weeks and also a 2 percent cut in the payroll tax. As it stands now, the House version of the extension bill includes a provision that would deny unemployment benefits to any person without a high-school diploma or a GED unless they can prove that they are enrolled in a high-school equivalency program.


  1. I’d think the people lacking a formal education would be the most in need of assistance, refusing to help them because they either weren’t able to or chose not to complete a high school level education seems extremely arbitrary and cruel.

    1. And you only get unemployment benefits if you were working and were legitimately laid off. I don’t see why their level of education should be relevant in this context.

    2. I think it would be a good idea for the government to pay for people to get a GED while they’re unemployed. It can only help them in the long run.

  2. No, no…I’m totally cool with this. Of course, we need a special assistance clause added that says that every adult who is unemployed and lacks a GED will be financially and emotionally supported by the members of congress who support the measure while working towards her/his GED. BOOM.

  3. There are a lot of hardworking people out there who are just not smart enough to get a diploma or GED. I know they might get a waiver, but why stigmatize them further by labeling them as “intellectually disabled” when they’ve gotten along this far by just being “below average”? Of course, they can use as much education as we can give them, but then you run into


    The states really don’t have the cash to ramp up this many GED programs. I wish they did. Teachers need jobs, too.

  4. My close friend didn’t graduate HS. He’s a commercial fisherman with two kids, works long arduous hours putting food on our plates, and clearly adds more tangible value to the economy than Rick Santorum. I’m more than happy to see my taxes go to support his like in the case of unemployment. And frankly, the time it would take someone to learn his skills is probably longer than it would take him to finish the 2 classes he was missing for his GED. I say we don’t give benefits to former senators unless they pass their commercial fishing license exams.

  5. In LA they’re trying to close the adult schools where poor people can go to get their GEDs.

    Why don’t they just admit they want to starve people to death?

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