A federal appeals court ruled Friday that the Obama administration had violated its fiduciary duty to provide long-lasting unemployment benefits by not making them available in large enough numbers, a finding that will impact more than 4 million Americans.
The court found that the government was violating the Fair Labor Standards Act, a federal labor law that requires long-distance workers to be paid at least a living wage, as well as the equal pay and overtime laws, and that the long-time unemployment benefits should have been available for a longer period of time.
Long-term benefits are not available for every worker, and they are available to people who are receiving them for more than three months.
They are also not available to those who have been out of work for more, than three years.
Longtime unemployment means that workers cannot find another job.
They cannot be hired.
They may be discouraged from seeking new jobs.
And they may lose benefits if they become disabled.
A federal appeals judge, Michael S. Hogan, wrote that long-stagnant benefits were not available enough to make the workers eligible for unemployment benefits, a requirement for federal workers who receive long-stay unemployment benefits.
The appeals court said in its ruling that long duration unemployment benefits are a significant part of the unemployment insurance system.
It also found that Congress could have required long-duration unemployment benefits to be available for longer periods of time, but chose not to do so, Hogan wrote.