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A lenient view on unemployment and COBRA extensions

SmartPulse — our weekly reader poll in Smartbrief on Workforce — tracks feedback from leading managers and HR practitioners. We run the poll question each Wednesday in our e-newsletter.

Last week, we asked: Should unemployment benefits and government-funded COBRA subsidies be extended for those who have exceeded the time limit on these programs?

  • No – 34%
  • Yes, both – 34%
  • Yes, but only the COBRA subsidy – 16%
  • I don’t know – 10%
  • Yes, but only unemployment benefits – 6%

Over a majority of readers said they supported a benefits extension of some kind. I was a little surprised by the high number of folks who supported absolutely no extension but it was about even with the folks that supported full extensions. What isn’t surprising is that those who chose a side chose COBRA. HR professionals have seen far too much abuse of unemployment benefits and even in this brutal economy, they seem less willing to extend those benefits past their current maximums.

Lance Haun is community director for, the main guy over at and a member of the SmartBrief on Workforce Advisory Board.

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