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Need to Know, October 22, 2010: Benefits in doubt, the latest foreclosure scandal

This week Americans expecting unemployment benefits may be in for a shock — what you need to know about companies hired to challenge unemployment claims. Shoddy financial practices, accusations of fraud — the mortgage mess has turned into the foreclosure scandal. Need to Know investigates who’s to blame and how to undo the damage. More than 200 years in the making, a new musical introduces us to America’s first war-hero-rock-star president. Find out which early 19th century political themes resonate today as Jon Meacham gets a behind-the-scenes glimpse at Broadway’s “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson.” And, we welcome a new contributor from Chicago. Peter Sagal, host of NPR’s “Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me” has some advice for a mayoral candidate in his hometown.

Watch the individual segments:
Benefits in doubt

As unemployment has grown in America, so has business for firms that help employers process, and in many cases challenge, unemployment claims. Need to Know Financial correspondent, Stacey Tisdale examines these third-party administrators, as they’re known, and discovers that many of the newly jobless, who expect to get by on unemployment benefits for a while, are in for a rude awakening.
In response: Conflict minerals

Following up on our report about the mass rapes that occurred in the Democratic Republic of Congo this summer, Need to Know examines the issue of minerals that help fund the rebels who committed the assaults, and what we as consumers can do to avoid inadvertently contributing to the conflict.
Foreclosure scandal

On the “Watch List” segment this week, Need to Know’s Jon Meacham discusses the latest revelations in the home foreclosure fraud scandal with Michael Hudson, author of “The Monster: How a Gang of Predatory Lenders and Wall Street Bankers Fleeced America — and Spawned a Global Crisis.”
The gridlocked American dream

Need to Know reports on how families hit hard by the housing crisis are also getting slammed by rising transportation costs.
A political song and dance

Need to Know anchor and Andrew Jackson biographer Jon Meacham interviews writer-director Alex Timbers and leading man Benjamin Walker of the new Broadway musical “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson” about the show’s contemporary political relevance.  Hear more from Timbers about his creative vision for the show in this First Look video.
How to be mayor of Chicago

Need to Know has a new contributor: Peter Sagal, best known as the host of NPR’s “Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me!” In his new role as advice columnist for Need to Know, he offers counsel for a certain former Obama adviser looking for a job change.


  • jan

    The third party administrators story was a rude surprise. They shouldn’t be legal as far as I’m concerned. Basically they’re kicking people when they’re down. When did that mindset become acceptable to society?

  • Susan

    In the example case she felt ill and thought she could not find a cashier in time for her to check out the 2 frozen dinners she had to eat right away to control her blood sugar? ??? How about telling her supervisor “I am having an emergency with my blood sugar… I need 2 TV dinners …
    stat… Oh boy, this is bad.!!” I am sure the state judge would have some similar concerns except the employer did not pursue it. That is why she won.
    She sounded like she did not think such things could happen but she worked there decades!!!
    Come on,,,, details are important. We need balanced jouranlism. This was disappointing TV.

  • Bell

    The third party administrators raise a new concern: the violation of privacy. Employers release guarded information regarding former employees (title, dates of employment, maybe the salary if they have the employee’s permission). They want to be careful and avoid litigation if their comments are damaging to a job seeker’s chances with a new employer. Now, they send information over to TPAs who, in turn, may be providing data regarding unemployment claims actions (or challenges) to all their clients – another way to screen out job applicants. Who would know that it was a TPA that did this! You know that this must be happening!