Unemployment benefits expire for some at end of month - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Unemployment benefits expire for some at end of month

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SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) -

While U.S. lawmakers spar over extending unemployment benefits, out-of-work Americans could wake up on Dec. 28 to find themselves unable to afford life's basic necessities.

For many unemployed individuals, these benefits are the only safety net they have, and they're the only things keeping them from sliding into poverty.

Many unemployed Americans rely on their weekly paychecks for a place to stay, pay medical bills and put food on the table.

Normally, jobless benefits last up to 26 weeks, but Congress passed the EUC program after the great recession to allow states to extend them for up to 73 weeks, although the exact length varied by state.

Studies have shown that employers often do not even consider long-term unemployed applicants for a position.

People at the unemployment office say they rely on these benefits to stay out of poverty while they search for work.

"It's going to be hard because the economy is already hard, so everybody is struggling and to cut off the unemployment benefits," said Cathryn Brewington. "It's going to put a lot of people in a bind."

These cuts would leave 1.3 million Americans to fend for themselves as they continue to look for jobs in an economy that's still recovering.

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