Unemployed losing benefits - Tucson News Now

Unemployed losing benefits

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17,100 Arizonans will lose their unemployment benefits at the stroke of midnight tonight.

It's because Congress did not agree to an extension for the long term unemployed.

That means in Arizona, after 26 weeks, benefits expire.

One Stop, Pima County's job search and management program, will likely see an uptick in clients. Of the 1.3 million Americans who will lose the extended benefits, 1600 are in the Tucson area.

"It's a hardship," says Dorothee Harmon, who works at One Stop. "Often families are dependent on that paycheck."

Sandy Bursen will lose her benefits on Saturday after a futile six month job search.

"Either they tell you they're not hiring or things are slow, things like that," she says.  

She has a handful of places she visited and called over the past two weeks but that's for naught now.

"I'm not sure what to do now," she says. "It helped pay the bills."

For Amiaere Acedo, her job ended in Alaska so she came back to Tucson and has been receiving benefits.

"They told me to apply for an extension," she says. "But my benefits run out at the end of the month."

Without the extension, it appears her days in Tucson are over.

She'll go back home "to family. They would at least let me stay there."

She says she'll have a car "so at least I can look for another job."

For others, job training is a way to update their skills to make them more attractive to a potential employer.

The problem is, most re-training programs take one to two years.

With only. 26 weeks of unemployment, that becomes a disincentive too.

"People rely on unemployment benefits to support their households while they through training" Harmon says. "So that may result in training being disrupted if the benefits are cut off."

The White House is urging Congress to renew the extension when it comes back into session after the holidays.

 

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