Long-Term Unemployed Face End Of Benefits

By Chris Lehman

Unemployment benefits are about to run out for tens of thousands of Northwesterners. Without a Congressional extension, payments will stop later this month to people who've been without a job for more than six months.

The holiday season will mean an end to unemployment checks for about 1.3 million Americans, including about 45,000 jobless in Washington, Oregon and Idaho. State benefits are still intact but those last no more than six months. These cuts affect people who in some cases have been looking for work for more than a year. 

Tom Fuller is with the Oregon Employment Department. He says the agency is reaching out to people affected to try to get them additional job skills. But Fuller says the department is also preparing people for that day when the checks no longer come.

Tom Fuller: "We're going to also connect them to community resources, perhaps food banks, other social service types of agencies that can help them bridge that gap with no unemployment benefits available."

Employment departments in Oregon, Washington and Idaho have been notifying people by phone and by mail if their benefits are about to run out. Congress has acted in the past to extend unemployment benefits. But lawmakers appear ready to go home for the holidays without acting.

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