Long-term unemployment benefits may end for thousands in Capital Region
CAPITAL REGION Extended unemployment benefits are helping thousands of people pay their bills in the Capital Region.
But checks for 3,430 people could stop coming by the end of the month unless the federal government decides to offer another extension.
President Barack Obama called on Congress to act on the impending expiration of extended unemployment that could leave 1.3 million people with no help on the horizon.
Despite the nationwide unemployment rate being at its lowest point in five years, many who are looking for work can’t find it.
Unemployment benefits is a topic on the mind of several federal legislators, including Rep. Chris Gibson, R-Kinderhook, who was drafting a letter Monday to urge congressional leadership to take action, according to spokeswoman Stephanie Valle.
“[Gibson] is leading a Republican letter in the House asking House leadership to bring up legislation to continue the temporary extension of emergency unemployment benefits, an essential safeguard for Americans who are still struggling to find work in a weak economy,” Valle said in an email.
“While our economy has improved, more work remains and extending emergency unemployment is a complement to advancing legislation that addresses the underlying causes of our stagnant economic growth,” she said.
Without action, extended unemployment will end Dec. 28 for approximately 127,100 people in New York state, according to Sean Magers, a spokesman for Rep. Paul Tonko, D-Amsterdam.
Magers said statistics developed by Democrats on the House of Representatives’ Ways & Means committee show another 132,800 people would lose their benefits during the first six months of 2014 without action.
In a statement via email, Tonko said the unemployment benefits themselves have been cut by 32 percent since 2011 “and those looking for work while trying to raise a family or take care of a loved one cannot afford a shorter lifeline.”
“Many hardworking New Yorkers have lost their jobs through no fault of their own. It is my hope that Congress will extend this program and continue to focus on putting people back to work so that this safety net will not be necessary for as many Americans tomorrow as it is today,” Tonko said in the statement.
The Fulton-Montgomery-Schoharie Workforce Solutions System is keeping an eye out not only for those receiving benefits, but also for those unemployed who aren’t getting anything, Director Gail Breen said in an email Monday.
“The board and our Workforce Solutions Center partners remain concerned about all our unemployed jobseekers in Fulton, Montgomery and Schoharie counties, regardless of whether or not they are currently receiving unemployment insurance benefits,” she said.
The center is offering workshops to help jobless people get back to work and to help the underemployed get a better job, Breen said.
Currently, the FMS Workforce Solutions System is offering free workshops on topics ranging from computer skills to job-hunting tips, Breen said.
More information is available online at www.fmsworkforcesolutions.org.