With Benefits Cut, Unemployed Take Stock of Dwindling Options : NPR
In November, 222,000 Californians opened their mailboxes to find a warning: Unemployment benefits were scheduled to end in December.
While Congress was inching closer to passing a budget, Emergency Unemployment Compensation was not part of the deal. That’s the long-term jobless benefits: extra federal money that allows unemployed workers to collect payments for months longer than they could in better economic times.
Sure enough, on Dec. 18, Congress passed that budget and packed up for Christmas recess, leaving those extended benefits to expire just 10 days later.
So what happens to people and families whose payments were cut off?
“I followed it every week, and I was just like, did they really just go home?” says Ruth Mills, one of those Californians affected.
Mills, 28, lost her job as a construction estimator back in June.
“I was already on unemployment so I didn’t have a lot of money. But a couple things my wife asked for for Christmas were very small, and a couple of things … she asked me to get for my son, I got them,” Mills says. “And I ended up taking everything back, just to get our cash back, so I could pay whatever bills we had.”