Thousands of Pennsylvania residents will lose their unemployment benefits this month, unless Congress extends emergency funding for the financial support program.
Without action from the House and Senate, the benefit window will shrink from 99 to 26 weeks.
Pennsylvania’s Secretary of Labor and Industry, Sandi Vito, says because of that, 83-thousand Pennsylvanians will lose benefits in December. The figure will grow to 355-thousand by April.
"We are telling claimants that they should continue to file their bi-weekly claims. Because in the past, Congress has acted after the renewal – or the timeline for the extensions has run out."
Another extension would add about 65 billion dollars to the deficit, but supporters say the cost is worth it, to help people through the sputtering economy. Congressional Republicans apparently want to tie any extension of the jobless benefits to an extension of the Bush era tax cuts.
The average unemployment check is a bit more than three hundred dollars.
Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate is just below nine percent. That’s a bit less than a point below the national average.