Thousands may lose long-term unemployment benefits

Created: 12/23/2013 5:46 PM
By: Stuart Dyson, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Thousands of New Mexicans are about to lose their long term unemployment benefits right after Christmas – and they won’t get them back unless our state’s lone congresswoman can convince her colleagues to take action early in the New Year.

December 28 – Saturday – is the day unemployment checks will stop for about 6,000 long term unemployed New Mexicans – and the same fate awaits another 10,000 or so in the first six months of 2014. The long term benefits cover people who’ve been out of work for up to 76 weeks. People like Katharine Hill of Albuquerque have been depending on them.

“I’m about to run out of my unemployment benefits,” Hill said. “Going on unemployment is better than having no money, but my whole situation has caused me to become homeless for an entire year.”

The U.S. House of Representatives went into recess Monday, without taking action on any bills to extend the benefits. Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham of the first Congressional District is vowing to fight to extend those benefits.

“It’s an emergency,” Rep. Lujan Grisham said. “It’s truly an emergency and we should treat it as such. People barely can stay in their homes and put food on the table. This is bad for the economy and it’s the wrong thing to do for families who are still waiting for an opening in the job market.”

About 1.3 million Americans willlose their benefits on December 28. Congress reconvenes on January 7, when Rep. Lujan Grisham and her allies will try to pass an extension of the long term benefits

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