87,000 Pa. residents could lose unemployment benefits by end of month

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If Congress doesn’t act by December 28th, more than 87,000 Pennsylvanians could see their unemployment checks stop immediately. For many, that means a loss of about $300 per week.

These benefits are part of a federal initiative called the Emergency Unemployment Compensation program, created in 2008 for Americans who lost their jobs to the recession. While Congress has re-upped the program several times, a new deadline is fast approaching and another renewal isn’t a sure thing this time.

“It’s 50-50 right now,” says John Dodds, director of the Philadelphia Unemployment Project. “We haven’t had a great record of the two parties cooperating on issues like this. And the whole government shutdown and hatred of the Obamacare program is not a good sign.”

But Dodds adds that the government has never scaled back unemployment benefits with the jobless rate about 7 percent, where it stands now.

He’ll meet with Pennsylvania Senators Bob Casey and Pat Toomey as well as Congressmen Chakah Fatah and Bob Brady today to discuss extending the EUC program into the new year.

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