While Congress works to avoid going over the fiscal cliff, there is another deadline looming. Emergency unemployment insurance benefits are set to expire Saturday unless Congress acts. The US Department of Labor estimates this will impact over 2 million Americans, including about 4100 Utahns.
The federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation Program started in 2008 to help those who had exhausted their regular 26 weeks of state unemployment benefits. Curt Stewart, spokesperson for Utah Department of Workforce Services, said that while Utah’s economy is improving, there are still residents who rely on that unemployment check.
“We’re concerned - the fact that people are going to lose their benefits and might not have other resources - so we’re going to do whatever we can to help them obtain employment,” Stewart told KUER.
The department will continue to offer claimants re-employment, training and educational opportunities. DWS estimates that the federal unemployment program paid about 24 million dollars to Utahns in emergency benefits over the past three months.