LOS ANGELES (CBS) — More than 93,000 long-term unemployed Californians will lose their jobless benefits this weekend.
Loree Levy, Deputy Director of the state Employment Development department told KNX 1070 NEWSRADIO the program that extended the benefits is being scrapped because the state no longer qualifies for the Fed-Ed program.
“I think the most important thing for people to realize is this is the last of five federal extensions that have been available, the remaining four federal extensions are still in place at least until the end of the year,” said Levy.
Any individuals on the Fed-Ed extension and still unemployed after this week will no longer be eligible to receive those benefits even if they have remaining balance.
Los Angeles Democratic Congressman Xavier Becerra placed the blame squarely on Republicans for failing to extend unemployment benefit coverage during the months-long standoff in Washington over payroll taxes and said he defends paying benefits to people out of work for so long.
“I think most Americans would tell you right now that they would rather be working, paying their bills, than sitting around,” he said. “I think most Americans would tell you they’re searching, the jobs just aren’t out there.”
Congress neglected to extend California’s eligibility for the program after the latest report showed progress on jobs growth statewide despite an 11 percent unemployment rate, leaving thousands of people wondering where they go from here.
“Yes, it’s gonna be taken away, which is kind of a downfall, but if you look at the positive side, it’s getting taken away because there’s more jobs out there,” said Sylvia Serna.
The state’s unemployment rate would need to be 10 percent higher than it was one year ago in order for California to remain eligible for the extended benefits program.
More than 675,000 people in California have already exhausted all their benefits up to 99 weeks.