Red, White & Blue
Out-of-work Idahoans in danger of losing extended unemployment checks
Jennifer Auh reports on the fiscal cliff affecting Idahoans, who are out of work. Video by IdahoOnYourSide.comvideo
If lawmakers don't reach an agreement with the president, in four days the government will go over the fiscal cliff. Then, the long-term unemployed will be one of the first to feel the effects.
With lawmakers in Washington at a standstill on fiscal cliff negotiations, 6,500 unemployed Idahoans may lose their long-term unemployment checks in January.
According to the Department of Labor, Idaho offers 26 weeks of regular benefits to those out of work. Since the recession, the federal government extended those benefits, so the unemployed in the state can receive up to 63 weeks.
However, all extensions are set to expire on December 31st. Many jobless Idahoans are worried still struggling to find work.
“It took me about 3 months to find a part time job, and only had that for a couple months,” said one unemployed Boise resident, “Other than that, not a lot of jobs out there."
Experts said a sudden cut to benefits could also hurt the local economy, since many families rely on unemployment checks for basic necessities. Leaders at the Meridian Foodbank said the number of folks needing their help has grown in the last few years.
"I think it’s really frightening for people. I know we're concerned because if we get lot more people seeking our help. We've got to make sure we got the food to help them," said Liz Warner, Meridian Food Bank Management.
Warner said the cuts to extended benefits would only send families to the food bank and other social services.