Long-term unemployed in RI will lose benefits - ABC6 - Providence, RI and New Bedford, MA News, Weather

Long-term unemployed in RI will lose benefits

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By Mike Lacrosse

mlacrosse@abc6.com

People still looking for jobs say not having the cash assistance from the Federal Government is going to have them making some tough decisions. They're hoping Congress does something quickly to keep them from going into deeper debt.

Rhonda McMichael lost her jobs in September. her 26 weeks of state unemployment are up, and now her federal benefits are gone.

"I've exhausted all of my funds that I've had my 401K.  I am a breast cancer survivor."

And now she is worried not having help while looking for a job will hurt her health.

"So if you have no income you have to make decisions do I eat this week or do I pay for my pills for the month."

Rhonda isn't alone. More than 5,000 Rhode Islanders are cut off Saturday.

"I've been laid off five times since 2008."

Clarice Thompson, whose partner lost benefits, says, "It's becoming very hard on my household; obviously she is not able to be here because she is looking for work."

Each week between 250-400 others will also be without help once their state benefits run out.

Senator Jack Reed has introduced a bill for a three month extension. Congressman David Cicilline says he will take action in the house: "The minute Congress is back in session on January 7th I will introduce a bill to retroactively extend these benefits."

In the meantime, people like Rhonda are being urged to continue certifying for benefits to make it easier if and whet hey are reinstated.

"Six months from now who knows where I will be."

While more than 5,000 Rhode Islanders are losing their benefits, the number is even greater for Massachusetts which will see 141,000 people go without Federal unemployment aide.

(C) WLNE-TV 2013

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