NY’s Unemployed Could Lose Benefits Before Holidays

NEW YORK (CBS 2) — A partisan dispute in Washington is threatening to unhinge the lives of the unemployed, and just in time for the holidays.

Now, many jobless residents are waiting for word on how the Capitol Hill battle will play out, reports CBS 2’s Lou Young.

The unemployed are stuck combing the Internet and talking to job counselors as they watch the debate in Washington over benefits many consider to be a lifeline.

“It’s only been a month and I’m struggling,” Hartsdale resident Alicia Thompson said. “26 weeks? Some interview processes take longer than that.”

The partisan divide in Congress threatens to slash unemployment benefits from 99 weeks back to 26 weeks in a fight over how to pay for them. If cuts happen, the local impact could be immediate – and disastrous.

“It’s a huge number – 200,000 people statewide who will lose their benefits,” Thom Kleiner, of the New York State Labor Department, said. “It’s not a charity – it’s a real necessity in these times.”

The job search for some is a marathon. Mark Lomack has been at it for nearly three years.

“It’s very, very tough,” Lomack said. “You think you find something, it doesn’t work out, and then you have to keep on looking.”

Language teacher Valarie Fossati was laid off 26 weeks ago, and she said she needs the benefits to keep her family afloat.

“I have two kids, no work,” Fossati said. “Without it, I think I would…I don’t know. it’s a situation where I don’t know what I would do.”

Thompson has some insight on what to do when the bill collectors start to call.

“I was a medical bill collector…bill collectors get laid off too,” Alicia Thompson said. “So when they start calling me, I’ll know exactly what to say.”

The cost of one more extension to unemployment benefits is estimated to be $56 billion. Congress will have to decide which will hurt more – making the benefit cut, or possibly paying for it with borrowed money.

More from Lou Young
  • Christine Parciak Urbanski

    I just wonder where our politicians heads are. Do they have any idea how many people will be affected by their decisions. And, we elect these people to help us?
    I am 64 years old. I have worked since I was 18. I lost my job in 2009. I was a secretary who worked very hard. I was at work early every morning, worked through lunch, stayed late and worked on weekends when needed. When I started work early, I did not get paid “overtime”. I did not get paid for working through lunch.
    I’ve been looking for a job on line, in the newspapers, etc. There’s nothing out there.
    I wish the politicians would take a look at what is going on.
    I just thank God that I do not have to worry about providing for my children, It’s all I can do to take care of myself now.
    I want to work, I need a job. I don’t like being on unemployment, but right now it is the only income I have. I did not ask for this, I do not want it.
    The politicians will be hurting millions of families if they do not extend the benefits.

  • JOE


    • ChiaoChiao

      Oh, people, that’s child’s talk, illegal immigrants hardly in line for the checks, without paying any tax for years, they’re usually in better financial shape than you and I,
      also, what do you plan to do? Starve them and expect them to give up and walk home? And the warfare checks for single mothers more or less gives those kids a chance to have better lives and find their ways someday, hey, if we can afford to fight the war, we should also be able to feed our own on our very own turf, think about it, it relatively cheap to save lives than to take them nowadays.

  • Cecelia

    It’s horrible. We should all adopt a person or family to help through these time.

  • Cecelia

    Oh my God , what are these people to do. I say others should adapt a family or person and take it from there

  • Tgz71

    Here’s an idea. How buot our Prez put a price freeze on the cost of living. Every thing from a to z. Let the wages catch up. Also no more imports or exports. We have all the resourses to make everything we need. Thus creating jobs. 50+ years ago it worked. Why not now?

  • Tommy

    I just brought Hanes underwears and T-shirts from walmart. They are made in Haiti and South America.

  • Gregg

    Put a heavy Tax on Chinese imports and give that money to the unemployeed !!
    Sorry Wal Mart !!

  • Chase

    Dear Harriet in NY. I feel like before you tear down Flash maybe you should be the one reading. Let me slow it down for you. Flash is reffering to the people who have suggested that the UI be extended even more than the already 99 week extension. Im sure he is well aware of the fact that the UI is being stopoed, seeing thats what the entire article is about.

    • harriet in ny

      no, if you read (or wote) what Flash siad “The unemploy has already been extended from 24 weeks to 99 weeks. what more do you want, another 2 years?” See, he’s talking about extending benefits to 203 weeks, not extending the extension of UI from 26 to 99. Really, i”m not trying to be an elitiest, but the concept is not that difficult is it? here straight from the horses month – NYS Dept. of Labor’s website,
      “On July 22, 2010, Congress approved, and the President signed into law legislation to extend the eligibility dates for benefit extensions to November 28, 2010. This means that individuals who exhaust regular unemployment benefits by November 21, 2010, will be eligible for Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC), provided they claim their first week of EUC by week ending November 28, 2010. Also, individuals who exhaust their current tier of EUC by week ending November 28, 2010, will be able to move to the next tier. New York State now provides 67 additional weeks of unemployment benefits, as well as the usual 26 weeks of regular benefits, for a total of 93 weeks of benefits”
      See NY provides at total of 93 weeks (there’s another extension NY doesn’t qualify for that goes to 99 weeks), the law extending the benefits expired and some 2 million people (nationwide) were beyound he regular 26 weeks and are going to lose their benefits now, because the law extending UI is no longer in effect.

      • harriet the sponge

        So how long does parasites like you wants a “kind and caring” society to “take care of” you?

        Why don’t you do the human genome a favor and just die off? Preferably before you had spawned and further contaminate it with your infestation?

  • blackdia5204

    This is a joke. My husband worked for a construction company for almost 20 years. No building, no jobs. He can’t even get a minimum paying job. He went from 700 dollars a week after taxes to maybe 300 every 2 weeks. His benefits are set to expire this month. Thank GOD I still have mine but this just mean that I will not be able spend not just for x-mas but food for our 4 kids. So people can laugh and joke all they want but when my husband, son or someone else in our situation robs you we will see who laughs last

  • Joe D

    As I read the comments posted here about many subjects it is clear foolish people write/think/say foolish things; this fact will always be with us. I also know that there are those who do not care about the holiday season and would gladly re-name it or do away with it completely. The tragedy is that MOST people who collect unemployment had a job and may have been supporting a family, etc. Most people are NOT professional unemploymenters and will work if work is available. Ninty nine weeks; too much (?), possibly, but then, what is a couple of weeks more? Would it greatly inconvenience the financial naysayer experts to allow the folks who have fallen on hard times to get through ’til the end of December? Yes, I know, you all worked hard to get wherever it is that you’re at, so have I, so have the unemployed! Well, a happy, merry and healthy to all.

    • ann

      why doesnt this nation take care of their own? we take care of every nation in the world except our own. People out there really look for a job that will support your family. In reality there are none. It is a disgrace what we put are own people through.

    • Lazy Parasite.

      Why a couple of weeks more? It’s been years already. Let’s extend it a few more years? We all deserve it.

      • harriet in ny

        ok, scaracim is difficult to pull off face to face, over the net it’s even more diffuclt, and your attempt sucks, in order to recieve UI you have to have a work history, it is not the same as welfare, it is supposed be like insurance, which is why it’s called “Unemployement Insurance” as in you pay into a pool and you are protected if you become unemployed, now there may be few bad apples out there collecting when they aren’t looking, but the vast majority of people are seeking jobs, and here’s the funny part, THERE ARE NO JOBS, there gone. In addition, it is the morally right thing to do, i did not want to live in a counry that doesn’t look after it’s citizens, where if you lose a job, you’re on the street, and UI is a good stimulas for the local economies because the money goes right into the community..

  • harriet in ny

    Hey CBS, why are you citing some random person in PA who says they know people who say unemployment is there job? really? that’s not news, it’s just a hit job on umemployed people by someone who feels like supporting people and keeping kids out of homeless shelters is personally coming out of their (reduced by Obama) taxes. Get real and use facts, i.e. long term unemployment is the highest it has ever been since people started keeping records.

  • Common Sense

    Oh and on TOP of that the Federal government also froze wages. We are at a national crisis for jobs and the country is facing some serious deficits in it’s budgets. This is not going to be fixed overnight. Dont get me wrong I am not saying to extend the benefits to people for another two years however something needs to be done. Honestly I feel that the country needs to cut all overseas employment and take care of it’s own people. This country has turned into a savior for other countries who are broken down and poor and because we care so much about them we’re going to turn ourselves into the same.

  • Common Sense

    Who said the economy was getting better flash gordon? The city itself is laying off over 6,000 teachers, closing firehouses etc. Companies are still laying employees off and freezing wages or garnishing wages. Very few companies are on hiring sprees like they should be and this is in a major city. I wouldn’t want to be in a suburban area right now like up north or down south away from the city. I could only imagine how those people are struggling loooking for work. Even NJ in Newark are laying their police force off. So I really can’t see how you can say the economy is better. Personally I know several people that are looking for work and haven’t found anything and these are hard working individuals not people who leech the system .

    • Michael H.

      The economy is getting better. Private firms are hiring and tax revenues are up. People wont be satisfied until we’re at another peak. They’ll continue to claim the economy is in shambles no matter how good the numbers start to look.

      • RealityChek

        Where is the economy getting better Michael? My friend just got word today who has worked for Citigroup for 20 years that they are doing massive layoff starting today and yes shes on the chopping block. Have you tried to look for a job lately? My husband has been out of work for a year, and hes been pounding the pavement for ANYTHING, in and out of his field, and sent 100’s or resumes. There simply is NOT enough jobs. Foreclosures and short sales are at an ALL TIME high so where do you figure the economy is getting better.

      • Michael H.

        Oh wow. Such hard hitting anecdotes you’ve got there! “My friend” “My husband”. Those are what we call anecdotes and when discussing such a large topic as the economy means exactly squat. It’s like trying to argue against global climate change by saying “oh man, it’s cold today in the middle of August, all this global warming stuff is baloney”. It’s really not that hard to comprehend.

        Manufacturing is up. Wholesale is up. The international trade deficit is decreasing. Retail and food sales (and profits) are up. Construction spending is up.

        “But but but, the city is laying off people!” Look at historical trends. NYC lags behind the rest of the nation and always has.

        It’s called a “Leading Economic Indicator”. Do some research and learn how to analyze an economy.

        Jobs will return. Foreclosures will tail off. Unemployment will eventually return to a manageable rate. This stuff doesn’t turn around overnight, and believe it or not, 18-20 months is a small time frame in the grand scheme of things. This is high school economics, people. It’s not that hard to understand.

        ON top of all that, Citigroup is a HORRIBLE example, simply because they’re a financial firm and are amongst the hardest hit this recession. What matters are the indicators I wrote about above.

  • flash gordon

    The unemploy has already been extended from 24 weeks to 99 weeks. what more do you want, another 2 years? This will motivate people to really look for jobs now that the economy is getting better. Believe me, you can get better paying jobs than the unemployment check if you are willing to do it!

    • harriet in ny

      Hey Flash, read much? the extension to 99 weeks is being cut, not an extension of benefits. Ok, i’ll go slower, UI , which is usually 26 weeks was lenghtened (extended) to 99 weeks by a law, and that law is expiring, so UI will go back to 26 weeks, so those people have recieved 26 weeks of payments will stop recieving benefits and any everyone else on UI will only recieve benefits for 26 weeks. if the law is extended UI benetits will be extended to 99 weeks, not as long as the extension of the law.

      • harriet in ny

        to Joey D, guess what, UI is now at 26 weeks, that is what this story is about, too bad CBS doesn’t know how to write without a slant

      • Joey D

        The issue is extending UI beyond 99 weeks. For some 2 million people their 99 weeks are coming to an end and they are still unemployed. UI is not going back to 26 weeks anytime soon.

  • Jimbo

    Pls I need my unploymemt check please ! How am I supposed to pay for my BMW car payment and my blackberry bill? This is unfair…

    • Julia K

      Yes, its unfair you Jimbo(substitute that for what i meant to say)-wad… My mother who is 56 has been laid off this February after nearly 20 years on a job as a computer programmer! she cant retire because she is too young, nor could she open her pension plan yet, as once again she isnt eligible… Who is going to hire her at her age, YOU!?!?!?! She doesnt drive because she used to take a train both ways (so much for a BMW), i pay for her $29.99 costing phone bill (so much for a BBERRY) and my father is no longer alive to support her… What are we suppose to do? I have a full time job, but i also have two children one of whom is going to college next year, so beyond $200.00 a month i cant help her pay her $1100.00 rent…

    • Larry

      Unemployment benefits barely cover typical rent. In NY the max payment is $430 a week (typical rent for a 1br is like $1200-1500) and you have to pay taxes on this so it’s really like $350/week. Keep dreaming.

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