Unemployment benefits set to expire Saturday for thousands of Te - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Unemployment benefits set to expire Saturday for thousands of Texans


Unemployment benefits for more than one million Americans will be cut off Saturday, including tens of thousands of Texas residents. Congress did not include an extension for long term unemployment in the latest budget deal, which means anyone unemployed for longer than 26 weeks will instantly lose benefits on Saturday.

For the Deshotel family, the cuts couldn't come at a worse time. Jeff Deshotel was laid off from a welding supply company back in May.

"Basically they were making cut backs," Deshotel said.

Over the last six months, he has been receiving unemployment, while studying for his GED.

"We've been able to make it, but if he loses that tomorrow, it'll put us in a big bind as far as finances go," his wife, Amy Deshotel, said.

"With him going to school to get an education to try and earn a better job, we need that supplemental."

The Deshotels will lose between $1,000 and $1,500 every month in supplemental income. That is something the Obama administration believes would devastate the already slowly recovering economy.

"When you're in a hole, rule number one is to stop digging," said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez. "Never before has Congress pulled the plug on this program when unemployment was even just half as high."

President Obama's advisors said they will push for Congress to extend the program, which was originally created under President Bush in 2008.

"Just when we're getting on the right track, the last thing we want to do is pull a vital lifeline," said Betsey Stevenson, who serves on the White House Council of Economic Advisers.

Until an extension is back on the table, Workforce Solutions of East Texas said they can do at least a little bit to help.

"We can work with them and make sure that they are up to date with everything," said Area Manager Stephen Lynch. "When they get their interview, that may be a one-time shot, so we want to prepare them for the best."

For now, the Deshotels said they are still hoping for that extension, while preparing to buckle down even more.

"Even just trying to get an interview has been unsuccessful at this point," said Amy Deshotel. "I just don't feel like the job market here in Tyler is stable enough to not give people unemployment that are trying to better themselves."

There is a bipartisan effort to reinstate the long-term unemployment benefits when Congress reconvenes in January, but officials warned that if it does pass, it could still be weeks before that money would start being paid out again.

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