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State advising of help available to those losing unemployment

Published: Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012 9:56 a.m. CST

(MCT) — The state of Illinois has begun advising residents of assistance programs available to those who will lose their federal unemployment benefits, beginning Dec. 29.

About 90,000 people who worked in Illinois are eligible for the federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation program, which has provided jobless benefits during weeks 26 through 53, after the state program covers the first 25 weeks of unemployment assistance.

The federal program is among those that is scheduled to end next week, unless lawmakers again extend it as part of the talks to rescue the country from the "fiscal cliff."

After Dec. 29, about 2,800 people each week will no longer be eligible for the state's regular program and will not have any access to federal benefits, according to the Illinois Department of Employment Security.

A list of some of the other assistance programs available to people and veterans who may need help with food, clothing or housing is available at www.ides.illinois.gov/resources.

In October, Illinois' unemployment rate was 8.8 percent, compared to a national jobless rate of 7.9 percent.

Nationally, about 2 million workers are scheduled to lose the federal benefits this month and another 1 million would be affected by April. It would cost $30 billion to extend the benefits for another year, according to a report issued last month by the Congressional Budget Office.The program began in June 2008.

Illinois also warned that because its department of employment security is federally funded and part of it is tied to the number of people collecting unemployment and that number will fall after Dec. 29, its funding will be cut. The state said it has already consolidated some offices and may need to make further reductions in services and office locations.

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