Click for NEWS Click for SPORTS Click for ACCENT Click for OPINION Click for OBITUARIES Click for CALENDAR Click for CLASSIFIEDS Click for ARCHIVES Click for SPECIALSECTIONS
Subscribe  •  Business Directory  •  Recipes  •  The Stroller  •  Weddings  •  School Menus  •  Community Links  •  VA Lottery  •  Contact Us
Thursday, April 17, 2014
News Search   

CARLISLE - Click for Website
Mckinney tower - Click for Website

Martinsville Bulletin, Inc.
P. O. Box 3711
204 Broad Street
Martinsville, Virginia 24115
276-638-8801
Toll Free: 800-234-6575

Collins McKee - Click for Website
Benefit cut hits more than a million people

Sunday, December 29, 2013

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS -

WESTMINSTER, Calif. (AP) — The end of unemployment checks for more than a million people on Saturday is driving out-of-work Americans to consider selling cars, moving and taking minimum wage work after already slashing household budgets and pawning personal possessions to make ends meet.

Greg and Barbara Chastain of Huntington Beach, Calif., put their two teenagers on the school lunch program and cut back on dining out after losing their T-shirt company in June following a dispute with an investor.

They have exhausted their state unemployment benefits and now that the federal extensions are gone, unless they find jobs the couple plans to take their children out of their high school in January and relocate 50 miles east where a relative owns property so they can save on rent

“We could let one of our cars go, but then you can’t get to work — it’s a never-ending cycle,” 43-year-old Greg Chastain said while accompanying his wife to an Orange County employment center. He said they eventually may try their luck in a less expensive state such as Arizona or Texas if he can land a manufacturing job there.

The end to the five-year program that extended benefits for the long-term jobless affected 1.3 million people immediately and will affect hundreds of thousands more who remain jobless in the months ahead. Under the program, the federal government provided an average monthly stipend of $1,166.

While the Obama administration and Democrats in Congress want to continue the program, the extensions were dropped from a budget deal struck earlier this month and Republican lawmakers have balked at its $26 billion annual cost.

The end of the program may prompt a drop in the nation’s unemployment rate, but not necessarily for a good reason. People out of work are required to look for work to receive unemployment benefits. As benefits disappear, some jobless will stop looking for work out of frustration and will no longer be counted as unemployed.

The trend has already emerged in North Carolina, which started cutting off extended benefits in July. The state’s unemployment rate went down — from 8.8 percent in June to 7.4 percent in November— even though the number of North Carolinians who said they had jobs rose only slightly in that time.

Some unemployed people said the loss of benefits might drive them to take minimum wage jobs to get by until they can find work at their skill level and in their field.

Richard Mattos, 59, of Salem, Ore., has been out of work since March, when he was laid off as a case manager at a social services organization. Without the unemployment income, Mattos said he and his wife will have enough money for one month’s worth of bills. Almost every day, he visits employment centers run by the state of Oregon or Goodwill Industries International.

“I don’t know what we’re going to do,” he said. “We could end up homeless because of this.”

Since 2008, the federal program paid out benefits to the unemployed after their 26 weeks of state benefits ran out. At its peak, the program offered up to 73 weeks of federal benefits — which are typically offered during periods of high unemployment — to the long-term jobless.

In November, the country’s unemployment rate fell to a five-year low of 7 percent, but is still above the 5 percent to 6 percent rate that would signal a normal job market. And long-term unemployment remains a problem for the economy as nearly 4.1 million Americans have been out of work for six months or more.

Deborah Barrett, a 57-year-old resident of Newport, R.I., is one of them. She was laid off from her management job in accounting in February and has sent out hundreds of resumes since. She said she doesn’t know how she’ll get by without the federal assistance.

“It’s petrifying,” she said. “Unfortunately, I don’t believe my story is very unique.”

Laura Garay, 57, pawned her jewelry, withdrew retirement funds and relied on support from friends after losing her paralegal job in May, the same month she was diagnosed with lymphoma.

Her monthly $1,700 in unemployment covers her house payment in Westminster and the cost of maintaining her health insurance to cover a barrage of exams and radiation therapy.

Garay said her illness set back her job search, but as long as she’s healthy, she’ll work at just about anything to get back on her feet and avoid being jobless for too long.

“You don’t find a job in two weeks, you don’t find a job in three weeks,” she said. “You find a job after months of searching.”

 

 
The Eye Site - Click for Website
West Piedmont Workforce Investment Board - Click for Website
PHCC - Click for Website
Rives S. Brown Realtors - Click for Website
New College Institute - Click for Website
Mckinney button - Click for Website
Martinsville/Henry Co. Chamber of Commerce - Click for Website
The Spencer Group - Click for Website
Joe Cobbe CPA - Click for Website
Lockman & Associates - Click for Website