Fiscal Cliff Could Stop Long-term Unemployment Benefits

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(Memphis) Tens of thousands of people in Tennessee without a job stop getting their unemployment checks next week if Congress and the President don’t act fast.

Long-term unemployment benefits will disappear if we reach the fiscal cliff leaving thousands of people with no source of income.

If you have been on unemployment for over six months you will stop getting your check next week if congress and the president can’t reach a deal. 

State labor officials say now is the time to plan for the worst case scenario.

Over six thousand people in Memphis are on long-term unemployment. 

If the government reaches the fiscal cliff unemployment benefits will stop after 26 weeks. That will be down from the current 99 weeks of guaranteed unemployment checks. 

State labor officials say the number was bumped up to 99 because of the recession, and now it could come back down. 

They say at this point unemployment recipients should assume the benefits will stop. 

Jeff Hentschel with the labor department says every recipient should go to the state’s job database where over eighty thousand Tennessee jobs are listed. 

“I think people need to start making the tough decisions as far as taking work that they otherwise wouldn’t consider suitable.  I’m talking about temporary, part-time, lower wages than they would have experienced in the past. Maybe something outside of their expertise and skill set,” said Hentschel.

He says at this point it’s important to take a job that will help you get by or the alternative could mean starving. 

The state says it’s important to remember if your unemployment check stops coming you should still certify with the labor department every week so they know you are still unemployed in case a deal is reached. 

State unemployment recipients, or those who have been getting a check less than six months, will still get their checks.

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